Irish complete sweep of Maryland
Christina Kochanski | Monday, April 28, 2014
The No. 21 Irish nearly shut out ACC rival Maryland in a 9-1 victory Monday at Melissa Cook Stadium in the kickoff to the Fourth Annual Strikeout Cancer Weekend.
The Irish (34-10, 13-5 ACC) were leading 8-1 at the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and the bases loaded, junior catcher Cassidy Whidden stepped up to bat against Maryland’s sophomore pitcher Madison Martin. Whidden knocked a single down the left field line, allowing junior Emilee Koerner to score and give the Irish a 9-1 lead. The run ended the game in five innings.
Koerner, junior infielder Katey Haus, and sophomore outfielder and catcher Casey Africano led the Irish with two runs apiece. Koerner and sophomore infielder Micaela Arizmendi also contributed homeruns.
Irish coach Deanna Gumpf said Arizmendi adds reliability to the hitting lineup.
“She’s seeing the ball really well,” Gumpf said. “The great thing about [Arizmendi] is she might miss once, but she won’t miss the same pitch twice.”
The Irish batters faced three different Terrapins pitchers. Redshirt freshman Brenna Nation started for Maryland (8-35, 4-16) and is charged with the loss. Nation was replaced by junior Kaitlyn Schmeiser in the third inning. Martin took over in the circle for Maryland after Arizmendi scored her homerun in the fourth.
Senior Laura Winter, who was recently named ACC Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season, almost earned a shutout. She started the game off with back-to-back strikeouts. She struck out six more batters in the four innings that the Irish held the Terrapins scoreless.
Gumpf said that Winter’s pitching improved throughout the game.
“I think Laura overthrew early, and when she overthrows, her spin isn’t as crisp,” Gumpf said. “But she got better as the game went on.”
At the top of the fifth, Maryland’s junior outfielder Erin Pronobis scored her team’s only run when junior catcher Shannon Bustillos doubled to right center field.
Wednesday’s victory completed a three-game series sweep against Maryland. The weekend continues Thursday when Western Michigan comes to Melissa Cook Stadium.
The Broncos (16-31, 7-11 MAC) enter the contest in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Their most recent defeat came at the hands of Kent State.
Despite the losses, Broncos’ sophomore Allyson Kus was named Mid-American Conference West Division Pitcher of the Weekend last week. This is the second time this season that she has earned this honor. Kus currently holds a 3.56 ERA and a 13-18 record on the season.
Gumpf said the Irish need to continue what they have been doing well, but also work on smaller details in the upcoming game.
“We want to continue to attack the pitches, because that’s working for us,” Gumpf said. “[We also need to] make sure that we’re doing the little things really, really well.”
The Irish take on the Broncos at 6 p.m. Thursday at Melissa Cook Stadium.