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ND Softball

Irish pitchers shine in shutout win over IPFW

| Thursday, March 31, 2016

Notre Dame shut out IPFW 5-0 on Wednesday night in a game at Melissa Cook Stadium.

In the bottom of the first inning, freshman left fielder Ali Wester opened the scoring by hitting an RBI single to bring in her sister, junior center fielder Karley Wester, for a 1-0 lead. The game was then a battle of the pitchers until the bottom of the third, when freshman designated player Caitlyn Brooks hit an RBI single to bring in another run for the Irish (25-5, 4-2 ACC). The very next at-bat, senior first baseman Micaela Arizmendi hit a two-run home run to give the Irish a 4-0 lead. Karley Wester added Notre Dame’s final run when she hit an RBI groundout in the fourth inning. The game was called in the top of the seventh inning due to inclement weather, giving the Irish the win over the Mastodons (10-23, 1-2 Summit).

Karley Wester finished 2-for-4 with one RBI, Ali Wester finished 1-for-2 with one RBI, and Arizmendi finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Four Notre Dame pitchers saw action in the game, giving up a total of two hits. Junior right hander Rachel Nasland picked up the win for the Irish to improve her record to 9-0 on the year. Nasland pitched three relief innings and gave up no hits or runs while striking out four batters. Nasland came in for senior starter Allie Rhodes, who gave up only one hit and surrendered no runs. Sophomores right hander Sara White and lefty Katie Beriont finished the game for the Irish, giving up only one hit and striking out two between them.

When asked about what she thought was the turning point of the game for her team offensively, Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said she thought her batters were able to hit pitches more effectively their second time through the order.

“We just started having better at-bats,” Gumpf said. “The first time around, we swung at pitches their pitcher wanted us to swing at instead of staying in our zone and swinging at pitches we should be swinging at. That was the difference.”

Gumpf said she was impressed most by the pitching staff, who gave up only two hits on 82 pitches.

“I loved the pitching staff,” Gumpf said. “I thought the pitching staff did a great job. We were able to throw in four pitchers and I was really impressed with how they threw.”

Gumpf said she was most pleased with the overall performance of the pitching staff and her team’s defense, and that she likes the direction her team is heading.

“I liked what we brought on the mound and I thought our defense was really good,” Gumpf said. “Right now, we just have to focus on playing good, solid softball, and I think we’re getting there.”

When asked what she thought her team needs to improve most on, Gumpf responded that she thinks her team’s hitting needs some improvement and that her team needs to be more active in making things happen.

“I would say our bats,” Gumpf said. “We didn’t swing at pitches we wanted to swing at early and we kind of let things happen, and when we’re great, we make things happen and when we’re not we let things happen. So when we make things happen we’re fine.”

Gumpf said she thought that her pitchers did a good job of fooling opposing batters into swinging at pitches and thought they did a good job putting pitches in spots they wanted to.

“Our pitchers hit really good spots today,” Gumpf said. “They used their off-speed really well.”

Gumpf said after the game she talked to her team about hitting more pitches and the importance of improved hitting for this weekend.

“We talked about having better at-bats,” Gumpf said. “We talked about what we really need to focus on bringing to this weekend.”

The Irish will be back in action Saturday afternoon when they host conference rival Florida State in a three-game series at Melissa Cook Stadium.

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