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Notre Dame Baseball

Notre Dame-Tennessee clash dominated ESPN viewership; Jarrett glad for 'Tyrell club'

June 16, 2022
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OMAHA -- Perhaps not surprisingly, Link Jarrett had forecast an epic weekend of baseball last week when his plucky Notre Dame squad invaded Rocky Top to face top-ranked and No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed Tennessee in the Knoxville Super Regional.

“This, the intensity of this as a coach, I told our team -- and I didn't want to make the moment too big, but I've never seen a moment too big for them -- I said this would be the most contested, exciting series that college baseball has ever seen, last weekend,” Jarrett shared this week, in run-up to the Fighting Irish’s first College World Series berth in 20 years. “I think it was.

“You had that (Tennessee) group that had put themselves and separated from everybody else and you had our group that I think people liked watching last year, and let's go see what this is. Maybe the two winningest teams in college baseball over the last few years.”

And go see is exactly what fans did. In addition to the three-straight, sold-out, standing-room-only affairs inside the Vols’ Lindsey Nelson Stadium, the Knoxville Super Regional dominated the ESPN family of channels’ viewership for college baseball’s round of 16.

According to data released earlier this week showcasing last week’s sports tv ratings, some 2.45 million people tuned in to the Irish-Vols best-of-three series.

All three games – with Sunday’s decisive Game 3 drawing 916,000 viewers according to showbuzzdaily.com – commanded an audience of roughly 750,000 viewers or larger.

Jarrett, of course, was glad for his front-row seat.

“I was watching them jump over the railings,” Jarrett said. “They were coming from every angle to get out of the dugout onto the field and dog pile. And I was the most relaxed I think I'd ever been to watch those guys go enjoy that.”

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With Jack Findlay so effective and versatile out of the Irish bullpen last weekend, veteran southpaw Aiden Tyrell did not make an appearance in the Super Regional stunner.

Nonetheless, Tyrell – a team captain with 56 career appearances for Notre Dame – is ready this weekend and could be called upon in a variety of situations, according to Jarrett.

“It just is another club in the bag; we didn’t have to hit the Tyrell club,” Jarrett said of holding out Tyrell against Tennessee. “To think that you’d get through it and not, as we felt our way through it, that (Vols) lineup, it felt like maybe the righties with a slider were a better option. And Findlay’s got, he pitches off the fastball. Where sometimes AT can mix a fastball and has to go to the secondary stuff. When we just went to some other clubs, but that guy was absolutely ready to go. Was it going to be the sixth, seventh, eighth … that was a good club we had left in the bag.

“So I would have never thought we would have gotten through without him, but we did and maybe that just allows him to just have a little more recovery and not the taxation of what it’s like when you throw 20 pitches in that setting.”

Tyrell was effective in last year’s postseason run, and he’s posted a career 3.63 ERA with a 10-3 ledger and five saves. 

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