CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( – Fourth-seeded Notre Dame pieced together a solid pitching performance from starter Liam Simon and four relievers to blank fifth-seed Virginia, 3-0, in the opening game of Friday’s Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship session at Trust Field.

The Fighting Irish (35-13), who were already assured of a spot in the tournament semifinals regardless of Friday’s outcome, closed out pool play with a 2-0 record. Notre Dame will now play in Saturday’s 1 p.m. semifinal against the winner of tonight’s 7 p.m. game between top-seeded Virginia Tech (41-11) and No. 8 seed North Carolina (35-19).
Virginia (38-17) wrapped up ACC Championship competition and will await the announcement of the NCAA tournament bracket on Monday (Noon, ESPN2).
Simon (2-0) went a career-high five innings and allowed just two hits while matching his career high with eight strikeouts and walking just two batters. Simon teamed with Roman Kimball, Matt Bedford, Sammy Cooper and Aidan Tyrell on a five-hitter. The Irish fivesome combined to strike out 11 Cavalier batters while walking four.
Zack Prajzner drove in two of Notre Dame’s three runs with a second-inning RBI single and a sixth-inning sacrifice fly. Both plated David LaManna, who had two of the Irish’s eight hits. Jack Penney also collected two hits, including an RBI double in the fourth.
Alex Tappen went 3-for-4 at the plate for Virginia, but timely hitting proved an issue for the Cavaliers.
Trailing 3-0 in the top of the eighth, Virginia loaded the bases with two outs, prompting Notre Dame coach Link Jarrett to summon righthander Sammy Cooper from the bullpen.
Cooper, who had pitched five total innings during the regular season, fell behind 3-0 to Devin Ortiz but battled back to coax Virginia’s No. 5 hitter into a groundout to second base for the final out of the half-inning.
Tyrell then came on to work a perfect ninth inning that include a pair of strikeouts to earn his first save of the season.
Nate Savino (5-6) started on the mound for the Cavaliers and took the loss. He allowed two runs on one hit while walking one batter and striking out five in 4.2 innings.