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Notre Dame Baseball

Notre Dame set to continue to usher in Link Jarrett era

February 25, 2021
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For the first time in more than 11 months, Notre Dame baseball is set to resume its launch of the Link Jarrett era after the COVID-19 pandemic halted all sports last March – including an Fighting Irish diamond season that had unfolded with a promising 11-2 start.

Notre Dame was slated to open its 2021 season last weekend at No. 7 LSU's round-robin tournament that also featured Air Force and Louisiana Tech, but it was forced to postpone due to COVID protocols.

Now the Fighting Irish are stepping directly into Atlantic Coast Conference play – on the road at nationally ranked Wake Forest with the first of their 12 series against league foes.

They'll carry a three-game ACC winning streak and an overall seven-game spurt from last season into today's series opener.

Probable Pitchers:

GAME 1 FRIDAY: ND LHP Tommy Sheehan (0-0) vs. WF RHP Ryan Cuscik (0-0, 4.50 ERA) 4 p.m., ACC NET EXTRA

GAME 2 SATURDAY: ND LHP John Michael Bertrand (0-0) vs. WF RHP William Fleeming (1-0, 0.00 ERA) 4 p.m., ACC NET EXTRA

GAME 3 SUNDAY: ND TBD vs. WF RHP Shane Smith (0-0, 0.00) 1 p.m., ACC NET EXTRA

CAPTAINS CORNER

The Irish have a quartet of team captains for the '21 season: Seniors Niko Kavadas, Tommy Sheehan and Jared Miller are joined by graduate-student Cameron Brown. Both Kavidas and Brown return as captains.

Kavidas has garnered All-America honors during his Irish career and is the team's most dangerous bat; Sheehan anchors a pitching staff long on versatility.

ROSTER OVERHAUL

Notre Dame's first projected full-season squad under Jarrett features 18 newcomers for this season, including transfers from Tennessee (Tanner Kohlhepp, RHP), TCU (Nick Juaire, OF/C), Pennsylvania (Christian Scafidi, RHP) and Furman (John Michael Bertrand, LHP) and UCF (Joe Sheridan, LHP).

The Irish have 11 true freshmen on their roster; they also boast eight graduate students.

DEMON DEACONS EARLY START

Wake Forest logged four games of non-conference play in the past week, taking two of three games against Northeastern before being stymied by Coastal Carolina, which stamped itself as a national presence in 2016 when it won the College World Series.

Wake, led by Tom Walter in his 12th season atop the program, is hosting the Irish as part of an 11-game home stand to begin its season. The Demon Deacons, who were 10-8 a year ago until the coronavirus pandemic halted the season, are not scheduled to play away from Winston-Salem, N.C., until March 9.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame isn't scheduled to make its home debut this season until it hosts Duke for a three-game ACC set beginning March 19.

SPEED THRILLS

Jarrett wants his teams doing the little things, executing at a high level and seeking to maximize the lineup with an aggressive approach on the base paths.

No one better embodies this approach than Spencer Myers. The Irish senior outfielder swiped 15 bases last year in 12 games; in leading the NCAA in steals at the time the season was halted, Myers also had a six-steal performance.

He's converted 41-for-48 stolen-base attempts in his career.

KAVADAS KRUSHES

The Irish's top bat, Kavadas has belted 24 home runs and 44 total extra-base hits in his 114 career games. Kavadas paced Notre Dame and ranked in the top 10 nationally last year with seven dingers through the Irish's 13-game start.

TOMMY ON THE SPOT

Sheehan enters the season as the likely ace for the Notre Dame pitching staff, after posting a 3-0 mark and just a 2.70 ERA in four games a year ago.

For his career, Sheehan's made 33 starts with a 10-10 mark, 4.74 ERA and 111 strikeouts.

 

 

 
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