Story Poster
Photo by Matt Freeman
Notre Dame Baseball

Focus on Findlay: Freshman's dominant postseason run fuels Notre Dame

June 13, 2022
2,045

KNOXVILLE – Jack Brannigan paused in front of the microphone, pointing at the Knoxville Super Regional Game 3 box score before taking his seat.

What had caught the eye of Notre Dame’s plus-fielding third baseman was this line: 5 innings pitched, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks.

Oh, and Irish freshman postseason sensation Jack Findlay needed just 58 pitches for those five close-out innings, a span that bridged Notre Dame’s ability to keep within striking distance, down 3-1, to its dominant seventh and eighth innings that propelled the Fighting Irish to the College World Series for the first time in 20 years and sent top-seeded and consensus No. 1 Tennessee receding into the hills of Rocky Top.

“I was surprised that Jack (Findlay) threw five innings and only gave up one hit against probably the best offensive team in the country,” said Brannigan, whose go-ahead blast followed David LaManna’s game-tying two-run homer and proved the winning run. “We've seen it all year. And I'm just so impressed with the work that he did. I didn't know it was five innings.

“And I remember when he first came in, I was thinking, “Alright, who's next? We'll get a couple of things out of him and then who's going to finish it?’ He just took it and ran with it. So, I'm just so impressed with Findlay, and I didn't realize it was that many innings. So that's kind of what I pointed out today. I was just shocked, and I'm just so proud of the whole team.”

A 6-foot-3, 200-pounder from Ledgewood, N.J., Findlay worked 35 regular-season innings for the Irish in his debut campaign.

He never worked longer than 4.1 innings, and he was never asked to save a game.

In Notre Dame’s magical odyssey to Omaha, Findlay has saved three games and earned the College World Series-clinching win Sunday against the Vols with his season-long outing. 

Since NCAA Tournament play began for the Irish June 3 at the Statesboro Regional, Findlay merely has notched three saves, the program’s biggest win in 20 years and logged 10.1 innings of work. He’s allowed just one earned run during that span – a solo blast by the Vols as Findlay saved Game 1 of the Super Regional – and fanned nine batters.

“I think he’s pretty good at stretching the plate,” said UT coach Tony Vitello. “He did that a little bit on Friday. Also, if I’m correct, his off-speed pitch hasn’t been that great in the past, but (Sunday) it was. Again, it was a difficult day to score runs. His biggest key probably was, when guys get on base or we were starting to build something, it got cut off pretty quickly.”

WARNINGS ISSUED

Early in Sunday’s decisive Game 3, the crew chief for the umpires met first with Notre Dame coach Link Jarrett and then with the Vols’ Tony Vitello.

It had come a few moments after Jared Miller had come chest-to-chest with UT third baseman Trey Lipscomb after Miller’s slide into third. But those two were separated and nothing seemed to materialize.

Nonetheless, each coach had a lengthy chat with the crew chief.

“That there was a warning for the benches,” Vitello said, when asked by Irish Sports Daily about the purpose of the meetings. “I don’t know if it started with play third. You got their guy running around like a madman trying to stretch you know the whole thing. He got to second, and he almost got third, so I don't know if it was from that collision. (Alex) Rao was throwing the ball well. He struck one of our guys out and told him to sit down. I mean, during the regular season, that's what goes on. If you do something well, and there's a lot of emotion into it, which probably if you do something well, it's really important to you. That's kind of stuff that comes out.

“When you do something like he did or other guys in that situation, you've earned the right to say that stuff. It's up to us to try and respond back and see if we can get to the other guy. I don't know if that’s what started it. It was just kind of my philosophy on some of the extra stuff. I'm disappointed in myself, but it was nice that the game was decided on the field. For many reasons, they were the better team today.”

Notre Dame Fighting Irish 25.5" x 19.5" Notre Dame Stadium Stadium Views Wall Art

 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.