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Notre Dame Baseball

Link Jarrett Notebook | 4.7

April 7, 2021
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Notre Dame baseball coach Link Jarrett wrapped up the series win over Pitt on Tuesday as the Irish prepare for a three-game series against another ranked team in Georgia Tech this weekend. 

On the Pitt series:
"It was another Super Regional type of weekend. I feel every team we've played has been a Top 20 type team. I'm proud of the way we've played. We've overcome a lot to this point. We'll continue to have to deal with some adversity, I'm sure. I'm proud of the way they've gone on the road. 

"Pitt's good. Virginia is good. Duke's good. Louisville's good. Georgia Tech's good. NC State's good. North Carolina's good. Everybody is ranked and you can see why people have been in and out. It's not going to end. I'm just proud of some of the progress we've made." 


On putting in a bid to host a regional:
"We're going to submit. Now, the timeline of it - I think everybody that is in the conversation is going to submit a bid to host. They don't determine those sites for a month or so. You got a lot of highway left ahead of you before you're determined to host. 

"It's probably been a while since this has been an option here. I'm excited. It's a measuring stick for our guys to realize what they've been able to accomplish with a very tough schedule. I'm proud of them for that. 

"Navigating the facility and how things work in your home facility to host under these conditions are things we'll continue to discuss this afternoon and throughout the week to make sure what we're presenting is logical for everybody involved. To be in the discussion is pretty special and I'm very proud of what we've been able to do." 


On Baseball America projecting Notre Dame to make it to Omaha and talking to his team about Omaha:
"Scott Wingo is such an integral part of our staff and he won the thing twice. We do talk about it. Now, so does everybody else. Everybody has this discussion year-round and I try not to harp on it because that's the last thing that's going to happen. If you don't take care of business in the game Friday, you're chances of Omaha go down. If that's your focus, I think you're looking way too far down the road to really be good. 

"When we do things that we feel are championship-caliber traits, we talk about it. I'm not cramming Omaha down anyone's throat. My goal is to try to play a good game on Friday. That's the next game and that's how I want our guys to approach it. As you continue to evolve and the season conveyer belt rolls forward, you just take care of the next day and you'll be in good shape. 

"It's not how many miles to Omaha and everything is based on Omaha. It's based on we need to go play good baseball in the first inning on Friday and take it from there. Wingo talks to the team a little bit when I ask him to explain what your championship teams were able to do and it grabs the attention of the guys. I think we're doing some of those things. 

We have to be better offensively and we have to be a little more consistent in some areas on the mound, but we do see some things that are performing very well. Again, Omaha is not the theme of every practice and every week in the locker room." 


On 2B Jared Miller:
"Miller has an issue. We'll know more this evening on what his status is going to be. He wasn't comfortable - upper body stuff. It's not COVID, but it was something that didn't allow him to function as he normally would. He's been dealing with it for a little while." 


On the decision to start Kyle Hess at 2B:
"Hess knows what we're doing. Hess is a good athlete. Hess was coming off an injury that basically kept him out all fall and limited him in the preseason. He's in there and you can sense that he knows what's going on around him and that's all you can ask. These guys are going to get their feet wet, but as they're getting their feet wet, you want them to be able to function in your system. 

"The quality of the at-bat and offensive production, we'll know in time how that goes. He's earned that spot through hard work and getting a chance to go out there and play. We have a couple other infielders that are in play if Jared continues to be out. 

"I'm happy. Hess went in there and got a couple hits, turned a nice double-play and every at-bat is a learning experience for him. The guy has worked really hard and I'm proud he got in there." 


On pitching rotation and continuing to use John Michael Bertrand as a game two starter:
"We have to use him the way we're using him. You see what we're doing on Friday and Sunday. Pitt completely the opposite. They hand Myers the ball on Friday and Gilbertson on Saturday and they're not touching it for 120 pitches. Those guys have given them deep starts. That's not our road map right now. 

"The way you have to do it is stick the longer outing in the middle to try to survive Friday and Sunday. That's what we're doing." 


On Niko Kavadas hitting 11 home runs in 60 plate appearances:
"With Miller not in there, it takes one of your more statistically potent looking bats out. That's why we moved the lineup. I'm not saying I have it down. If we were playing tonight, I would probably do what we did Monday for the game. You have to have protection in front and behind him and, more importantly, probably behind him. That's where your Brooks Coetzee, (David) LaManna's and (Jack) Brannigan's - whatever we decide to do. We had (Carter) Putz behind him the other day and that obviously looked good. 

"Nobody is going to pitch to him like they would your average joe left-handed hitter. They're going to be very careful. When you don't even have to throw four intentional walk pitches, you can simply put somebody on first base, it's a lot easier to do that when you're 2nd and 3rd with one out with a freshman on the mound that's never thrown an intentional walk pitch. 

"What he has done is he's stayed within the confines of his approach at the plate and not expanded trying to do more than he's really allowed to do with how they're pitching him. It's been impressive." 


On Niko Kavadas' draft stock:
"He's helped himself a lot. He's played disciplined and a little more consistency. We jumped right into ACC competition. Wake Forest's pitching staff is velocity-wise is a Major League type of staff. There was no tune-up. We jumped right into this thing and he's been good since the first at-bat of the season. 

