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Notre Dame Baseball

Pack punched: Notre Dame rolls to another ACC series win

April 18, 2021

Line 'em up, knock 'em down.

That's the path right now for Notre Dame baseball.

Series after series, the USA Today Coaches Poll No. 12-ranked Fighting Irish just keep grinding out wins.

This weekend, in wrapping a seven-game home stand, they moved to 18-7 overall and 16-7 in Atlantic Coast Conference when the Irish took two of three from visiting North Carolina State.

Notre Dame sandwiched book-end Friday-Sunday wins, by 3-2 and 11-2 margins, around a 5-2 Saturday matinee defeat.

The Irish now are 7-0-1 this season in series play and a remarkable 10-0-1 in series play with second-year coach Link Jarrett now 29-9 overall and 19-9 in ACC play.

“We practice pretty tough, and we grind on the guys pretty good,” Jarrett said of his team's big-picture series success and mental fortitude. “I think that helps. We demand a lot out of them. We try not to back down throughout the course of games, practices, drills, cage-work.

“So I think you cultivate that toughness in how you train. And make no mistake, you've got (John Michael) Bertrand, (Tanner) Kohlhepp, (Joe) Sheridan that are transfer arms that injected something we really needed. The quality in the recruitment in those key guys is part of the business of college athletics. … Our guys are tough. I think we practice hard. I think a lot of people try to practice hard; I think we practice hopefully the right stuff. But we've got some guys that came in that were not here before that are helping, period.”

Jarrett also claimed family bragging rights in the process; his son, Wolfpack infielder J.T. Jarrett, scratched out two walks and two hits in starting all three games.

“It wasn't real fun,” Link Jarrett said of the family-battle element. “That was really strange. I think the game part was most normal part of it. Because everybody on that field, coaches included, are fighting hard for what's next. You know how important every one of these innings are and how important his at-bats are to his team. … It's just a very unique scenario that I would venture to say very few coaches at this level have experienced.

“I'm very proud of the program he's in and how they've helped developed. And I'm proud of the way he handles himself in the classroom, off the field and on the field. It was enjoyable to sit back and watch him play and notice the player he's become. But it wasn't pleasant to think about the ramifications of the game. Very unique.”


ND 11, N.C. STATE 2

As Jarrett alluded, his Irish burst out of the dugout in Sunday's pivotal match with a tone-setting first inning both in the field and at the plate.

Notre Dame had a couple defensive games and forced the Pack to leave the bases loaded, the first three of 11 runners the guests would strand in the finale.

The Irish offense set the tone with an RBI-single from Carter Putz and a two-run double from Brooks Coetzee.

Aidan Tyree worked four innings of one-run ball as the starter, Tanner Kohlhepp improved to 5-1 with two scoreless innings of relief and Joe Sheridan nailed down the long-work save with three innings of one-hit, one-run relief.

Seven different Irish players scored runs in the onslaught, and Jack Brannigan – who had a brilliant first-inning defensive play – belted a three-run home run for his third of the season. Zack Prajzner added a solo blast.

Niko Kavadas went deep in the eighth inning for his 13th home run of the season and 20th dinger in his last 38 games.


N.C. STATE 5, ND 2

Typically, it has been Notre Dame which starts games quickly with early runs and stand-up defense.

Saturday afternoon, the Pack (16-13, 9-12 ACC) mimicked the Irish formula with four runs in the first three innings, ruining the Irish's return of staff ace John Michael Bertrand. Bertrand had missed a couple times in the rotation with arm soreness.

Notre Dame got a pair of RBIs from Putz but never got closer than 4-2.


ND 3, N.C. STATE 2

The Irish flashed their resiliency and avoided an weekend-opening loss for fifth time in their last six series.

Down 2-0 into the bottom of the fourth, Notre Dame evened the tally in that frame and made a go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth stand up for the win.

Brannigan again delivered with a two-run single in the fourth that scored Putz and leadoff hitter Ryan Cole.

Brannigan then took care of the game-winning RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Will Mercer worked five strong innings to start the game, yielding just the two earned runs and six hits, while Kohlhepp stymied the Pack across the final four frames to nab the win.


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