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ND Softball

Notre Dame ready to conclude regular season at Michigan State

| Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Notre Dame will wrap up its regular season with a trip to East Lansing, Michigan, to square off against Michigan State in a one-game series Tuesday afternoon.

The contest will mark the first time Notre Dame (39-12, 17-6 ACC) has played a road game since April 12, as the Irish are coming off a nine-game home stand.

Despite not playing a road contest for over two weeks, Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said she expects her team to perform well based on the high number of road and neutral-site games the squad played during the first half of the season.

Irish senior infielder Katey Haus readies for a pitch during a win over Georgia Tech on March 21 at Melissa Cook Stadium. Haus leads the Irish with 11 home runs and 51 runs batted in this season.Chris Collins | The Observer

Irish senior infielder Katey Haus readies for a pitch during a win over Georgia Tech on March 21 at Melissa Cook Stadium. Haus leads the Irish with 11 home runs and 51 runs batted in this season.

“I think we play very well on the road typically,” she said. “We played the first two months on the road, so it’s nothing new to us.”

The Irish began the year with 26 straight road and neutral site games. Their first home matchup did not come until March 18.

Tuesday’s game against Michigan State (17-33 overall, 2-19 Big Ten) will mark the 29th nonconference game the Irish have played this year. Notre Dame is 22-6 against opponents outside the ACC, and Gumpf said she believes her team is prepared for a nonconference test prior to entering the ACC conference tournament.

“I’m glad we have Michigan State before we jump into postseason tournament,” Gumpf said.

With its victory in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader against North Carolina, the Irish clinched the three seed in the ACC conference tournament, which is slated to begin next Thursday in Blacksburg, Virginia. As the third seed in the eight-team tournament, the Irish will square off against the sixth seed.

Irish sophomore outfielder Karley Wester waits on a pitch during a win against Georgia Tech on March 21 at Melissa Cook Stadium.Chris Collins | The Observer

Irish sophomore outfielder Karley Wester waits on a pitch during a win against Georgia Tech on March 21 at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Currently, that slot belongs to Pittsburgh (10-11 ACC), whom the Irish swept in a three-game road series earlier this April. However, that could change based upon games this upcoming weekend, as the fifth and seventh-placed teams, North Carolina State (13-8 ACC) and Virginia Tech (8-12 ACC), respectively, and Pittsburgh all play in three-game series against ACC opponents.

Despite Tuesday afternoon’s contest having no implication on Notre Dame’s ACC postseason positioning, Gumpf said her team will approach the game like any other.

“We’re going to treat the Michigan State game like it’s the most important game of the year,” Gumpf said.

Although the Spartans have struggled this season, losing 15 of their last 16 contests, Gumpf said Michigan State will present a challenge to the Irish offense.

“Their pitching is solid, so we’ll have to find a way to scratch across some runs against them,” Gumpf said.

Notre Dame will face off against Michigan State at Secchia Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan, with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.

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