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Notre Dame Baseball

In familiar spot, Irish have plenty arms available

June 20, 2022
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OMAHA, Neb. – Only the setting has changed.

Otherwise, Notre Dame facing a win-or-season-ends situation isn’t particularly all that new.

It happened little more than a week ago, in Game 3 of the Knoxville Super Regional hosted by then-No. 1 Tennessee, and it happened a year ago in Game 3 of the Starkville Super Regional hosted by eventual national champion Mississippi State.

The Fighting Irish now are 1-1 in such games under Link Jarrett entering Tuesday’s College World Series clash against No. 5 national seed Texas A&M at Omaha’s Charles Schwab Stadium, here on the strength of their come-from-behind, 7-3 Super Regional championship-win.

They’ll need a similarly resilient effort against the Aggies (43-19) in this matinee affair (2 p.m. ET/ESPN).

At least, Notre Dame has almost its entire cadre of pitchers available, with Jarrett affirming as much Sunday night shortly after his team’s 6-2 loss to Oklahoma left it relegated to the loser’s bracket of the CWS.

But the Fighting Irish plans against A&M almost certainly revolve first and foremost around the trio of veterans Liam Simon and Alex Rao as well as postseason freshman revelation Jack Findlay.

“Oh, yeah, they're all available,” Jarrett said. “Now, who makes the most sense to start? I don't know that just yet. Findlay has clearly started games. He's been so good out of the pen.”

Eight of the left-handed Findlay’s 19 appearances for the Irish in his debut campaign have come via starts; he’s also logged more than an inning of work in each of his five postseason appearances, which include four saves and a career-best five-inning, one-hit effort in the decisive win against the No. 1 Vols.

Aside from CWS Game 1 winning pitcher John Michael Bertrand, the Irish essentially have all arms at hand for the Aggies. Even, perhaps, Sunday night starter Austin Temple who threw 31 pitches in less than two innings’ work against the Sooners.

“We definitely have options,” Jarrett said. “And the way this is formatted it gives guys really a chance to freshen up out of the pen. So we're OK down there. And some of the guys that threw today would probably be able to help us, including Temple.”

Jarrett’s plans for Tuesday’s starter include in-depth meetings with ace pitching coach Chuck Ristano, and the Irish will move forward from those discussions.

“Chuck and I will get back and think this through,” Jarrett said. “And we've started a little bit on Texas A&M, but your full focus is really trying to handle the game in front of you and deal with the next one. So we'll dive into that.

“We have options. The execution has to be better regardless of who we decide to run out there.”

Notre Dame’s shoddy pitching effort against Oklahoma included allowing 12 hits, six walks, a hit batter and a fielding error that helped deliver two of the Sooners’ three unearned runs.

STILL CONFIDENT

Coming off just their second loss in eight NCAA postseason games, the Irish are vowing to quickly flush the Oklahoma defeat and pivot towards sustaining their historic season against the high-powered Aggies, who have scored 18 runs in going 1-1 in their first two CWS contests.

“We preach 1-0 every single day,” said catcher David LaManna, whose two-run homer provided Notre Dame’s only scoring against OU. “You sit on this one.

“And when we come out on Tuesday, try to go 1-0 there.”

The veteran Irish, who a year ago committed four costly errors in the Game 1 loss of the Starkville Super Regional but still forged that series to three games, should again be able to lean on their internal makeup against the Aggies.

“I think you just have to take it one game at a time,” said Carter Putz, who tied a career-high with four hits in Game 2. “I think this group is really good at that, realizing the importance of all these games late in the year.

“So we're a pretty mature group. And I know the off day tomorrow will give us time to get over it and then focus on the next task at hand, which is Texas A&M.”

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Game Day Quarter-Zip Top

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In familiar spot, Irish have plenty arms available

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