It may be too early for a big picture proclamation, but after two weekends of the 2013 season the Notre Dame baseball team has already shown signs of putting itself "back" on the national scene. The Irish has a solid opening weekend by winning games against Florida Gulf Coast and Ohio State and losing only to a very good Mercer team in Florida.
Two things happened though last weekend that gave Mik Aoki's team instant national credibility. First, the Irish swept a three-game series at Tulane - the same Tulane team that brought back a more than solid nucleus from a 38-win team that just missed the NCAA Tournament in 2012. Second, that same Florida Gulf Coast team the Irish beat swept Florida - the same Florida team that has made three straight College World Series appearances - in Gainesville.
While FGCU's road sweep may seem more impressive, Notre Dame's had more than sound merit as well. Tulane head coach Rick Jones, who took his 2001 and 2005 teams to the CWS himself, had not been swept in a home non-conference series in 16 years prior to Aoki's club using their brooms last weekend in New Orleans.
Notre Dame's recent wins have pushed the Irish up in the national rankings as well. There are at least five weekly college baseball rankings, but the weekly composite rankings combines them and adds a strength of schedule factor for an overall accurate national rank. The Irish started the season at No. 50 in that composite and check-in at No. 20 there this week.