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ND Softball: Irish host double header vs. Rutgers

Laura Coletti | Friday, April 12, 2013

After rain canceled their scheduled games against Toledo on Wednesday and Thursday, the Irish will take on Big East conference opponent Rutgers this weekend at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Notre Dame (26-10, 7-1 Big East) and  Rutgers (23-15, 6-5 Big East) will partake in the third annual Strikeout Cancer doubleheader Saturday and play one game  Sunday. 

Irish senior pitcher Brittany O’Donnell said the squad is prepared to play this weekend in spite of the recent cancellations.

“We know that Rutgers is a strong team and that they’re going to come out looking to play hard to beat us,” O’Donnell said. “We know that we have to play our best Notre Dame softball, and we’ll be fine.”

Although Notre Dame was not able to play against Toledo, the team managed to keep active and get in repetitions. The Irish practiced outside Wednesday and had hitting practice Thursday.

“I don’t think [the cancellations] affect us at all,” O’Donnell said. “[On Wednesday and Thursday], we worked on what we needed to focus on with hitting, offense and defense, and going into this weekend we’ll be strong.”

This weekend’s Strikeout Cancer initiative first took place in 2011, the first season after Irish coach Deanna Gumpf’s daughter, Tatum, was diagnosed with leukemia. Funds raised over the weekend will benefit children in South Bend and surrounding areas who have also been diagnosed with cancer.

“I think [the weekend’s events are] definitely important to us as a team just because seeing what Tatum went through with her fight makes us want to fight and play hard to represent the University and all of the cancer patients we’re playing for,” O’Donnell said. 

This weekend, as in the past, will need to be a total team effort, O’Donnell said.

“Everyone’s been doing their part,” O’Donnell said. “Not one person has been standing out, everyone’s contributing when something needs to happen. I think that’s a really good quality about a team, when not one person’s a constant star but everyone’s contributing to help win. Right now, we’re going out every game and fighting, and that’s what we’re focusing on, how to fight and hold on for not only ourselves but also our teammates.”

Notre Dame and Rutgers will square off Saturday and Sunday at noon at Melissa Cook Stadium. 

Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu