Notre Dame visited Tallahassee this weekend for the first time as members of the ACC. Well, sorta-members. As usual our intrepid
nun reporter Bryan E. is on the job.
Game 1: ND 7, FSU 8 (12)
Your reluctant reporter, out of breath and worn out, but posting out of habit. (See what I did there?) Wow, 12 innings of grinding it out. A lot of faces I’ve never seen before mixed with the regulars for a thriller of a game. The familiar 1 run was scored in the first by Rudy, which I’m pretty sure 6 of their starting 9 are named. I see the recruiting pitch going something like this… ” I see you have red hair. Your first name starts with an R. If we offer you a 1/3 scholarship can we call you Rudy? Great. We’ll see you in South Bend.
To give credit where it’s due, though… their helmets were white.
You just don’t win games vs. the worst of opponents when you commit 5 errors. That says a lot about the team we played tonight, not an opponent. Anyone who follows these games live understands that we played WAY down to our “competition” tonight. I prefer to look at these extra inning games as a bonus for ticket holders, but those with children and other obligations may not feel the same way.
I don’t have the game notes in front of me (thanks John), but Casey Smit stands out as tonight’s MVP. 8-7 final in 12 and I predict scorched earth for the rest of the series. Notre Dame ran through at least 6 pitchers tonight.
Tomorrow’s gona be funner. Grillmaster Matt will be doing his thing and I heard rumor that Brett C. will be doing his part for the TOAD faithful. See you guys, weather permitting, around 11 tomorrow for the prelude to an Irish roshambo.
While the fielding by our boys last night was…let’s just call it ‘forgettable’…the Animals had a great time in the section. I was going to go with something related to the logo change brouhaha, but just as we started singing O Canada, the Irish 1B Bill Buckner’d a grounder, and you never pass up an opportunity to make fun of Bucker. So, the break was ‘Buckner Lives!’
If you were in attendance or were able to catch the game on ESPN3, you may have caught a glimpse of our intrepid reporter Bryan leading NOLES cheers in drag as a nun in a garnet and gold habit. The costume actually belongs to long time FSU fan and friend of the Animals, Hector. Bryan commandeered it for the cheers because hello!
Bryan had been going for a while and I decided we should play a little prank on him, so I got everyone in the section ready for the next time he was going to start a NOLES cheer. This time, however, we instead spelled HABIT and got a good laugh out of it. As Bryan continued doing his thing, several of us started singing Sound of Music songs. ‘These are a few of my Favorite Thing’s, ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria’, etc. A good time was had.
And, of course, despite some very shaky play, the team fought through it and got the win. The crowd slowly started evaporating after the 8th inning and through the remainder of the game. But those of us who stuck it out gave the guys what we had in the tank. And if there is one thing you can say about the character of this year’s team, it’s that they have no quit in them.
Saturday: Rained out
Obviously I wouldn’t comment on a rainout day, but boy was this one different. College baseball players have become well known for their rain delay antics, and on Saturday Notre Dame and FSU players treated the die-hards who stayed in the stadium through the delay to a real treat. There are a plethora of videos out there now, so I will only post one. But suffice it to say it was the most fun I have ever had in a rainout. Great job by both teams of entertaining the crowd.
On a side note, the uniforms that Notre Dame was wearing on Saturday were top-notch. Sort of a golden era throwback look with striped socks, baggy grey shirts and pants, with ‘IRISH’ written vertically down the buttons of the jerseys. Very, very sharp. I bring this up for a reason, which we’ll get to.
Games 2 & 3: ND 2, FSU 11 – ND 3, FSU 4
Your reluctant reporter with another (4 in as many weeks) double header sweep report. Let me start right there. That is four doubleheader sweeps in four weeks. I’m not a rocket surgeon, but, the odds definitely aren’t in favor of that occurring. That’s a whole lot of toughness and physical and mental conditioning that prepares a team to beat those odds, even when they sputter and slip at times.
Mike Compton got the start in the early game. 10 AM first pitch. He broke the cycle of giving up the easy run in the first and it was all Noles from there. Nogo went yard in the first to break the seal 2-0. Followed up by another round trip in a 6 run second to set the tone for a contest that was never in doubt.
The downside of that big second was the awkward step DJ Stewart took on the bag for a stand up double. He came out of the game with what is believed to just be a slight tweak. They iced it down and we hope to have him back Tuesday.
Folks slowly trickled in as the game wound down and I knew game 3 would be well attended. I feel for you folks that were out of listening range. It wasn’t full of epic moments, but there was some originality and some great one liners. The Animals were in tune and in concert. Always makes for a good time.
Bryant Holtmann got the start and went 6 full innings throwing 67 pitches, gave up 4 hits, walked two, struck out two. I’m happy with that. Stepping in for a proven starter and never missing a beat. Leibrandt is out with a shin bruise, I think, suffered in practice last week.We have a lot of talent on this team and they seem to have a very special feeling of family and can-do that just doesn’t believe in the fat lady.
The 4-3 final was representative of the wear and tear of a team playing another set of games 30 minutes apart. I’m proud of them for taking care of business on an “on call” basis day after day.
I walked into Dick Howser with the idea that I was going to hate on Notre Dame as hard as I was allowed but came away with them as my second favorite team as well as really liking the fans that I met. Their uniforms were atrocious and their coaches incredibly out of shape. Until they fully join the ACC, though, we’ll just to have own them in the sports we have them for.
I was unable to attend the first game because of daddy daycare, but John B. took care of the O Canada break. I mentioned earlier how fantastic the Notre Dame uniforms were on Saturday. As good as those were, the eye-sores they trotted out for Sunday were equally bad. They should have gotten the Saturday digs cleaned. Anyway, the break was “WORST. UNIFORMS. EVER.”
I was able to make it out for the second game. O Canada break for that game was “Partial membership sucks!”. They really should be full conference members.
I don’t generally like to discuss baseball housekeeping – I’ll leave that to the sports media – but I really think Bryant Holtmann has made a strong case for being the full time #4 starter over Peter Miller. Unfortunately, Miller has had one really good outing and a lot of meh besides. It might be time to send Miller to the pen and see if he can be more effective in relief. We have a couple more midweek games left to get Holtmann solidified before post-season. I’d like to see him given a chance to get into a groove.
Next weekend the team travels to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech. Boo Bees!