Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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46 AUGUST 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TYLER HORKA T he call won't ever be forgotten. Not by Notre Dame fans. "To third. Brannigan goes to second for one. Miller to first, and Notre Dame with the upset of the year in college baseball!" The scene that unfolded next won't ever be forgotten either. Notre Dame baseball players hopped out of the visitor's dugout at the Tennes- see's Lindsey Nelson Stadium in a flash. They mobbed freshman pitcher Jack Findlay on the mound. His buddies from the bullpen got there in record time, too. The Fighting Irish baseball team, clad in blue and gold, celebrated one of the biggest victories in program history on a foreign field they made feel like home over the course of three days in Knoxville. "The Fighting Irish are returning to Omaha!" For just the third time ever, mind you. What Notre Dame did in dispatching the No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers in the Knox- ville Super Regional to reach the College World Series for the first time in 20 years was something college baseball fans will always remember. New Notre Dame baseball coach Shawn Stiffler included. Programs that reach the pinnacle of any sport usually aren't forced to look for a new head coach a few days later, but the Irish were placed in that peculiar position when Link Jarrett left for his alma mater, Florida State. The departure was written on the wall from the moment Mike Martin Jr. was let go at FSU on the Friday of the Knoxville Super Regional. That made Notre Dame's feat even more impressive; the Irish took down the top team in the country on the road with rumors flying that they'd soon be without their head coach. For many ballclubs, that would have been reality the very next day. Tennes- see would have taken care of business in the first two games of the three-game series, and that would have been that. Not Notre Dame. Not the team that had come so close to Omaha one year prior only to lose in three games to the eventual national champion, Missis- sippi State, in the rowdy and raucous Starkville Super Regional. Tennessee was the odds-on favorite to win it all entering the 2022 postseason. Notre Dame wasn't about to lose to the champ two years in a row, especially with the program seem- ingly headed for a seismic shift in 2023. So, the Irish put up a wall, banded to- gether and got the job done. Jarrett was very much inside that barrier. He wasn't a Seminole again just yet. "I tried to completely keep my routine and my focus and leave the other people and other questions I got as far out of it as I could," Jarrett said. "When we were in Knoxville and Florida State made that maneuver, I was getting question af- ter question on it. And I'm sitting there with these guys that are the best." Jarrett said that on the dais inside the media room at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha. Notre Dame had just been beaten by Texas A&M to eliminate the Irish from the College World Series. Notre Dame be- gan the CWS with a 7-3 win over Texas. Then the Irish lost 6-2 to Oklahoma and 5-1 to the Aggies. Just like that, it was over. Three days later, Jarrett informed his players he was leaving for Florida State. It might have seemed like it all hap- ROAD TO OMAHA The Link Jarrett era ends with Notre Dame's third-ever trip to the College World Series The Fighting Irish eclipsed the 40-win mark for the first time since 2006 en route to notching the program's third College World Series berth and their first in 20 years. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

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