College Podcast: Notre Dame's Link Jarrett Talks All Things Irish
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, presented by Rapsodo, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy are joined by Notre Dame coach Link Jarrett to discuss his team's breakthrough 2021 season, expectations for next season and how things have changed about how Notre Dame baseball is discussed locally. Also, after the interview with Jarrett, they discuss the recent news of four teams joining a rebuilt Big 12.
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There was no better story in college baseball last season than the turnaround engineered by Jarrett and his staff at Notre Dame. A program that had only been to the postseason once since 2006 not only got back to a regional, but it also hosted a regional for the first time since 2004, and did so by winning the ACC regular-season title by four games. In the end, the Irish came up one win short of the College World Series, as they were eliminated in three games in a super regional in Starkville against eventual national champion Mississippi State.
That sets a high bar for what Notre Dame will look to accomplish in 2022, but getting back to that stage seems attainable for this group. Pitcher Tanner Kohlhepp and slugger Niko Kavadas were both drafted and began pro careers this summer, but just about everyone else is back, to be joined by an impressive recruiting class and another intriguing group of transfers.
After nearly 15 years of struggle, especially as the program moved from the Big East to the ACC, the Irish are back in the position of being one of the most relevant teams in the country heading into next season.
Among the topics discussed at length on this episode are:
- The moment when Jarrett knew that last season's team was going to be special
- Whether preseason predictions that had Notre Dame finishing at or near the bottom of the ACC motivated him and the team at all along the way
- Whether there was any part of his team's success last season that surprised him
- The unique pitching philosophy he and pitching coach Chuck Ristano employed in order to get the most out of their pitching staff
- The value for the 2022 team of having come so close to reaching the CWS before being eliminated as a way to understand exactly what it takes to compete for national titles
- Expectations for the fall and beyond given that most of last year's team returns
- How the success of the team last season has been felt in the local community
- His rooting interest in the recent football game between Notre Dame and his alma mater, Florida State