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Notre Dame baseball downs Florida State 5-3, earns first-ever ACC semifinal birth

| Thursday, May 26, 2022

Notre Dame baseball secured the first ACC semifinals trip in program history Thursday, downing Florida State 5-3.

John Michael Bertrand was in traditionally dominant form on the hill for the Irish, throwing over 100 pitches in eight innings of five-hit work. Bertrand gave up just one run in his near-complete game, striking out eight batters in the process. His performance possibly could have merited a full game on a different day. But it wasn’t surprising that head coach Link Jarrett opted to give his ace some rest. Going ahead, the graduate student hurler can be expected to be on the mound in the toughest matchups for the Irish. 

After the game, Jarrett raved about Bertrand’s performance, as well as the work of Florida State starter Parker Messick.

“You talk about two of the elite pitchers in college baseball. You saw it April 1, which was as good of a game from a pitching perspective as I’ve ever seen,” Jarrett said. “Both guys are unique — very talented, great poise. [Bertrand] was clearly in control… he really settled in. It was a well-played game.”

Notre Dame did show some late nerves in the ninth inning without Bertrand on the hill. Graduate student Austin Temple managed to register the first two outs of the final inning but struggled to finish the game off. The Seminoles loaded the bases and would drive home two of the four runs needed to complete the comeback. However, senior Alex Rao steadied the ship for the Irish and secured the final out.

Allison Thornton | The Observer
Irish lefty John Michael Bertrand fires a pitch in the 2021 NCAA Tournament South Bend Regional

Home runs lead the way

With Bertrand and Messick dueling early, it took a while for Notre Dame’s bats to come alive. But senior shortstop Zack Prajzner opened the scoring. He drove a solo home run over the left field wall to give the Irish a 1-0 lead in the third inning. 

After the Seminoles responded with a run of their own, Notre Dame kept its offensive momentum rolling through the fourth inning when Jack Zyska powered a two-run shot over the fence to restore the Irish lead.

Following some quality work by Bertrand to escape a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth, the Irish expanded their lead further. Prajzner opened up the sixth inning with a double. Senior right fielder Brooks Coetzee III blasted a two-run bomb of his own for a 5-1 lead. 

Notre Dame’s offensive firepower was mostly quelled as Florida State utilized a deep stable of four different relievers to finish off the game. The five runs off Messick, however, proved a fine cushion.

Jarrett praised the team’s mentality heading into the game following a week of preparation for a tough opponent: “We’ve talked about this all week. We sat here Saturday night and flew in from Miami and we knew once we saw the draw that we had our work cut out for us,” said Jarrett. “Can’t say enough about the competitiveness of the at-bats top to bottom… just a well-played game and a good, tough win.”

With the win, the Irish will now move on to face fifth-seeded Virginia Friday morning. Notre Dame will wrap up pool play with a spot in the semifinals already secured. First pitch will come at 11 a.m. EST. 

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