CHARLOTTE — After leading the third-ranked Irish to the Atlantic Division Championship and the No. 1 overall seed in the ACC Championship, head coach Link Jarrett was named ACC Coach of the Year Monday morning. It is Jarrett’s third coach of the year honor as he was a two-time SoCon Coach of the Year while at UNC Greensboro. He was also a two time Assistant Coach of the Year while at Auburn and East Carolina. He is the first Irish coach to win conference coach of the year honors since Paul Mainieri in 2001.
Jarrett guided the Irish to their best ever finish since joining the ACC and won their first ACC division title in program history. They led the league with 10 conference series wins, including three sweeps, and finished the year with 25 conference wins. It tied for the most conference wins in a single season in program history. The Irish also had 25 conference wins in the 1990 season when they were in the Mid-Western Collegiate Conference.
The Irish were a model of consistency under Jarrett this season, ending the regular season with the best fielding percentage in the country with just 21 errors in 39 games (0.986). The Irish also did not lose back-to-back games all season and have not lost back to back games at all in coach Jarrett’s tenure (52 games).
The conference also announced the rest of the postseason awards and the top-seeded Irish were well represented. Left-handed pitcher John Michael Bertrand and infielder Niko Kavadas were named to the first team All-ACC while right-handed pitcher Tanner Kohlhepp and designated hitter Carter Putz earned second team honors.
Bertrand was the steady force in the rotation for the Irish all season long. He led the team with 74.2 innings pitched, two complete games and tied for the team lead in wins with seven. He tied for the ACC lead with two complete games and seven wins while ranking second in the conference in ERA with 2.77. He finished eighth in the ACC in innings pitched yet he was the only pitcher in the top-10 that had only played in 11 games.
Kavadas was one of the best power hitters in the country this season and could change a game with a single swing of his bat. He led the team with 16 home runs and 49 RBI while slugging .727. He is fourth in the ACC in home runs and RBI while ranking third in slugging percentage. The 16 home runs is the most in a single season by an Irish player since 1999 when Brant Ust hit 17 that season. Kavadas currently sits third all-time in program history with 40 career home runs.
Kohlhepp has been a game changer out of the bullpen for the Irish, pitching multiple high leverage innings all season long. He is tied for the team in wins (7) and strikeouts (57) while trailing only Bertrand in innings pitched with 52.2. Kohlhepp leads the ACC with a conference-best 2.56 ERA among qualified pitchers. He is also second in the conference in opponent batting average with a .187 mark.
Putz has been the most consistent hitter in the Irish lineup all season. He leads the team with a .316 average, 49 hits and three triples on the season. He ranks second on the squad in runs (32) and RBI (34).
The Irish will be back in action Wednesday afternoon for their first pool play game of the ACC Championship. The top-seeded Irish will face off with the 12-seed Virginia Tech at 3 p.m. ET. The game will be aired on RSN and the ACC Network Extra. Check your local listings for the RSN channel in your area.