Old friends Martin Jr., Jarrett face off this weekend

The Florida State baseball team’s toughest challenge yet this season will come with a familiar face. Coming off a 6-3 loss to Florida on Tuesday, the Seminoles return to Tallahassee this weekend for a series against No. 16 Notre Dame and head coach Link Jarret. 

Jarret was a four-year starter at Florida State before graduating in 1994. In his first return with the Fighting Irish to Tallahassee, he has a pretty good scouting report on the ’Noles and his roommate from college: FSU coach Mike Martin Jr. The two were very close friends in their time as teammates and that friendship looks to provide a very interesting weekend series that may seem more like chess than baseball.

“It’s going to be a little weird. It was weird last year,” Martin Jr. said. “The problem is that we have a lot of the same terminologies and systems. He knows when I say something, he knows what it means. We’ve got to go into a little bit more detail with our guys, I can’t just yell out like I normally can — and he knows that he can’t either. We think very similar, we learned from the same guy, and he is a dear friend.”

Notre Dame (13-5, 2-4 ACC) is in the midst of a four-game losing streak in ACC play. The Fighting Irish were swept by No. 11 Louisville two weeks ago and lost the first game of their weekend series against Virginia Tech the past weekend before the remaining two games were cancelled due to inclement weather.

The Irish under Jarrett last year won the ACC regular season title by five games and made it to the Super Regional before being bounced out by Mississippi State. The Seminoles traveled to South Bend in 2021, where they won two out of three games against the Irish.

Florida State has developed a bit of an odd luxury recently in facing teams that are slumping. Duke came into Tallahassee last weekend having dropped their first two ACC series, and Notre Dame comes in this weekend telling a similar story. A talented roster that for one reason or the other has not been able to put it together in conference play through the first few weeks.

“Link is bringing a club that is an older group that can really play. They’ve had some really bad weather, so don’t let the 2-4 fool you. They are the same club as last year,” Martin Jr. said.

Florida State returned to Tallahassee on Wednesday after a neutral-site loss to Florida that very well could have gone the other way if it weren’t for a catch by Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford that robbed a potential three-run homer from Logan Lacey.

Martin Jr. entered that game hoping to gauge his team’s reaction to an uncomfortable situation on a neutral field.

“It was OK, it wasn’t great,” Martin Jr. said. “There were a couple of miscommunications. Which generally miscommunications are not being able to think, being sped up and flustered because of the amount of people. We missed a couple of signs.”

When asked if he felt like his team had more motivation to rebound this weekend after a loss to an in-state rival, Martin Jr. simply mentioned leaders on the team, such as Parker Messick and Reese Albert, and stated there is no real need for motivating.

Florida State will try and win its seventh straight weekend series against a Notre Dame team that is no doubt hungry for some conference wins. With some added competitive urgency between two old friends, it should be a weekend full of storied baseball. 

“We have always been two guys that have been fascinated with having muti-dimensional offenses,” Martin Jr. said. “I know Link is going to bring in a heck of a club.”

Up next: Notre Dame at FSU

Friday’s game will be streamed live at 7 p.m. on ACC Network Extra. Left-hander Parker Messick (4-1, 2.84 ERA) will be on the mound for FSU. LHP John Michael Bertrand (4-0, 2.19 ERA) is on the mound for Notre Dame.