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Notre Dame Baseball

Statement delivered: Notre Dame stamps CWS arrival with dominant win

June 17, 2022
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OMAHA, Neb. – Trash the lucky label.

Junk the underdog story.

This Notre Dame team? It’s good. Damn good.

And it showed as much Friday night in its first College World Series appearance in two decades.

Backed by the stellar combo-pitching of starter John Michael Bertrand, reliever Alex Rao and ever-poised freshman closer Jack Findlay, Notre Dame scored first and led wire-to-wire in its 7-3 win against 38-time CWS participant Texas.

“I was able to go fastball to both sides of the plate, with a cutter in to the righties,” Bertrand said. “That’s a good lineup.”

It was the first time all season the Longhorns (47-21) were held without an extra-base hit.

“He can really pitch to both sides of the plate,” Jarrett said of Bertrand. “When a pitcher can do that with a fastball alone, and he’s got some feel, what it looks like to him, so we’re talking going to both sides of the plate, he’ll almost run that thing a little further away if he thinks that’s the answer.”

The Irish face Oklahoma, which throttled Texas A&M in Friday’s CWS opener, Sunday night at 7 ET (ESPN2). The Sooners were announced late Friday night as the home team in Sunday’s contest.

Six days after he endured the loss in Game 2 of the Knoxville Super Regional at Tennessee, Bertrand worked into the sixth inning, scattering six hits, allowing three runs and striking out four. Rao and Findlay worked a combined 3.2 innings of hitless relief, with four strikeouts.

A postseason bullpen sensation for the Fighting Irish (41-15), Findlay fanned two and didn’t allow a base runner in 2.1 innings to close out the CWS-opening win for Notre Dame. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound left-hander from Ledgewood, N.J., now has worked 13 postseason innings for the Irish, having yielded just one run; he’s notched four saves and earned the win in the decisive game against the Vols that vaulted Notre Dame to Omaha.

Jared Miller opened the game’s scoring with a top-of-the-first, opposite-field home run off the roof on the Irish’s bullpen. Carter Putz doubled the lead with a RBI-groundout in the third before Notre Dame put the game out of reach in its fourth- and fifth-inning trips to the plate.

“When you come out of the corners in the boxing match and you can land the first blow, that’s really a good feeling,” Jarrett said. “It happened last Friday night (at Tennessee), and it happened a bunch...

“It just gives you the momentum and the mojo.”

Jack Brannigan scored a run in the fourth when he dived into home plate, narrowly avoiding the tag with his right hand – a ruling made only after an instant replay challenge from the Irish prompted the on-field call of an out to be overturned.

“The one at the plate, to me, it looked very difficult to overturn,” said Texas coach David Pierce. “Just couldn’t see where they had enough or conclusive evidence to change the call.”

Zack Prajzner singled in a run in the fifth and scored on Spencer Myers’s single; Brannigan also scored on Tristan Stevens’ balk – which came before Stevens had thrown a single pitch in relief of losing Horns starter Pete Hansen.

“They deserved to win,” Pierce said. “I thought they were better than us tonight.”

2022 NCAA Men's Baseball College World Series T-Shirt

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Statement delivered: Notre Dame stamps CWS arrival with dominant win

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