Key returners, losses for the 2023 Notre Dame baseball season
SOUTH BEND — The 2023 college baseball season has arrived and Notre Dame has dreams of getting back to Omaha, Neb. for a second consecutive College World Series appearance.
To get there, the Irish will have to gel under first-year head coach Shawn Stiffler, who took over for Link Jarrett. Stiffler comes to Notre Dame from Virginia Commonwealth after Jarrett left to coach his alma mater, Florida State. Stiffler is also Notre Dame's third coach in the last five seasons.
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The Irish, picked to finish second to last in the ACC's Atlantic Division, have a strong core of returners from last year's team that finished fifth at the CWS. Their biggest challenge will be replacing valuable pitching production.
Here is a list of key returners the Irish will rely on this spring and a group of players they will need to replace:
Click here to see the full 2023 Notre Dame baseball roster.
Carter Putz, infielder, graduate senior
A 2022 team captain, Putz started all 58 of Notre Dame's games last season. He finished with a team-high 81 hits, the most by a Notre Dame player since 2013. He also added a team-high 55 runs, 48 RBI, 13 doubles, eight home runs and three triples.
Putz was especially effective in Notre Dame's NCAA Tournament run, hitting home runs in games against No. 1 Tennessee and No. 9 Texas and adding a four-hit game against Oklahoma.
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Brooks Coetzee III, outfielder, graduate senior
Coetzee III also started all 58 games for the Irish in 2022, finishing with a career-highs in hits (59), RBI (43), runs (42) and home runs (12). He also smacked eight doubles and stole six bases.
One of his homers was against No. 5 Texas A&M in the College World Series.
Zack Prajzner, infielder, graduate senior
Prajzner also started all 58 games in 2022, stretching his streak to 137 straight games leading into Friday's season-opener at Lipscomb. Prajzner set new career highs in hits (58), runs (44), RBI (35) and home runs (6).
During Notre Dame's run to Omaha, Prajzner hit a game-tying home run against No. 22 Georgia Southern in the Statesboro Regional.
Jack Zyska, outfielder, graduate senior
Zyska made 38 starts for the Irish last season, finishing with career-highs in hits (45), RBI (38), home runs (13), doubles (12) and batting average (.294). He also stole seven bases.
Two of those team-leading 13 homers came in the NCAA Tournament, one against Georgia Southern in the Statesboro Regional and another against Tennessee in the Super Regionals.
Aidan Tyrell, left-handed pitcher, graduate senior
A 2022 team captain, Tyrell made 26 appearances and five starts for Notre Dame last season. He finished with a 3.75 ERA, a 5-2 record, 37 strikeouts and two saves in 48 innings pitched.
Tyrell was most affective out of the bullpen, finishing with 14 scoreless outings out of 21 appearances.
Jack Findlay, left-handed pitcher, sophomore
A Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Freshman All-American, Findlay made 20 appearances and eight starts for the Irish last season. He finished with a 2.17 ERA, 6-2 record, four saves and 54 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings.
Findlay's ERA and saves led the team, while his nearly 50 innings pitched ranked third on the team. During the Irish postseason run, Findlay saved three-straight games at the Statesboro Regional and Knoxville Super Regional.
John Michael Bertrand, left-handed pitcher
Brother of Notre Dame linebacker JD Bertrand, John Michael finished his Irish career as one of college baseball's top arms. He was named a Second Team All-American by numerous publications, including D1Baseball and Baseball America and was picked in the 10th round (316 overall) in the 2022 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants.
Bertrand pitched eight innings over five games in the minor leagues last year.
Before that, Bertrand made a team-high 18 starts last season for Notre Dame, finishing with a 2.81 ERA, 10-3 record and team-highs in strikeouts (111, most since 2006) and innings pitched (109, most since 2013). During the NCAA Tournament, Bertrand pitched 18 2/3 innings.
Austin Temple, right-handed pitcher
Temple made 15 starts over 18 appearances for Notre Dame last season. He finished with a 3.50 ERA, 4-1 record, two saves and 87 strikeouts over 69 1/3 innings.
Undrafted, Temple pitched 10 1/3 innings in seven games in the Houston Astros organization last year.
Alex Rao, right-handed pitcher
Rao made 25 appearances for Notre Dame last season, finishing with a 3.83 ERA, 3-1 record, three saves and 54 strikeouts over 47 innings pitched. He pitched 11 2/3 innings during Notre Dame's NCAA Tournament run, earning a win during the Knoxville Super Regional.
Rao pitched three innings in the Phillies organization last year after being drafted in the 8th round (242 overall) in the 2022 MLB Draft.
Ryan Cole, outfielder
Cole started in 56 games for the Irish last season. He finished with 62 hits, 47 runs, 33 RBI, 10 doubles, nine home runs and a team-high 22 stolen bases (most since 2008). Cole had 10 hits during the Irish NCAA Tournament run.
Last August, Cole signed a pro contract with the Glacier Range Riders of the Pioneer Baseball League.
Jack Brannigan, infielder and right-handed pitcher
A Perfect Game Third Team All-American, Brannigan started 56 games at third base and also made 11 pitching appearances for the Irish last season.
Brannigan finished with 62 hits, 47 runs, 46 RBI, 15 doubles, 12 home runs and 10 stolen bases. He also struck out 28 batters and recorded two saves over 14 2/3 innings pitched.
Brannigan showed off his power during the NCAA Tournament, hitting home runs against Georgia Southern and Tennessee.
Following the season, Brannigan hit three home runs and collected 14 RBI in 100 plate appearances in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization after being selected in the third round (83rd overall) of the 2022 MLB Draft.