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Notre Dame Baseball

Surging Irish host Georgia Tech

April 8, 2021
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A genuine, legtimate home stand.

That is, if Mother Nature cooperates. The Weather.com forecast this weekend for South Bend, Indiana, includes heavy chances of rain both Saturday – including potential thunderstorms – and Sunday, with rain chances at or above 605 both days.

Notre Dame, 14th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, is preparing for its longest stretch of consecutive home gates to date since coach Link Jarrett was hired in July 2019.

The Fighting Irish (13-5, 12-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) are set to initiate an eight-game home stretch today with the first of three games against No. 16 Georgia Tech at 5 p.m. inside Eck Stadium.

In addition to two more games against the Yellow Jackets, the Irish are scheduled to play non-conference midweek games against Central Michigan and Butler as well as next weekend's ACC set against visiting North Carolina State.

It's yet another pivotal stretch for Notre Dame, which is submitting a bid to be considered as a host site/team for NCAA Tournament Regionals, Jarrett revealed this week.

Going into the weekend, perhaps the most important element to monitor: The Irish do not list staff ace John Michael Bertrand among their probable pitchers for the weekend, and nothing was mentioned about Bertrand being potentially unavailable when Jarrett met Tuesday with media via Zoom. It’s likely a gamesmanship move by Link Jarrett, but we’ll be monitoring it on Saturday.

Bertrand is 3-0 in six starts with a 3.07 ERA and by far leads the staff with 41 innings pitched.

PROBABLE PITCHERS:

GAME 1 FRIDAY: GT LHP Brian Huerter (3-2, 2.82 ERA) vs. ND LHP Will Mercer (1-0, 6.59 ERA) 5 p.m., ACC NETWORK EXTRA

GAME 2 SATURDAY: GT RHP Andy Archer (4-2, 1.86 ERA) vs. TBD, 11 a.m., ACC NETWORK EXTRA

GAME 3 SUNDAY: LHP Sam Crawford (2-3, 4.40 ERA) vs. TBD, 1 p.m., ACC NETWORK EXTRA

SERIES BUSINESS

Sure, the COVID-19 pandemic wrecked the sports world as we all know it a year ago, but consider this nugget on Notre Dame baseball:

The Fighting Irish haven't lost an ACC series since their regular-season finale two years ago at Boston College, the weekend of May 16, 2019.

For context: It's been 99 weeks since Notre Dame dropped a league series. The Irish won their only league set a year ago – sweeping North Carolina on the road – and have five series wins and a split with Louisville in six weekends this season.

Notre Dame won a total of eight ACC series combined in the 2018-19 seasons.

KAVADAS MASH ALERT

Irish preseason All-America selection Niko Kavadas continues his torrid home run pace. The former Penn High School (Granger, Indiana) slugger has 11 blasts in 18 games, tied for third-most in the NCAA.

Most impressive? Kavadas has gotten to 11 dingers in five, seven and eight fewer games than the other three players who enter weekend play with 11.

Kavadas now has 18 blasts in his past 115 at-bats – an average of a home run every 6.4 trips to the plate.

Jarrett this week projected Kavadas as a potential top-5-round Major League Baseball draft pick.

LOOKING AT TECH

The Yellow Jackets have spent most of the year ranked in the top 15 before a recent skid. They've lost three of their last four ACC games and were pummeled earlier this week by USC-Upstate, 9-3.

This is the same Georgia Tech squad that punished Louisville in an early-season series, winning two of three against the Cardinals and scoring 38 runs in the process.

Tech has strong pitchers, but the staff also has been prone to both hits in general and extra-base hits. They've allowed 225 hits in 214 innings pitched, including 76 extra-base hits. Opponents are batting .264 against the Jackets' arms.

The Jackets are tough at the plate; they've hit .297 as a team through the first 24 games.

Kevin Parada is among the nation's leaders with a robust .406 batting average in 23 games for Tech, posting 39 hits in 96 trips to the plate. Parada leads the Jackets with 16 extra-base hits, five of them home runs, and 22 RBIs.

Tech has five everyday players batting .304 or better; they've struck out 199 times as a team coming into this weekend's series.

 
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