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ND Softball

Historic win streak highlights ND’s season

| Friday, May 15, 2015

Heading into the 2014-2015 year, the Irish looked to build on a highly successful 2013-2014 season.

They did not disappoint.

Notre Dame finished the regular season with a record of 40-12, a conference record of 17-6 and a near-perfect 18-1 record at home in Melissa Cook Stadium.

As senior third baseman Katey Haus viewed it, the added experience transitioning from last year to this paid major dividends.

Irish senior outfielder Emilee Koerner waits for a pitch during Notre Dame’s doubleheader against Georgia Tech on March 21.Chris Collins | The Observer

Irish senior outfielder Emilee Koerner waits for a pitch during Notre Dame’s doubleheader against Georgia Tech on March 21.

“I think our experience has shown this year,” Haus said. “We know what it takes to get the job done, and we’ve made sure we’ve taken care of business.”

Haus was one of six Irish named to the ACC All-Conference first team, along with senior ACC Player of the Year and two-time All-American center fielder Emilee Koerner, sophomore All-American left fielder Karley Wester and junior All-American first baseman Micaela Arizmendi. Sophomore right-hander Rachel Nasland and freshman shortstop Morgan Reed capped off the Irish presence on the list by making the All-ACC second team.

It is the large core of successful players, as well as the length of time that they have played together, that Haus said fuels their success.

“I think a big component of our success is our team chemistry,” Haus said. “We feed off one another, and if someone is struggling, someone else is there to pick her up.”

After losing to Florida State on March 14, Notre Dame put together a streak of 24 straight victories. During that time, the Irish outscored their opponents by a staggering 204-39 margin, and at one point, were a perfect 17-0 at home.

Yet Haus said the streak barely registered on the team’s radar.

“Honestly, the streak wasn’t a huge factor for the team,” Haus said. “We always focus on taking one game at a time, regardless of what happens the game before. The team as a whole has stepped up. One through nine has gotten their jobs done, and it has really shown as the season progressed.”

Overall, the Irish have compiled an impressive season, with several key performers standing out. On the mound, Nasland went 16-7 with a 2.79 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 165.2 innings pitched, while junior lefty Allie Rhodes led the team in wins (19-5) and ERA (2.76) while also striking out 113 batters in 121.2 innings.

At the plate, two Irish broke a .400 batting average, with Wester hitting a team-high .432 and Haus coming in second with .409. Haus was also tied for the team lead in home runs with Arizmendi, each cranking out 11 over the course of the regular season. Haus and Koerner also cracked 50 RBIs on the season, with the former leading the team with 53 and the latter coming in with 50.

It has been these individual performances that fuel Haus’ confidence as the Irish head towards the rest of the playoffs.

“I think we are looking good,” Haus said. “The team is excited to get into the postseason and make things happen.”

After losing to Pittsburgh on May 7 in the ACC quarterfinals by a score of 8-1, the Irish earned the No. 16 seed in the NCAA tournament and will host Ball State on Friday at Melissa Cook Stadium.

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