TheOsceola - Link Jarrett coaching vs. another familiar face as FSU plays at Pitt (2024)

Twenty five years ago on May 9, 1999, Florida State second baseman Marshall McDougall made NCAA history when he hit six home runs and had 16 runs batted in during a 26-2 win vs. Maryland.

It's the type of moment many fans may lie and tell their friends they were in attendance for, even though the game was on the road in College Park, Md.

Florida State head baseball coach Link Jarrett is one of only a few who can actually say he was in attendance that fateful day. Five years removed from his playing career and just beginning his coaching career as an assistant at Flagler College, Jarrett was recruited to do some color commentary on television broadcasts of some FSU baseball games that season on the Sunshine Network alongside play-by-play legend Gene Deckerhoff.

It just so happens that one of the road trips Jarrett made to broadcast games that 1999 season -- back when not all the games were broadcast in some capacity -- was that road series up at Maryland.

"To watch that unfold, the most amazing thing. To have six at-bats in a game, you don't get that very often. To have five hits or six hits...They had those hot bats and the rest is history. I happened to be there. I remember it..." Jarrett recalled. "They sent me down on the field afterwards to interview him. I think that was the first time I'd ever gone down. They're talking to me in the earpiece and I'm trying to talk to Marshall."

Another familiar face in the opposing dugout

When FSU hosted NC State last week, there were a number of very familiar faces to Jarrett in the opposing dugout.

His son, J.T., is in his first season as the Wolfpack's director of player and program development after his playing career at NC State ended in 2022. And through his son playing at NC State, Jarrett also developed a pretty close bond with NC State head coach Elliott Avent.

Now this weekend when the No. 8 Seminoles (36-10, 14-9 ACC) hit the road to play a three-game series at Pittsburgh (21-25, 6-18), Jarrett will be going up against a former teammate.

Pitt head coach Mike Bell overlapped with Jarrett for one season at FSU in 1994 when he transferred in from Pasco-Hernando Community College as a pitcher/first baseman. That season, Jarrett was a second-team All-ACC shortstop with a .282 batting average and .370 on-base percentage, while Bell posted a 3.09 ERA over 75.2 innings and a .220 average over 50 at-bats.

That 1994 FSU team made it to the College World Series and won its first game in Omaha before losing the next two to end the season with a 53-22 record.

"I don't like them and probably I don't handle it real well," Jarrett said when asked what it's like coaching against people he knows well. "Bell and I talk about everything. We came up through this as assistants."

Even beyond that, Jarrett now lives in the house Bell designed when he was FSU's pitching coach from 2012-18. Jarrett said Bell finished the house mere days before he accepted the Pitt job after the 2018 season concluded and he didn't realize until moving in when he returned to his hometown that it was Bell's old house.

"It can't go much deeper than that. Our families are very close. It's awkward, it's weird. Last week (vs. NC State) was strange. To coach when my son was playing was one of the most awkward things I've ever been through. It's kind of cool, but it's not always enjoyable," Jarrett said. "I think it's the same when you have these type of connections because the ramifications of what happens out there once you throw pitch one, somebody is going to come in first and somebody is going to come in second. That's tough. Both sides aren't going to be happy with how it goes and it's tough. That's competition and the longer you're in it, the more these things tend to happen."

Conner Whittaker set to return to the mound this weekend

After Tuesday's comeback win over Jacksonville in 11 innings, Jarrett shared the good news that starting pitcher Conner Whittaker would be returning this weekend in a limited capacity and likely out of the bullpen.

Whittaker has missed the last four weekends and this will be his first action since he started the Saturday game up at Boston College on April 6.

While Jarrett was fairly vague with the details Tuesday, he provided a bit more information in terms of what should be expected from Whittaker this weekend on Thursday afternoon before FSU hits the road.

"He's thrown two full-speed, good 25-pitch pens so you're probably at that threshold for that first time out against competition. How we do that is not always the easiest thing to figure out. How you put somebody back on that horse, because sometimes that horse is running around in the pasture and you're trying to sit the cowboy up on it. It's not always easy to line it up."

Jarrett said Tuesday he expects Whittaker to return out of the bullpen. However, he admitted Thursday that Whittaker may serve as an opener of sorts to begin Sunday's series finale.

"The game will tell us what to do," Jarrett said.

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No. 8 FSU at Pittsburgh

When: Friday, 6 p.m.; Saturday, 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: Charles L. Cost Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.

TV/Radio: ACC Network Extra (all three games)/100.7 FM in Tallahassee and

TheOsceola  -  Link Jarrett coaching vs. another familiar face as FSU plays at Pitt (2024)
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