Jared Miller continues incredible postseason following return from injury
J.J. Post | Saturday, June 18, 2022
To say Jared Miller entered Notre Dame’s College World Series run at the right time is an understatement. A two-year captain and five-year starter for the Irish, Miller has, for a half-decade now, been one of the few constants on a Notre Dame team that consistently changed and developed under Link Jarrett. As the Irish geared up for the 2022 tournament, Miller remained a crucial component in the team’s success. As both a talented two-way player and an experienced leader. But following a shoulder injury against Pitt on May 14th, Miller looked potentially lost for the season. The graduate student infielder was not a lock to make another start in the Irish green.
After absence, Miller returns with a bang
Through two phases of postseason play, it seemed like Miller would be resigned to watching any progress Notre Dame made in June from the bench. Miller didn’t see action in the ACC tournament. A lone pinch-running appearance against Texas Tech marked his impact on the regional round. He did score the winning run in that appearance, but it was his only action of the Statesboro Regional.
But against Tennessee, Miller earned the green light to return to the lineup as a regular starter. He wasted no time making up for the lost time. In his first plate appearance back, the graduate student drilled a home run over the right-field fence. The home run proved indicative of both a big day for Miller and Notre Dame’s offense as a whole. The second baseman went 3-4 in his first full game of action, and the Irish amassed eight runs in the first four innings to bury the Volunteers.
Miller’s strong first game back marked the start of a torrid week for the infielder. He went on to hit .444 across the three-game series. Adding both an excellent bat to the order and a playmaking glove to the infield, Miller reminded Irish fans of his value. He became an instrumental piece in Notre Dame’s upset of the top ranked team in the country.
Miller stays hot in Omaha
Against Texas, the infielder showed no signs of slowing down his hot streak. Miller notched a pair of hits, a walk, and a hit by pitch in his five plate appearances. Most importantly, Miller’s first inning home run helped the Irish set the tone early on Friday. Given Notre Dame holds a 34-4 record in games in which they score first, Miller’s first-inning bomb could not have come at a better time for the Irish. Just like the opening game against Tennessee, Notre Dame built a quick lead and took control of the game
When asked about his electric run since his return, Miller said the stakes helped him find his groove quickly.
“I just think at this point of the season all the training you’ve done the whole entire year shows itself out on the field,” Miller said. “I missed a little bit of time but once I got back in there I just turned into compete mode. And when you get out there and there are all the fans and all the pressure you kind of just zero in. It’s just the pitcher, the ball, and you. You just want to find a barrel, and the atmosphere and adrenaline usually help out.”
Miller made his presence felt in the infield as well. Soon after his home run, the Irish were looking to get out of the second inning holding their 1-0 lead. Skyler Messinger, one of the best contact hitters on the Texas roster with a .370 average, scorched a bouncing ball just past second base. It looked to be a certain inning-extending single. Miller had other plans. Backhanding the ball out of the air, Miller jumped in the air, contorted his body and fired to first from shallow centerfield. And by a margin of milliseconds, Messinger was out.
Looking ahead, Miller stressed his confidence in the Irish squad no matter the opponent or odds.
“We know when we go out and play good baseball we can play with any team in the country,” said Miller. “We try to not pay too much attention to the outside noise. You know you’re going up against good teams every time you step out there. Our goal is to play within us, and play our game. We feel confident about that.”