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Notre Dame Baseball

Notre Dame Baseball

Notre Dame Baseball

Notre Dame Baseball poured out all over the field during Saturday’s game against Elizabethtown. The game went to double-extra innings before Notre Dame finally won the close game 12-8. It was the Irish's first victory of the season.

SEASON

Notre Dame baseball began in 1892. The Fighting Irish’s first game was against Michigan on April 21, in which they won 6 – 4. They did not have a season in 1893. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

In 1934, Clarence Jack Kline became the school’s 15th coach for 42 seasons. He retired in 1975 at the age of 81, coaching more than 1,000 games and winning 558. He led the team to the College World Series in 1957. He was voted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968. The former Cartier Field was renamed Jack Kline FIeld in 1975. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

Moving to Notre Dame in 1995, Paul Mainieri turned the Fighting Irish into a perennial postseason contender winning the Big East tournament a record 5 straight seasons, making the NCAA Tournament 9 out of 12 seasons, and leading the Irish to one College World Series appearance in 2002. He won the 2001 and 2002 Big East Coach of the Year award. In total, Mainieri posted a .714 winning percentage going 533–213–3 in 12 seasons. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

During the 2021 season, Notre Dame finished with a record of 33-11 (25-10) (.755) and won the ACC Atlantic Division. Notre Dame was selected to host regionals for the first time since 2004. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

This space is primarily used for pitching, hitting, and catching, while the team uses the Loftus Center for defensive fundamentals and base running. Additionally, the playing surface of the Jake Kline field received an upgrade before the 2014 season. The surface transitioned from natural grass to the artificial surface FieldTurf, which covers the entire field. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

The Coach Pat Murphy Locker Room was added after the 2010 season. The locker room is located within Notre Dame’s Frank Eck Baseball Stadium and was included in the first major renovation endeavor since the stadium’s construction in 1994. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

Notre Dame made a statement last season with an ACC regular season title and super regional berth. Can the Irish emulate that in ’22? (Source: d1baseball.com)

The trick in program building is taking that first taste of success and turning it into sustained success over the long haul. It will take some time for Notre Dame and coach Link Jarrett to prove that out in South Bend, but at the very least, after really only losing two key pieces from last season in slugging first baseman Niko Kavadas and righthander Tanner Kohlhepp, the Irish are in position to be just as good in 2022. (Source: www.baseballamerica.com)

There’s no doubt that having a Kavadas-centric offense worked. The proof is in the pudding with how good the Irish were last season. But even if other effective run producers exist in the lineup next season, it’s extremely unlikely that a slugger as productive as Kavadas emerges, simply because he was one of the best handful of sluggers in the country in 2021. And that might mean that the Irish score runs a little bit differently moving forward. (Source: www.baseballamerica.com)

Fifth-year senior center fielder Spencer Myers would seem to be the key to a more speed-based Irish offense in 2022. He led the team in steals last season with 15, and if he really gets going, he has a chance to do much more damage. During the shortened 2020 season, for example, he had 15 stolen bases in just 12 games while getting on base at a .492 clip. (Source: www.baseballamerica.com The outfield should be a particular strength for the Irish. Myers will return to center field. He hit .295 with a .370 on-base percentage last season after getting off to a slow start. He had at least one hit in 22 of the Irish’s final 23 games, including five total hits in the Starkville Super Regional. (Source:www.baseballamerica.com))

Also back to man the outfield corners are fifth-year senior Ryan Cole and fourth-year junior Brooks Coetzee. Cole had a breakout campaign in 2021. After hitting zero home runs in his first three seasons on campus, he hit nine last season, good for second on the team, and he led the team in hitting at .336. Coetzee had a similar breakout experience in his first season as a full-time player, hitting .274 with six homers and 11 stolen bases. (Source: www.baseballamerica.com)

Third-year sophomore third baseman Jack Brannigan might have as high a ceiling as anyone among Notre Dame position players. He was solid last season, hitting .295 with 12 doubles and six homers, and this summer he followed that up by hitting .282 in the Cape Cod League. (Source: www.baseballamerica.com You couldn’t blame Jarrett and Ristano for approaching building a pitching staff the same way as last season given the results, but with some newfound depth, it won’t be a surprise to see many more pitchers getting a shot at important innings next season. (Source:www.baseballamerica.com))

The same can be said for Brannigan. Using a fastball that was clocked as high as 98 mph last season, he punched out seven in four innings, but had his opportunities limited due to similar consistency issues and the fact that he was also the team’s full-time third baseman. (Source: www.baseballamerica.com)

It’s unlikely that Notre Dame immediately turns into a pitching staff that stacks up strikeouts by the dozen next season, but Jarrett being so clear about it being an area he wants to address means that it’s a safe bet that improvement will be on the way. (Source: www.baseballamerica.com)

 

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