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ND Softball

Six games fill schedule at Mary Nutter Classic

| Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The No. 24 Irish head to Cathedral City, Calif., to compete in the largest regular-season tournament this weekend when they compete in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.

The five-day tournament will find the Irish (6-1) facing six teams in four days, starting with Pacific and BYU tonight, UC Davis on Friday, California and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday and wrapping up with a game against No. 8 Oregon on Sunday.

Irish senior pitcher Laura Winter stands in the circle during a matchup against Purdue on Sept. 22.Zachary Llorens

Irish senior pitcher Laura Winter stands in the circle during a matchup against Purdue on Sept. 22.

Irish senior pitcher Laura Winter said focusing on the details of their game will keep the Irish going through the long string of competition.

“Using each game as momentum into the next is huge,” Winter said. “It is important to keep doing little things well. Feeding off each other will be a huge factor as well, by stringing hits together and making great defensive plays for each other.”

Junior catcher Cassidy Whidden said Notre Dame will also have to keep its focus through every game.

“Our toughest challenge will be ourselves this weekend,” Whidden said. “We play some tough teams who will challenge us offensively and defensively. The key to our success will be playing together and playing tough no matter who we play over the next four days.”

The Irish enter the tournament on a five-game winning streak, having swept all their games at the Jacksonville University Tournament last weekend, which included two games against No. 23 Louisville. In their second face-off against the Cardinals (4-5), the Irish scored seven runs in the first inning and went on to win the game 11-4.

As they head to sunny California for this weekend’s tournament, both Whidden and Winter said the Irish are looking forward to the warm environment the tournament has to offer — but are not letting it distract from their focus.

“We always look forward to getting back out on the dirt and playing the game we love,” Winter said.

Whidden said the tournament provides a national stage for Notre Dame to showcase its talent early in the season.

“We are excited to perform on a big stage,” Whidden said. “This weekend we have the opportunity to show the nation what Notre Dame softball is all about and what we are capable of doing — dominating.”

The Irish begin play at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at 1 p.m. today against Pacific in Cathedral City, Calif.

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu

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