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Notre Dame Baseball

Link Jarrett Notebook | Virginia Tech Win

May 26, 2021

Notre Dame baseball coach Link Jarrett spoke following the 8-0 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship.

On LHP Will Mercer:
”We talk about a lot of crazy stuff and what makes guys effective. He's such a feel pitcher. If you want my honest opinion, some days when it's cool, windy and dry, our baseballs, especially on artificial turf, they're slicker than they were today. When you rely on feel on multiple pitches from a little different slot, I honestly think there are times where he doesn't quite have the feel. When you have the moisture, sweat and rosin, it's easier to manipulate the ball. Obviously, legally, but I see that sometimes.

"He's a good athlete.  If you watch our practice, sometimes you'll think he's a centerfielder running around out there.

"If you go back to the first game, we thought he and (Tanner) Kohlhepp out of the bullpen would be the match that was effective. Some of these guys, if you look at how many innings they've thrown in the ACC, our top inning load was probably four or five innings in their career in this league. He didn't bounce back sometimes from the relief outings, so we turned to let him throw on Friday and see what he can do and try to almost build the pitch count.

"We could have let him continue, but this is a very unusual dynamic with today's game and the tournament. We need to win more than the game today. We didn't even need to win the game today, which is hard to walk out on the field and say that. 

"He's got good feel. Cutter, fastball, changeup, curveball and he's athletic. We need him to pitch like he's pitched lately." 

On 2B Jared Miller:
"He's an important part of what we're doing. We've only played 40 games and he missed nine or 10. I don't feel like he was healthy until today. You play with a player that has the capabilities that you see -playing with right on right isn't easy if you've never done it. If we can keep getting back and engaged in the at-bats like he was today, that will help us so much." 

On pitching rotation if Virginia Tech had beaten Virginia: 
"(John Michael) Bertrand - if you look back on the weeks that led up to all of this because we had exams, Bertrand was lined up to pitch Thursday at Virginia Tech. We hadn't done that all year opening with him, but we wanted to have the flexibility to decide when you played and also to use him on Wednesday if he bounced back right. That's probably what we would have done because we planned to do it for weeks.

"He's ready for Friday with a little more rest than he would of had today." 

On how the team has been successful this year:
"I think our defense is exceptional. If you watched the first couple of innings today, you wouldn't say that, but in a 40-game stretch - Brook Coetzee cutting the ball off in the gap. Ryan Cole playing the ball in the corner and throwing the guy out at second base. Some of the stuff (Jack) Brannigan makes look easy. (Zack) Prajzner is solid over there. Miller can turn a double-play and bounce around. Our catcher (David LaManna) is tough and does a good job. 

"You put versatile pitchers - we have a good mix of lefties and righties. I think we have pitching versatility. No one is too proud to start. We can't start everybody and we can't close everybody. We don't care. It's how we do the whole fall and the preseason. We mix and match who is starting relieving. 

"When we're at home, there are days you aren't going to have good offensive numbers, but you pitch and play good defense and you have a shot. 

"I think our offense - we're learning some things. We still don't do some of the things on offense I know we can do. There are still things that come up that aren't fresh for the guys that we haven't done in a game yet. It's different when you're on this stage when you're trying 1st and 2nd hit and runs. Some of the bunt stuff is tricky at times, but I think we're getting there offensively." 

On best compliment he's received about the team this year:
"Last weekend, a guy (Rick Matthews) that had been the field coordinator, who essentially ran the minor league system for the Rockies, which is the organization I played in - he's been with them for 30 years. 

"He came to our game and he said he was told to come watch because this is the most well-balanced, complete, well-coached team in the college baseball. 

"This guy has been a major league bullpen coach and everything you can do in professional baseball. That kind of made me step back and think that I don't always see the big picture. Right now, I'm thinking about some of the mistakes we made in this game.

"That's probably when it hit me that some people in the game that sit up there and watch see things nationally that I don't. I probably overlooked how hard these guys play and engage in the game." 

On how close the program is to playing the type of ball he envisioned:
"We're close. When you lose the best left-handed reliever in Tommy Vail and (Tommy) Sheehan - that's not how you drew it up. It's a little tricky to do what we've done when you look at our pitching stats when you look who has started, closed and middle relief. 

"We have to continue to develop it where maybe you have guys that go out there Friday, Saturday and Sunday where you can get outings like we've gotten out of Bertrand a little more consistently. That would help. 

"I have no beef with what these guys have done. I'm still learning them. We're probably at the back end of one full season playing and coaching together. We're getting there. 

"I'm very pleased with where we are. I think our baserunning can be a little bit better and our bunting game isn't what I want it to be, but all in all, I'm excited about what we've accomplished." 

"The guys that they throw are just very good arms. We're going to throw good arms at them. They're going to throw good arms at us. It's whoever can navigate and manipulate offensively enough to break through. 

"We were able to do it when we played them. Bertrand, you feel good about him. We have to play better defense than we did today. We made some good plays, but we also handed them a lot of extra opportunities. 

"This is a dog fight. We got them up there, but they're going to have a lot of data and information from that series. This is going to be a grinder dog fight. It's going to be a really good college game." 

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Link Jarrett Notebook | Virginia Tech Win

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