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Notre Dame Baseball

Tour de force: No. 2 Notre Dame baseball dominates in South Carolina

February 27, 2022

Fellow power-conference competition next weekend likely is going to lend a greater barometer of Notre Dame baseball as it ventures into its 2022 season, but it’s impossible to discount what the Fighting Irish are showing – on the mound and at the plate -- through the season’s first two weeks.

Notre Dame, No. 2 in the Baseball America national top 25, now sits at 5-1 after a trio of wins this weekend against Monmouth (twice) and Marist at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C.

A pitching staff investing heavily in its ability to generate greater volume of strikeouts saw senior ace John Michael Bertrand establish a new career high for whiffs while also as a group recording 37 more strikeouts in the three games won by a combined 45-4 tally.

For the young season, that’s now 77 strikeouts in 53.1 innings for the Fighting Irish pitchers.

Up next is a trip to Minneapolis, where Notre Dame is set for a trio of tilts against Big Ten residents Illinois (Friday, 4 p.m.), Michigan State (Saturday, 12 p.m.) and Minnesota (Sunday, 7 p.m.) before one more non-conference road tune-up at Elon (March 8) and then diving into Atlantic Coast Conference play March 11 against North Carolina State – like the Irish, a Super Regional participant last season and among the projected frontrunners this season in the ACC.

Looking back at this weekend:

GAME 1, Friday

Notre Dame 20, Marist 2

Eight runs in the first, more on-the-bump dominance from left-hander Aidan Tyrell and the Irish were off and cruising to open their second weekend of the season.

Now 2-0 on the season, Tyrell has worked 11 innings, now allowed an earned run and fanned 11; he’s got a sub-1 WHIP in his dominant start to the season. He allowed just three hits and one walk in seven innings.

At the plate, rookie DM Jefferson continued his solid start with three RBIs; Nick Juaire, Jack Zyska and TJ Williams each drove in two runs. Ryan Cole went 3-for-3, and Carter Putz tripled in the blowout-win, which saw Notre Dame score eight runs in the first and six more in the sixth.

Sammy Cooper worked the final two innings, striking out three and allowing two earned runs in relief.

Game 2 Saturday

Notre Dame 16, Monmouth 2

Having worked more pitches into his arsenal and added some muscle mass, Bertrand continued his overpowering start to the season. He fanned 11 in seven innings, throwing exactly 100 pitches and scattering three hits against a single walk.

Bertrand and Tyrell now have combined to throw 24 innings, fanned 30 and allowed just 14 hits.

Ryan Cole smacked a grand slam as part of his four-for-four day, and Carter Putz also homered in a two-hit, two-run, three-RBI performance.

Heralded freshman hurler Radek Birkholz polished off Monmouth with two hitless, scoreless innings that saw the former Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year strike out three and walk two.

Game 3 Saturday

Notre Dame 9, Monmouth 0

Four Irish hurlers combined to allow just three hits, and Notre Dame’s pitching staff exited the weekend with a streak of 11 consecutive scoreless innings. The group allowed the opposition to score in just three of 27 innings played at Fluor Field.

Graduate-transfer Austin Temple earned his first Irish win as he worked five innings of no-run ball. The right-hander walked two, allowed three hits and fanned five before he turned it over to Ryan McLinskey, Alex Rao and Jack Brannigan.

The quartet of hurlers pieced together the most overpowering outing of the young season for Notre Dame as they combined for 15 strikeouts, and just three singles.

At the dish, Zack Prajzner drove in three runs while TJ Williams and Danny Neri each tripled – with Neri’s shot also driving in three runs.

Now through six games and 20 official at-bats, Ryan Cole has a .500 batting average with 10 hits, nine runs scored and six runs delivered on 14 total bases. Catcher David LaManna has team-high hitting honors, raking at a .538 clip through four starts behind the dish and 13 at-bats with seven hits.

Putz has eight RBIs, eight hits and 10 runs scored.

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