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ND Softball: Irish show confidence in hot start

Molly Sammon | Tuesday, March 23, 2010

After playing 21 consecutive away games to start the season, the Irish are ready to begin the second half of 2010 at Notre Dame’s Melissa Cook Stadium with a doubleheader against Eastern Michigan on Tuesday.

“I think the team is confident and more rested than we have been in the past,” Irish coach Deanna Gumpf said. “We have been able to give them a few days off to recover, but now it’s time to get back to work and focus on attacking and on improvement in our practices and in our upcoming games.”

The Irish (16-5) are riding a four-game win streak and are coming off a largely successful Spring Break trip to California where the team won eight of their nine games, including an upset over then-No. 14 Ohio State.

Eastern Michigan (6-11) hasn’t started as well as Notre Dame, but Gumpf said the Irish won’t overlook their opponent.

“I expect Eastern Michigan to be a scrappy team who will give us their very best game,” Gumpf said.

Gumpf said the focus of recent Irish practices have been to improve the team’s defense to continue to force opponents to earn the runs they score.

“At this point in the season, we are focusing on defensive situations, really trying to keep the situations fresh, and also keeping the team in pressure situations as much as possible,” Gumpf said.

In the offensive portion of the game, the Irish are coming off a 12-5 victory in their last contest against Western Michigan Thursday, and Notre Dame feels confident in its ability to perform at the plate.

“Each practice the team is getting their reps, but we also try incorporate situational hitting in every practice,” Gumpf said.

Tuesday’s games will begin at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium.