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ND Softball

ND stymies Spartans

| Wednesday, April 2, 2014

After falling behind early, the Irish took control of Wednesday’s contest against Michigan State, winning 11-4.

Sophomore first baseman Micaela Arizmendi  rounds second base last night against Michigan State. Arizmendi had two hits, including a homerun, and three RBIs in the Irish victory.Emily McConville | The Observer

Junior third baseman Katey Haus rounds second base last night against Michigan State.

The Spartans (8-20, 1-4 Big East) controlled the game early when freshman catcher Lindsey Besson hit a three-run homer to left field to give Michigan State a 3-0 lead. The Irish were unable to get their offense started until the bottom of the second when senior shortstop Chloe Saganowich hit a single to right field to bring in sophomore designated hitter Casey Africano and junior catcher Cassidy Whidden.

“It is no fun to get down early, and it’s tough,” Irish coach Deanna Gumpf said. “It’s not an easy thing, so I’m really proud of the way we came back and started hitting the ball really well in the second inning. I knew once we scored in the second inning we would be just fine, and as we started getting good outs I liked our level of play. We had a lot of energy and we stayed there.”

Gumpf said she was especially proud of her team for the number of hits its was able to get from the second inning on.

“I think the girls are seeing the ball really well,” Gumpf said. “They’re comfortable with the bat. Generally we keep them in the same area [in the lineup] and they’re okay there. They’re doing a nice job.”

Saganowich said the Irish proved they were ready to finally hit the field.

“I thought we were really ready to play games at this point, having so many cancelled,” Sagonowich said. “We did a really good job of manufacturing runs.”

The Irish offense continued to gain momentum in the bottom of the third. With two on base, junior third baseman Katey Haus laid down a sacrifice bunt to move junior second baseman Jenna Simon and junior center fielder Emilee Koerner into scoring position. A long single from sophomore first baseman Micaela Arizmendi brought Simon in and tied the game at 3-3.

Whidden knocked in Koerner with a sacrifice fly to give the Irish their first lead of the game.

A ground ball up the middle by Africano put her on first and sent Arizmendi to second. Saganowich then sent a long ball over the centerfield fence for a three-run homerun, scoring Whidden and Africano and bringing the score to 7-3.

In the top of the fourth, the Irish sent freshman pitcher Rachel Nasland in to relieve sophomore pitcher Allie Rhodes. Nasland gave up one hit to the Spartans, but the Irish got three quick outs to shut out the top of the inning.

The Irish added another three runs in the fourth after a sacrifice fly by Koerner plated Simon and a two-run home run by Arizmandi brought home Haus. Haus extended the lead in the fifth with an RBI single.

The Irish kept their lead and shut out the Spartans through the seventh inning to take the win.

Gumpf said she was proud of the way her team played on defense.

“We didn’t strike a lot of people out today, and we do typically,” Gumpf said. “Not getting those strikeouts, there’s a lot of balls in play. And I think with the amount of balls in play we had a good defense. That was a good strength of ours today.”

Saganowich said she was proud of the way her team was able to keep scoring after getting down early.

“We made sure we were scoring every inning after that, which results in a win,” Saganowich said.

The Irish are back in action when they visit DePaul for a matchup at 6 p.m. Friday.

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