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Notre Dame Baseball

Notre Dame Prepared for Hostile Super Regional

June 11, 2021

The preparation has been a season's worth of sign language.

Verbal communication was all but verboten for Notre Dame's baseball team.

Not in the field. Not at the plate.

It's going to be tested in an unprecedented manner this weekend.

What matters now is how Notre Dame responds to the program's first NCAA Super Regional in nearly two decades.

The No. 10-seed Fighting Irish (33-11) visit host and seventh-seeded Mississippi State (43-15) this weekend in the best two-of-three Starkville Super Regional.

The winner gets a berth in the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The loser's season ends in the round of 16.

In last weekend's NCAA Regional opener, the Bulldogs drew 27,056 fans – more than Notre Dame has played in front of total in Link Jarrett's 57 games atop the Irish program.

"Reminded, refreshed, rehearsed, raised the volume," Jarrett said of his squad's preparation this week for the Dudy Noble Field environment, replete with standing-room-only tickets and the ubiquitous Bulldogs' cowbells. "We've talked about it all year; we've practiced with the music on a couple of times, which I'm sure everybody does. But I think our systematic approach to playing in front of a crowd, even though quite frankly we really haven't, other than the Regional games, we really haven't. It's just the non-verbal use of communication versus thinking you can talk to the guy on the field next to you easily. It's not going to happen.

"They understand it, and executing it in this setting for the first time is where the rubber meets the road. We've refreshed, prepared, worked on it today. So, we're going to find out if it works."

Both Jarrett and pitcher Tanner Kohlhepp own considerable Southeastern Conference experience from their respective days at Auburn University and the University of Tennessee.

Yet sharing those experiences only goes so far this weekend.

"They're a good team. Don't get me wrong, I remember my freshman year, they actually came to us at Tennessee," said Kohlhepp, who's posted a 7-1 ledger in 22 appearances for the Irish and fanned 61 batters in 57.1 innings. "Good, athletic group; good arms. They've always had some good arms You've got to be ready for that.

"Lot of tough at-bats, guys grind out at-bats. The long ball is definitely a part of their brand of baseball, too. So we're going to have to be on, we're going to have to be ready. All in all, we're at a Super Regional, it's a good team. Any team that we're playing here is going to be good. So, we've just got to be ready once the first pitch is thrown."


GAME 1, SATURDAY: ND LHP John Michael Bertrand (8-2, 2.98 ERA) vs. MSU RHP Wil Bednar (7-1, 3.17 ERA), 2 p.m. ET, ESPN

GAME 2, SUNDAY: ND TBD vs. MSU LHP Christian MacLeod (6-4, 3.81 ERA), 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPNU

GAME 3, MONDAY*: ND TBD vs. MSU TBD, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPNU (if necessary)

The Jarrett Family is front-and-center this weekend in the world of college baseball.

Well, perhaps they share some spotlight with that of the Bianco family – Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco and LSU outfielder Drew Bianco.

The two families comprise four of the remaining 16 teams in the sport's Super Regional weekend. Jarrett's son, T.J., is a starter for the North Carolina State that used a surprise weekend in the opening round to advance to top-seeded Arkansas' Super Regional.

"Man, to think that after all the years and games and travel tournaments and where's he going to go to school and is he going to get to play and is he going to get to start, to think now you're down to 16 teams and we're two of them, it's crazy," Jarrett said.

Just as last weekend, it left the Jarrett house both united but physically divided. His wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Dawson, a freshman at the University of Alabama, are in Fayetteville, Arkansas, tonight for the Wolfpack's opener against the Hogs at Baum-Walker Stadium.

"My wife flew with us, rented a car and got up at 6 o'clock and she drove to Fayetteville," Jarret said. "So they're sitting in Baum Stadium right now. And she's never been there. My daughter is with her. That's as far as we can go. Like, she doesn't know what to do if N.C. State wins the game tonight, and I don't know what to tell her to do. And I'm not going to say a word to her, because she's going to have to figure that out because they're playing to go to Omaha if they win tonight.

"And she wants to be here, but I don't know that mileage-wise she can pull that off."

Still, Jarrett recognizes the significance of the moment for both his family and the Biancos.

"I don't know. To say that another coach, I guess Bianco is kind of in a similar situation with his son that plays at LSU," Jarrett said. "But Jenn has, that Jeep Grand Cherokee she rented was flying up through Memphis today and they made it. So, I'll get the briefing after the game on what she wants to do, but I have a feeling she'll probably stay there for tomorrow.

"I'm glad these things didn't line up where we're playing tonight, too. That's the best thing that could have happened. I mean, the best thing is we're playing. But the next best thing is the way the Super Regionals shook out with them Friday and us starting Friday. That gives her a chance, a fighting chance."

After leaving last weekend's opening-round finale with a sore hamstring, Irish star outfielder Spencer Myers on Friday declared himself ready to go, Jarrett said. Myers will get additional treatments on the tender hamstring tonight and Saturday morning before the afternoon opener.

"He was much better out there today," Jarrett said. "He told me after practice, 'Coach, I'm good.' He's on that roster and that's all I can go with right now. …

"We'll see how he is (Saturday) morning."

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Notre Dame Prepared for Hostile Super Regional

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