Notre Dame tops Oklahoma, Georgia over weekend
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Notre Dame traveled to Cathedral City, California, this past weekend to compete in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic and came away with two wins after five games against some of its strongest competition of the season.
The highlight of the weekend for the Irish (6-8) actually came Saturday in its final game of the event, as they beat then-No. 4 Oklahoma in a tight 5-4 game. The Sooners (9-4), now ranked ninth in the country, started off the game’s scoring with a two-out single in the bottom of the first that gave the reigning NCAA champions a 1-0 lead. Both teams traded runs over the next four innings, and the Sooners took a 4-3 lead into the top of the sixth.
In the final two frames, however, the Irish would power themselves to the lead behind home runs by sophomore first baseman Caitlyn Brooks in the sixth and freshman second baseman Katie Marino in the seventh. Senior right-handed pitcher Rachel Nasland shutout the Sooners over those final two frames to close out the victory for the Irish.
The other Irish win came in Friday’s second game of their doubleheader over No. 16 Georgia. The game featured plenty of late offense, as the Irish jumped out to a 5-1 lead through four innings before the scoring truly picked up. The Bulldogs (14-3) picked up two home runs in the top of the fifth and sixth to reclaim the lead, 7-5. But the Irish stormed right back with five runs in the top of the sixth and held that lead the rest of the way to secure a 10-7 victory.
The first three games of the weekend were not as successful for Notre Dame, however. The tournament started Thursday with a 4-3 loss to Texas, as the Longhorns (11-5) secured the win in the game’s final frame. The seventh inning featured a game-tying home run in the top of the frame by Irish senior right fielder Kimmy Sullivan, but the Longhorns won on a walk-off infield single after loading the bases against Nasland and Brooks.
The Irish suffered their worst loss of the weekend in Thursday’s second game, an 8-0 defeat to No. 24 Missouri. The Tigers (7-5) scored all eight of their runs in the game’s first four frames and held the Irish scoreless through the top of the fifth to win the game via mercy rule. It was Notre Dame’s second mercy-rule loss of the season, with the first coming against No. 7 UCLA on Feb. 12 in another 8-0 defeat.
The third and final loss of the weekend came in Friday afternoon’s game with No. 20 Arizona State. Both teams would only muster four hits apiece in the game, but the Sun Devils (12-3) were the ones who made the most of their hits, as they secured a 3-1 victory with a two-run fifth inning.
The Irish will next be in action Saturday when they travel to Kissimmee, Florida, to compete in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic, the team’s final invitational weekend of the season before it begins ACC play.