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Notre Dame Baseball

Jarrett praises 'Toughness, poise, composure' of No. 9 Notre Dame

April 26, 2021
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Once again, Notre Dame did what it has done every single three-game series this season – and for the couple it played in Link Jarrett's abbreviated 2020 debut season.

The Fighting Irish won the three-game set. This time, it was at Boston College and after a bit of a listless effort in a 10-0 defeat Friday to initiate the weekend series.

Notre Dame controlled the middle contest and staged one of the program's most dramatic rallies in the finale – coming from nine runs down – to win 13-9.

“Another good weekend, little bit of everything,” Jarrett said Monday via Zoom. “The second game is something in 20 years of coaching and I don't know how many years of playing, never have 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 of hours going into the seventh, eighth, ninth innings of that last day. Unbelievable, unthinkable. Probably something at this level of baseball hasn't happened before, maybe. So proud of the guys.”

The dramatic comeback-triumph gave the Fighting Irish their 19th and 20th wins of the season, and more importantly let them leave Chestnut Hill with 18 Atlantic Coast Conference wins – most-ever for the program.

The 18 league wins are most in the ACC – by three over Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Louisville continues to lead the Atlantic Division by mere percentage points over Notre Dame, but the Cardinals have played just 20 ACC contests (14-6).

Now, Notre Dame has ascended to No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches Poll – its highest ranking in that poll in roughly a decade. It hosts Valpo (8-2) Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Eck Stadium.

Jarrett isn't dwelling on his team's various aches and ailments, but he likewise doesn't have a firm timetable of when some players can return – including key infielder Jared Miller.

“Miller, it's a day-to-day thing,” he said. “We saw him try to bat right-handed against a right-handed pitcher, it's something they (switch-hitters) don't do. The left-handed (swinging) bothers him. But it's day-to-day.”

Spencer Myers is heating up at the plate at the right time for Notre Dame; he's now swiped nine bases, rapped out 30 hits and is one of four Irish batters with 20 or more runs scored.

“Myers is such a fun baserunner,” Jarrett said. “It's just a fun guy to have on base. …

“Man when he gets on base, he's got a presence and an aura around him and a knack for the base-running that's really rare and special.”

Jarrett also shared unique insight into the Irish's thought-process during their massive Game 3 rally – which included the decisive 12-run eighth inning – as well as how the team celebrated after it played the three-game set in roughly 30 hours.

Notre Dame's flight schedule back to Chicago could not be easily adjusted, so the team spent Sunday morning lounging around the hotel before it got back to South Bend late Sunday night.

“We couldn't get the flight structured to really make it easier or get back earlier,” Jarrett said. “The guys got to sleep in for once. This morning, 7:30 COVID test. (Sunday) I was glad we just got to enjoy a morning in the hotel. They could study, sleep in. Because they don't get to do that.

When we got back to the hotel, I told them, ‘Let's go through the eighth inning one at-bat at a time. And you guys just talk about the at-bat and you just enjoy it.’ (Niko) Kavadas starts and he's like, 'Fastball, inside half of the plate, home run.' And the guys started cheering. And then Carter Putz is like, 'Fastball, middle, base hit.' They started applauding and cheering and it was hilarious. Of course, somebody was like 'Struck out, four pitches.' And the guys were like, 'Yeah! Struck out!' Such a unique moment and the whole night was fun for the guys. Crazy toughness. Toughness, poise, composure. Any words you want to throw out for that, it was fitting.

Jarrett shared the Irish's staff philosophy and game plan for having a runner attempt to steal home, as Jack Brannigan did during the eighth-inning rally. It was Brannigan's second time to swipe home plate in his career.

“We time it, so we know based on our stop-watch what is realistic,” Jarrett said. “And it was pushing it. But, the lead (off third), the more you can acquire from your initial lead, then the timing of it shrinks a little bit for him to score. And they had been in the windup 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. Just another adrenaline shot for the guys.”

Notre Dame is scheduled to start southpaw Aidan Tyrell (2-1, 3.22 ERA) against Valpo righty Griffin McCluskey (0-0, 11.74 ERA) Tuesday afternoon.

 
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