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Notre Dame baseball opens extended homestand with Georgia Tech

| Friday, April 9, 2021

The Notre Dame men’s baseball team has done nothing but win on the road so far this season, and that trend continued with last weekend’s series victory over 17th-ranked Pitt. The series win over Pitt kept Notre Dame a perfect four-for-four in road series this season. The Irish (13-5, 12-4 ACC) will now finally get an extended stay at home, starting with a top 15 matchup this weekend against No. 14 Georgia Tech (14-10, 11-7 ACC). It is the third-straight series against a ranked opponent for Head Coach Link Jarrett’s team.

Both teams are ranked as high as 12th nationally, but Notre Dame is on the rise while Georgia Tech is trending in the opposite direction. The Irish, who have not lost a series at home either, continue to climb in the national rankings. The Yellow Jackets, on the other hand, were once ranked as high as sixth in the country. They now find themselves in the 12 to 15 range, depending on the national poll. Georgia Tech has lost three of their last four games, including a series losses to Virginia and an independent loss to USC Upstate most recently April 6. Heading into the series, both teams sit in second place on their respective sides of the ACC, giving the matchup some big conference implications.

This weekend’s series, opening with the first pitch on Friday, April 9 at 5 p.m., will begin an eight-game homestand for Notre Dame. In fact, 15 of the next 19 games for the Irish will be played at Frank Eck Stadium, and they do not travel again until the weekend of April 23 when they visit Boston College.

This is a far different story than what Notre Dame has seen so far, as 12 of their first 18 games have been on the road. Three out of their four road series have been against ranked teams, and Coach Jarrett acknowledged the fight his team has shown despite a lot of adversity.

“I feel like every team we’ve played has been a top 20-type team,” he said. “I’m proud of the way we’ve played; we’ve overcome a lot to this point. We’ll continue to have to deal with some adversity I’m sure, but I’m proud of the way we go on the road.”

Georgia Tech has also been a good road team to this point, sporting a 7-2 road record while just 7-8 on their home field. The Yellow Jackets have three players with more than 30 hits on the season, led by freshman catcher Kevin Parada with 39. Freshman infielder Drew Compton and junior infielder Luke Waddell also have more than 30 hits for Georgia Tech, and the trio of Parada, Compton and Waddell each have five home runs — top records on the team. The Yellow Jackets also have an ace in redshirt junior pitcher Andy Archer, who has an ERA of just 1.86.

Notre Dame continues to be led by the quartet of senior outfielder Ryan Cole, junior infielder Carter Putz, senior infielder Jared Miller and senior infielder Niko Kavadas, all of whom are hitting over .300 this season. Kavadas leads the Irish with a whopping 11 home runs and 28 RBIs. Graduate student pitcher John Michael Bertrand, who already has one complete game to his name this season, has already pitched a team-high 41 innings for Notre Dame, with an ERA of 3.07. Graduate student pitcher Joe Sheridan will also likely take the mound for the Irish at some point this weekend.

The homestand over the next few weeks will be critical for Notre Dame as they look to intensify their pursuit of a trip to the College World Series. When asked about the possibility of being one of the eight teams to make it to Omaha, Coach Jarrett was candid about how his team approaches this goal.

“You know, we do [talk about Omaha],” Jarrett said. “Everybody has this discussion year-round, and I try not to harp on it because that’s the last thing that’s going to happen. If you don’t care of business in the game Friday, your chances of Omaha go down. So if that’s your focus, I think you’re looking way too far down the road to really be good.”

Baseball America, a renowned baseball magazine, has projected Notre Dame as one of the teams that has the chance to claim a berth in the College World Series, and they will look to solidify this position in the coming weeks on their home field. Following Friday night’s 5 p.m. start, the Irish and the Yellow Jackets will play on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Games are open to a limited number of students or can be viewed on ACC Network Extra.

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