OMAHA, Neb. – The University of Notre Dame baseball team’s run at the College World Series came to a close on Tuesday afternoon after a 5-1 loss to Texas A&M in the Bracket 1 elimination game.
“The future for Notre Dame baseball is bright,” said outfielder Brooks Coetzee III. “We’re one of the best teams in the history, our group. The stuff we were able to do, the group of guys we had, everything was special.”
The Fighting Irish finished the season with a 41-17 overall record after making the program’s third trip to Omaha for the College World Series. The Irish reached the Super Regional round in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history. They eclipsed the 40-win plateau for the first time since 2006 and knocked off the No. 1 overall seed Tennessee in the Super Regionals.
“I wish we could run that same group of guys back on the field again and give it another shot,” said infielder Jared Miller. “But we’ve come a long way and it’s been a fun ride. I’m sure I’ll reflect back on it once I process this. But I wouldn’t rather be on the field with anyone else.”
Two Irish standouts on Tuesday were seniors Jared Miller and Will Mercer. Miller went 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles. Mercer came in late in relief and went 3.2 innings, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame starting pitcher Liam Simon struck out the side to kickstart the game. The Irish then worked out of trouble in the second with Aggie runners on first and second and no outs. Simon recorded all three outs once more, this time with two big strikeouts and a putout to third to catch a runner stealing.
Due to two walks and an unfortunate well-placed fly to shallow center field, the Aggies had the bases juiced with no outs in the third. Enter lefty reliever Jack Findlay who had to take on Texas A&M’s 2-3-4 hitters. The freshman recorded a four-pitch strikeout to start and got the next batter to ground to third; however, a throwing error resulted in two runs scoring. Texas A&M got one more run via a sacrifice fly as Findlay limited the damage.
Notre Dame got its first hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth via a David LaManna rip up the middle with one out. Later in the bottom of the fifth, Jared Miller hit a one-out double off the left field wall that was just a few feet shy of a home-run, but the Irish couldn’t capitalize on either.
Earlier in the top of the fifth, Texas A&M’s leadoff hitter Trevor Werner blasted a 395-foot solo shot to make it 4-0. The Aggies tacked on one more run in the inning to extend the lead to five.
After the Aggies scored twice in the fifth, they only recorded two more hits for the rest of the game, mainly thanks to Notre Dame reliever Will Mercer.
In the bottom of the eighth when Aggie pitcher Nathan Dettmer (7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 6 K) exited the game the Irish tried to rally against the bullpen. It started with a Brooks Coetzee 403-foot blast to the left-center bleachers which got the Irish on the board, marking his 12th homer of the season.
Next, the Irish received back-to-back walks to get runners on first and second with no outs, but Texas A&M got out of the jam with a strikeout and double-play. Notre Dame once again got a runner in scoring position in the ninth but the Aggies closed it out to advance