Notre Dame just didn’t look like Notre Dame in loss to Texas A&M

OMAHA, Neb. – Now what?

Once the Notre Dame baseball team saw its season end, and it ended late Tuesday afternoon rather quietly in a College World Series elimination game loss to No. 5 seed Texas A&M, it’s the only question about this team, this program, worth asking.

It’s not about why the Irish bats stayed so quiet Tuesday (five hits) or the defense was shaky (two errors) or how the pitching again didn’t deliver or why the Irish looked for a second straight CWS game like nothing we’ve come to know and expect and demand. Didn’t look like it two days earlier against Oklahoma, didn’t look like it Tuesday against Texas A&M.

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You could roll through a laundry list of reasons – trying too hard to make something happen, never getting in a groove, playing teams that were getting hot and just better at the right time – and no answer would really suffice.

Season’s over.

Jun 21, 2022;  Omaha, NE, USA;  Notre Dame Fighting Irish second baseman Jared Miller (16) hits a single against the Texas A&M Aggies during the seventh inning at Charles Schwab Field.  Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Irish veterans Brooks Coetzee and Jared Miller tried to offer their answers as to why this season stumbled down the stretch. They tried their best to put their words behind it, but explanations after this one, after the last one, never comes easily.

“That’s just a tough question,” Miller said. “I do not know. I think we were ready to play. I think we gave it everything we got. It just wasn’t in the cards today. ”

“We emptied the tank,” said Coetzee, who accounted for Notre Dame’s only run with an eighth-inning home run that gave Irish fans in the stands a quick belief that a comeback might be in the cards.

Jun 21, 2022;  Omaha, NE, USA;  Notre Dame Fighting Irish right fielder Brooks Coetzee (42) celebrates a home run with center fielder Spencer Myers (2) against the Texas A&M Aggies in the eighth inning at Charles Schwab Field.  Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

When shortstop Zach Prajzner popped out to close the curtain on a 41-17 season that saw Notre Dame win regional and super-regional titles, all the Irish could do was stand at the rail of the third-base dugout and stare as the Aggies celebrated the chance to extend their season another day. The Irish thought that should be them out there on Charles Schwab Field. They came here not happy to be here for the first time in 20 seasons. They came here to dance and dogpile and raise a national championship banner sometime next week.

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