Hurricanes surging with key ACC series vs Virginia looming

Miami is on its longest winning streak in coach Gino DiMare’s four seasons and playing its best baseball since Jim Morris’ 2016 team reached the College World Series.

The Hurricanes (21-6, 10-2) are coming off a weekend sweep of Duke that extended their streak to eight games, tied for second-longest in the nation, and vaulted them into the top 10 in the polls Monday.

They have won four straight Atlantic Coast Conference series and are one game ahead of Virginia in the Coastal Division. The Cavaliers (25-3, 9-3) are a consensus top-three team and visit Miami for a series starting Friday.

“We’re playing a good stretch right now, but there’s room for improvement,” DiMare said. “We had some big hits (against Duke), but we have guys in the lineup that need to do a better job. You want to have nine guys in the lineup that are clicking on all cylinders. We have a lot of games in a short period of time. Our guys need to be focused and mentally tough during this stretch of games.”

The Hurricanes are off to their best start since the 2016 team opened 28-4. That team won 51 games but went two-games-and-out at the CWS. Miami lost in NCAA regionals in 2019 and 2021.

Dominic Pitelli provided the offensive highlights against Duke, hitting a grand slam in the eighth inning of Friday’s 4-1 win and another slam in the first inning of Sunday’s 11-3 victory.

The starting pitching mostly has been outstanding. No. 1 starter Carson Palmquist (5-1) averages nearly 14 strikeouts per nine innings, No. 2 Karson Ligon (4-1) has an ACC-best 1.45 ERA, and No. 3 Alejandro Rosario (1-1) allowed one run in a season-high six innings Sunday.

Midweek starter Jake Garland (4-1) is giving up less than a walk per nine innings and has a 2.45 ERA. Closer Andrew Walters leads the ACC with eight saves.

IN THE POLLS

Tennessee (27-1) strengthened its grip on the No. 1 ranking with a three-game sweep at Vanderbilt. The Volunteers have won 19 straight, and their 9-0 start in SEC play is the best in program history. The last time the Volunteers trailed in a game was in the first inning against Rhode Island on March 13, a stretch of 116 innings.

D1Baseball.com ranks Arkansas (21-6) second and Virginia third. Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball newspaper have Virginia and Arkansas as their Nos. 2 and 3 teams.

ODU OUTBURST

Carter Trice homered three times, doubled and drove in eight runs to lead Old Dominion’s offensive barrage in an 18-5, seven-inning win against Florida International on Sunday.

The Monarchs went deep seven times in a game for the second time this season and have 58 homers, second to Tennessee’s 69.

ACES’ BIG TEN TOUR

Evansville of the Missouri Valley Conference picked up its first-ever series sweep of a Big Ten opponent, taking three from Michigan State at home.

The Purple Aces have played three straight weekends against the Big Ten and have gone 4-4.

Evansville is 35-28 all-time against current Big Ten members. The Aces (13-14) beat the Spartans 5-4 on Sunday, tying it with three runs in the eighth and winning it in the 10th on a bases-loaded hit by pitch.

COWBOYS’ STREAK ENDS

Big 12-leading Oklahoma State won its series against Kansas State, but the Cowboys’ 7-2 loss Sunday marked their first defeat in 14 games on the Wildcats’ field since 2010.

BEST OUT WEST

Arizona and UCLA, the top two teams in the Pac-12, picked up notable series wins.

The Wildcats posted their first-ever sweep at Washington — and first road sweep since 2019 — and have won four games in a row.

UCLA won three straight one-run games against Oregon and extended its win streak to five games. The downside was that freshman Thatcher Hurd left Sunday’s game with a back injury after throwing just six pitches.

IRISH EYES SMILING

Notre Dame, ranked No. 1 in one poll earlier this season, bounced back from four straight losses in ACC play with a three-game sweep at Florida State. It was the Irish’s first series sweep of a top-10 team since 2015 and the program’s first-ever sweep in Tallahassee.

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