Notre Dame takes on Texas in first game of College World Series
OMAHA , Neb. -- The 8 best teams in college baseball are in Omaha for the College World Series. This is Notre Dame baseball's first appearance in 20 years and third appearance overall.
Fans from Michiana, Texas, Mississippi and Nebraska made the trip to Omaha to cheer on the Irish.
Notre Dame will take on Texas at 7 p.m. Friday.
Defensively, the two teams are pretty evenly matched. Both gave up the fewest runs in the regionals. Both coaches are putting their ace pitchers on the mound.
Pete Hansen will pitch for Texas, John Michael Bertrand will start for the Irish.
"Bertrand will pitch. To be honest with you, from what I've looked at, with Pete Hansen, I think you're going to see similar good lefties. Good. I think there's a lot of similarities," Notre Dame Coach Link Jarrett said. "The dimensions and the way it plays, the grass, it grabs the ball. So that plays into the pitcher's hand and you have two really good ones going at it."
Coach Jarret knows the stadium well. He has been there three times – as a player, as a father watching his son play and now as the coach.
Bertrand is the older brother of Irish football player JD Bertrand, who will be in the stands.
Also in Omaha for the game is former Notre Dame baseball player Mike Rooney, who is now a college baseball analyst for ESPN.
He says the Super Regional win was huge for the sport and a step in the right direction.
“This was historic in the upset and I don't mean that sometimes that comes off as a slight to Notre Dame. Notre Dame was not Cinderella, but Tennessee was certainly Goliath. You know, it was this Tennessee team was historic 57 wins. Notre Dame had to beat them twice in Knoxville, where they're almost impossible to play. So, the game three was just a classic college baseball game. Really one of the best games, most compelling games, I've ever watched as a college baseball fan," Rooney said.
What will it take for Notre Dame to beat Texas?
"Notre Dame is a very old team. They're very skilled. They can win several different types of games. The vulnerability for Texas has been their bullpen. So, I think very much like game three of the Super Regional against Tennessee, if Notre Dame can get this game, if it's close late, I actually think Notre Dame probably has an advantage at that point," Rooney said.