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Notre Dame Baseball

Bertrand remains Mr. Consistency, Rao shines, injury updates

April 23, 2022
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John Michael Bertrand was, well, John Michael Bertrand.

Notre Dame’s ace just might be the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most consistent Friday night feature; as automatic as a toll pass.

But what Link Jarrett’s Fighting Irish got in relief Friday night from Alex Rao could prove to be a difference-maker for No. 13 Notre Dame down the season’s closing stretch.

With bases loaded, no outs and the Demon Deacons having trimmed their deficit to 4-1, Rao relieved Bertrand after a lengthy rain delay and wiggled out of the frame with just one additional run charged to Bertrand.

“We evaded it with Rao, who came in and pitched really well in relief,” Jarrett told Irish Sports Daily.

An earlier double play thwarted a would-be wake rally, and Ryan Cole’s sensational, diving catch deep in the alley in center field in the ninth helped lift the Irish to 24-8 overall, 9-7 in league play.

“(Jared) Miller really accelerated the ball to (Zack) Prajzner, they turned it and then the catch by Cole at the end, that’s an unbelievable play,” Jarrett said.

Across Jarrett’s three seasons at Notre Dame, his teams have been almost automatic to win a series when they seize Game 1; the Irish are 11-0 in ACC series under Jarrett when winning Game 1. 

“It’s huge,” Jarrett said. “Obviously the odds are in your favor if you win the first one to win the series. That’s a good team, a complete team. Bertrand was great. We had the one inning there in the seventh where we made some uncharacteristic mistakes. Shot ourselves in the foot.

“Good win.”

MYERS STRAINS MUSCLE

Spencer Myers, who has in recent weeks been rounding back into form as a key offensive catalyst for the Irish, instead was a late scratch from the starting lineup after being injured in pre-game drills.

“Spencer got hurt taking infield-outfield; we’ve taken infield-outfield a hundred times,” Jarrett said. “He pulled something, not on his throwing side but in his other side. Just bizarre. But then they got (Nick) Juaire in there, so who knows?”

Juaire had a key run-scoring hit to help thwart Wake’s late-game momentum after the rain delay, and the No. 5 and No. 6 hitters in the Irish lineup – Jack Zyska and David LaManna – combined for five hits and four runs.

“Zyska continues to just grind out at-bats, and when Dave is on it, he sprays that ball around,” Jarrett said. “It was a good win. The delay was tough. The rain, it looked like that was not in play when we got to 3, 4, 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Glad we won.”

TEMPLE TIME

Right-hander Austin Temple, who’s seen Notre Dame go 5-2 in his seven starts, takes the mound today for the Irish. He’s 3-1 on the year with a 3.03 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 35.2 innings.

Will Mercer remains the likely Sunday starter, though there is some inclement weather in the forecast and the game has a “drop-dead” time of 4:30 p.m. ET due to travel constraints for the Demon Deacons.

MCLINSKEY LATEST

Ryan McLinskey, as previously noted, is out indefinitely for the Irish with pain in his elbow/forearm in his right, throwing arm. There’s nothing official on McLinskey, and Jarrett has consistently praised the fiercely competitive Seton Hall transfer. But optimism that it might be a short-term setback is waning within the program.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Sideline Training Performance Long Sleeve

 
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