"I think he's more mature in the batter's box.  I hope all these guys start to understand what the approach piece of hitting actually is. That's what is happening at the highest level. It's not everyone swings the same, but it's the elite hitters have similar mental traits within their swing. I think he's doing better with that. 

"Trying to continue to improve at first base. He works hard at it. I think draft-wise, when you're looking at where the Chicago Cubs put him on the field - that's the other piece. He's going to be drafted for the hitting and power, but you also have to feel there is a spot on a Major League field for him. To me, first base is the most logical of those and he's still learning it. 

"We see stuff come up where some of these guys - I keep telling everybody they are still 35-40 games into playing these positions at this level. Miller's new, Prajzner, Brannigan, Kavadas - there's awkward little things that come up that we're still trying to fine-tune. 

"Big picture for him, he needs to continue what he's doing and show everybody that he can be a good defender at first base." 


On draft range for Kavadas:
"I would think he's a top five round pick. He's probably got the best power in college baseball. We don't play at a real forgiving park. There's places I've coached where the numbers would be far greater than they are here. He's a top five rounder. 

"Some of that has to be based on their projection that he's a Major League caliber defender at first base. Going around the big leagues and pick out the three or four first basemen you like, can you plug Niko into that spot for the Dodgers, Mets, or the Giants? That's kind of the tricky part for the cross checkers and scouts that have to look into that crystal ball and say we're going to take him in the third round because he's the first baseman of the future." 


On OF Ryan Cole: 
"We tried to simplify. I think of all the things we did with the guys, it was just trying to simplify his stance into his launch position. He had a lot of movement with the bat and still does, but I think it's under control a little bit more. He's swinging from a more fixed launch position. 

"From day one, we work on approach and pitch selection and discipline and what to look for and not guess, but what to try to feel out based on how you're pitched and how that pitcher looks to you. It may look different to Cole than it does to Kavadas. That's part of them having a mental game plan when they go up there for what may work for them.

"I would like to think that's helped everybody. Cole is having a good year and we have to get (Zach) Prajzner going. He's shown some moments where it's been pretty good. 

"Cole is just simplifying and he's got a little confidence. He uses the field well and the other day, he had a key base hit to right center field. You've seen the home runs to left center. He's pulled the ball down the line. His bunting game, believe it or not, I know when you watch it, it probably doesn't look like it's in play, but I think that's something he can do and he's a good base runner. There's a lot to like offensively and defensively, he's an adequate to above-average centerfielder. When you have him in left, he's made some really nice plays that look easier than they really are. 

"Everything about his game is appealing." 


On the hitting outburst in game three vs. Pitt:
"Our place plays differently at home. It doesn't seem as offensive. The games at our stadium, from what I've seen in the five games I've coached, it just plays differently. There's places at every level of the game where it plays a little bit different. 

"I see different looks when you're at a road stadium versus when we're at home. That being said, our approach Monday was pretty good. There were some balls that were stepped on and the same with Saturday's game. Kavadas and Putz, those balls were hit. If you look at Putz's at bats, there were three balls I think of against Duke and Louisville where he demolished the ball to right centerfield at our stadium. It's bigger and that wind knocked it down. He's taking the exact same swing three or four times with nothing to show for it like he did on Saturday where the ball went out to right centerfield. It was smoked. 

"It's just becoming a little more accustomed to how the game is played under the commissions at our field. At Virginia, the ball carried and Clemson is a quick surface. I'm still learning what may work at home and on the road. 

"The quality of the at-bat on Monday was pretty good. When you get production on both halves of the lineup, you have a chance to score. If it's just one half, you're not going to extend enough innings to really put a three-run inning or a five-run inning and that's what we saw on Monday." 


On getting Spencer Myers going from the plate over the weekend:
"As a switch hitter, you're two different hitters and I was a switch hitter. There were times you felt really good from one side and the other side of the plate, it just wasn't clicking for you. Mechanically, things fall into place a little bit easier right-handed. He's been working and we've been trying to do some things to flatten out that swing. 

"He's good when the ball on a line or on the ground. The home run was great, but that's a little bit of getting a good pitch to hit and taking a level swing. You catch it just right and that ball carries. 

"I just saw a little bit more balance in the box, in the swing, through the zone. Pitch selection was a little bit better. We're still trying to get the other half of the field left-handed. It's basically middle to pull. When he's really going well, that left side and the six-hole in left field is in play. It just hasn't been yet, but at least he made some strides and started to level it out a little bit. You saw more line drives and well-hit ground balls, which are fine from him." 


On 8-game homestand:
"What have we played? Five-six games? I guess six. I'm ready to get used to the timeline and I think eventually we're moving Friday to a 5 o'clock start to try to take a normal BP first and then have a pregame meal. We haven't really done what I envisioned being able to do for our home games. 

"I'm ready for it. It's just a little bit new still. Hopefully, we can settle into the timeline and it's efficient and we feel good with it. 

"Anytime you're at home, you're more familiar with your surroundings, how the field plays and what's going on around you. You're at home and that's to your advantage." 

 
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