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Notre Dame Baseball

Link Jarrett Notebook | 4.26

April 26, 2021

Notre Dame baseball coach Link Jarrett spoke on Monday afternoon to recap the incredible series at Boston College over the weekend. 

On the weekend series vs. Boston College: 
"Another good weekend, a little bit of everything. Friday night's game obviously got away from us. The first game Saturday, just a well-played game and the second game is something in my 20 years of coaching - I don't know how many years of playing never had seen anything like that. 

"I'm just so proud of the toughness of the kids, the coaching staff, the stick with it ness of the group throughout that because it was really a tough couple hours going into the seventh, eighth and ninth inning of that last game. Long day. Unbelievable. Unthinkable. Probably something at this level of baseball that hasn't happened before, maybe. I would doubt it under those conditions.

"So proud of the guys." 

On the game three win:
"The big difference is we get to the hotel Thursday night at 11 o'clock, you're throwing your bags down and you're trying to kind of get settled in and you play a tough game Friday. Then we decide right after that game - you played a terrible game that we're going to play two the next day, starting earlier. 

"So the length of that day added into the travel Thursday late night, Friday tough game and that's a tough stretch. When you get to that game and you find yourself down so much, I've never seen a group respond the way they did. 

"Nothing this weekend ever lacked effort or attempting to play. We just had moments we didn't play right. They got some really key hits. They're a good team. They were picked by some publications, if I'm not mistaken, to be a college world series team. Right?  You can see it like the arms when they have the three guys going that they had starting are very good. The top of that order - very tough. But our guys were tougher and it's impressive." 

On realizing they had a chance to take the lead in the 8th inning: 
"We were getting shut out and that's not something you ever enjoy. We were first and second, nobody out and (Kyle) Hess, who has given us some really good at-bats, is still figuring out his game. We try to basic a bunt and I'm like, I hope the worst thing is that it turns into a sac bunt and we're second and third. (Spencer) Myers was having a good weekend. Let's flip the lineup. Maybe we can get this to - I don't know what 8-1, 8-2, 8-3 somehow. 

"Let's take the goose egg off the board and maybe we put down a good base hit bunt and they pick it up and throw it into the right field corner. I just tried to do something and when it happened, I was like, Did I just bunt down 9-0? I'm like I did. I still think it's right. 

"I cannot explain to you the maneuvering that was going on when you're trying to get guys in at the right time to pinch-hit and making sure those guys can stay in that spot and you've got your defensive team aligned. (David) LaManna is going to stay in and catch. (Brooks) Coetzee is going to end up in there. (Nick) Juaire caught an inning and had a coupe key at-bats. 

"I guess as players and coaches, we left it all on the field that day. When you get through that 8th inning, the adrenaline and the feeling in the dugout is really unlike anything - winning a regional and going to Omaha and winning a game in Omaha - that sort of thing is close, but the toughness to come back through all of that and so many guys being involved is just remarkable." 

On playing three games in basically a 24-hour span:
"We really did. We tried to maybe look at flights because you know you're flying back Sunday. So we get back Sunday night at 11, but we couldn't get the flight structured to really make it easier or get back earlier if we would have had to go somewhere and connect. Honestly, the guys got to sleep in for once. This morning 7:30 am COVID test, but yesterday I was glad that we all got to just enjoy a morning in the hotel. They could stud. They could sleep in because they don't get to do that.

"It was a good day yesterday." 

On Jack Brannigan stealing home:
"We time it, so we know based on our stopwatch what is realistic and it was pushing it. It was pushing it, but the lead, like the more you can acquire from your initial lead, then the timing of it shrinks a little bit obviously for him to score. 

"They had been in the wind up a lot with a runner on third base. It just seemed like it was the right time to try it and Brannigan is a very good athlete great runner, so we gave it a shot. It worked and it's just another adrenaline shot for the guys. It's just as crazy."

On scoring 8 runs with two outs in the 8th:
"Yes, like it's not easy mathematically. I was talking to the coaches after, I said, ESPN in some of the sports they put win percentage like in the NBA or NFL in the fourth quarter when you're down 10 with a minute and a half left. Really tough to think through how that happened. 

"I'll tell you the neatest part of this. We got back to the hotel, our meeting room was a little smaller than normal, but I had the guys go in the room. I said, Let's go through the eighth inning one at-bat at a time and you guys just talk about the at-bat and let's just enjoy this. 

"Kavadas starts at he's like, 'Fastball inside half of the plate - homerun. The guys started cheering and then Carter Putz is like, 'fastball middle - base hit.' Then they started applauding and cheering. It was hilarious. Then you know, of course, somebody's like, 'Struck out on four pitches,' and the guys are like 'Yeah!' 

"It just is such a unique moment and the whole night was fun for the guys. Crazy toughness, poise, composure, any word you want to throw out for that, it was fitting." 

On CF Spencer Myers:
"Myers is such a fun base runner. It's just a fun guy to have on base. I don't know if the long layoff - some of these guys have been playing - the older guys have been playing baseball, if it's not year-round, then there are just some breaks in it—the winter break and some in the summer. 

