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Notre Dame Baseball

Damaging blow: Notre Dame loses to last-place Boston College

April 29, 2022
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The overall won-loss record and its attached seven-game Atlantic Coast Conference losing streak might have made Boston College seem an imminent victim Friday night for No. 12 Notre Dame.

Fighting Irish coach Link Jarrett wasn’t of that mindset.

Nor were the Eagles, who belted a pair of home runs and handed ND ace John Michael Bertrand his first loss of the season in a 7-4 BC win.

“They’re good, they’re a talented team,” Jarrett said. “Everybody they’ve played says they’re good.

“Not one bit surprised. Not one. Bertrand was too many pitches in the middle of the plate, we didn’t have a secondary pitch presence, not one, until Radek (Birkholz) in the sixth inning. That was the first time we pitched.”

Though Bertrand was perfect through three innings, the Eagles (17-26, 4-18) threatened early but were robbed by Irish third baseman Jack Brannigan. In the fourth, they broke through when Barry Walsh and Cameron Leary belted solo and three-run home runs, respectively.

Jarrett and the Irish (26-10, 11-8) might have found a long-inning reliever and eventual starter, however, in the wake of Bertrand’s shortest outing of the season. Birkholz tossed four perfectly clean innings, striking out seven while allowing no hits or walks.

“Radek did (have a secondary pitch) and that was a really good outing for him,” Jarrett said.

Getting more outings such as this one from Birkholz and being able to consistently pair them with similar efforts from Roman Kimball could go a long way in charting ND’s pitching course beyond Bertrand and Saturday starter Austin Temple down the stretch of the season.

“They’re just gaining valuable experience and sometimes it’s tough,” Jarrett said. “The margin of error is so slim, and you just hope as they continue to mature a little bit and understand what it takes, the consistency becomes more prevalent. We’ve seen flashes from both of those guys. It’s a hard coaching thing because you’re training and trying to fine-tune what they’re doing.

“It’s part of the ebbs and flows of the freshmen working their way through the first season as a college relief pitcher.

“It’s very encouraging but it also can be very frustrating because you’re putting them in more leverage-type roles as you go. For those guys, you can look around the ACC, there aren’t a lot of freshmen who are pitching consistently at an extremely high level. It’s just part of the learning curve you see as they migrate into this level of baseball.”

INJURY UPDATES

Right-hander Ryan McLinskey, who had emerged as the Irish’s long-inning stopper after he transferred into the program from Seton Hall, is lost for the season with an arm injury, per Jarrett.

Spencer Myers continues to rehab his strained oblique.

“Spencer it’s weird, it’s an oblique in his left side; throwing right-handed is kind of a quirky little thing,” Jarrett said. “He’s doing better, doing better. But when you start getting back into the rotational hitting part is what’s toughest on him. I think he could pinch-run with him right now. He’s getting there.”

RUNS RULED OFF

The Irish nearly whittled their deficit to a lone run in the bottom of the sixth after a bang-bang play at first base that initially saw Jared Miller ruled safe and an errant throw that allowed the Irish to deliver two runs.

BC challenged the play, arguing that Miller had illegally run inside the basepath to first base, and umpires after a lengthy review ruled Miller out and credited a double-play.

“Well, they’ve changed this rule to protect the first baseman, essentially,” Jarrett said. “They said after the 45-foot line, you have to be in the 45-foot lane, the box, and they said he was not. At the last step, you can come out of the line because the base is inside the lane, you’re going to have to be in there at some point, but they felt like he never was truly in the running lane. They don’t really have a choice, that’s an out.

“Just the momentum swing of that. It obviously doesn’t help when you take the runs off the board, there is momentum involved in that.”

Wes & Willy Navy Notre Dame Fighting Irish Floral Volley Swim Trunks

 
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