"I don't know if some of it is he just hasn't played as much and he's back in that rhythm we saw last year. He's technically got some things with his swing left-handed that are lining up better for him now. He's starting to hit more line drives. When he gets on base, he's just got a presence and aura about him and a knack for the baserunning that is really rare and special. It's fun to coach because I like that type of game and he can do it." 

On health of Jared Miller:
"Miller is a day-to-day thing. We saw him try to bat right-handed and for a switch hitter to go right-on-right is something they don't do. The left-handed thing bothers him, but it's day-to-day. There are days it feels OK. He really took two or three swings left-handed and it bothered him and we had to get him out of there. I don't know where that's headed. 

"I can't say enough about Hess. He said, 'Coach, I just want to play. Give me a chance to play.' He works hard and he's had some big at-bats. The ground-rule double is huge. He's waited his turn, he got it and is making the most of it. There's a positive sometimes underneath the negative stuff that you have to deal with." 

On the mentality of the team over the course of game three:
"You could feel the frustration of the game. The low point of it was probably when they hit what looked like a double-play ball. We didn't turn the double-play. Then we threw a pick-off away and they scored on a wild pitch. That to me, was the low point and that was my only real negative comment. We just let them score on a ground ball to short, a pick-off and a wild pitch. You have to play better than that. I don't know what inning that was, but I told them we could score eight runs just like they've scored eight runs, but you're not going to do it with that type of concentration. 

"I wasn't yelling and screaming. They didn't need any yelling and screaming. They were infuriated with how this was going. You have to recognize the guys on the mound for (Boston College) did a great job. It's not like a lack of anything we were really doing. When we got into the bullpen, you could see the swings and at-bats change. Getting that starting pitcher out of there is important even when you're down like that. We got him out of there and it did build. Every at-bat of that inning, our team knew there was a chance if we could keep stringing the at-bats together as bleak as it seemed, there was a chance it could happen. 

"Once it went to the next reliever and the next reliever, our guys kind of tasted it. You could tell their team probably felt the opposite way that we did at that moment. 

"LaManna's hit, Prajzner's home run, the steal of home, Hess' double - that's why you coach and play for that feeling. It just doesn't come along very often. When it does, you will never forget what that's like. It's just so unique and so rich." 

On mental toughness of the team:
"We have balance to our team. I guess they've seen us win games every possible way - great pitching, great defense, bunting game, baserunning game, power - we've done it. Their belief in it is now a reflection of what they've seen themselves do. And you've done it against some of the best teams in the country. 

"That ship has sailed in terms of them believing in it. Now, it's consistent execution, pushing the right buttons and trying to get the guys in the right spot and making the right decision on the bases, on the mound and defensively. It's just adding to what they've shown they're capable of doing by consistent execution. 

"That's why we were so mad about Friday and the early part of the last game went because it wasn't executed the way we know we're capable of. When the guys get upset about that, you feel good as a coach because it's a self-cleaning. They can sense it and clean it up a little bit on their own, which is what you want." 

On P John Michael Bertrand:
"I thought he got better as he was on the mound. I didn't think it was quite as sharp as I've seen him, but he made two key adjustments in the game and Chuck (Ristano) was part of that.

"They stayed on our lefties really well. Their righties did a good job. YOu saw the two backside home runs in the first game—kind of an unusual thing for (Will) Mercer. You could see them selling out to hit the ball the other way. 

"A left-handed breaking ball to a right-handed hitter is a tough pitch to hit the other way. In about the third inning, he started to roll that thing in there and it gave them trouble. He started to go to his fastball in a little more to the righties and that gave them trouble. 

"Sensing what their hitters were trying to do and having the ability to change your game plan a little bit - start rolling the breaking ball in there on the inside half of the plate and sticking the fastball in was a really good adjustment. When you can throw multiple pitches and have fastball command on both sides, you can do those things. 

"You still have to go out there in that setting on the fly and do it. We all sensed it. Chuck did a good job of calling pitches and Bertrand got a little bit better as he went. He was sharper against Boston College than maybe he was against NC State. Hopefully,y he's back in rhythm and giving us those long deep starts in the middle that we really need to function the way we've been using the pitchers."

On feeling this is a special group:
"I do. I've seen us win games in every form and fashion you can think of. As you witness these unique moments, it really builds confidence that the possibilities are endless for what the group can do. 

"There are still things offensively we're not really functioning how I would like in some spots. All in all, when you can pitch and play defense, it keeps you in every game. Offensively, you got to figure out within the confines of that game how it's going and what you can do to scratch and claw to score. 

"There are some unique twists that occur that make these elite championship type of teams believe a little bit more. We're good, but you start to think that the karma, vibe and personality of the team take on a whole different meaning when you see some of these things transpire." 

On playing Valpo on Tuesday:
"We didn't play a really attacking type of game. They're solid. It was the first time we played them and our first ever mid-week game here. I hope we have a little more rhythm to how we go about the mid-week game. 

"We're going to start Aidan Tyrell and he's been out there plenty for us. We'll let him get into the game and figure it out from there. 

"Offensively, you get into these mid-week games and you want to be able to jump out and do some things and create some early offense. You can't always do it, but that's what you'd like to do and we didn't really do it last time. I think we had some chances to separate and bust that game open, if I remember, and we didn't quite do it. 

"Hopefully, we get a good pitching performance, play our good defense and offensively figure out a way to scratch and put some runs on the board." 

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