Irish go 4-0 at Florida tournament over weekend
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, March 7, 2017
The Irish defeated four opponents at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday, Notre Dame (10-8) walked away with a 6-1 win over Purdue. Within the first inning, the Irish led with a 4-0 lead with singles hit by senior outfielder Karley Wester, sophomore outfielder Ali Wester and sophomore infielder Melissa Rochford and a double hit by senior infielder Kimmy Sullivan.
Purdue (3-14) tried to gain momentum during the top of the second, but Notre Dame’s defense kept its opponent’s score at zero. In the bottom of the second, the Wester sisters loaded the bases and sophomore pitcher Caitlyn Brooks delivered a fly to bring Karley Wester in, resulting in a 5-0 lead. Freshman infielder Chelsea Purcell hit a RBI double to bring in Sullivan, making the score at 6-0 at the bottom of the fifth. Purdue scored with an RBI single during the top of the sixth, but managed no more, giving the Irish the 6-1 win.
Unlike the first game, the Irish had to come from behind to win against Florida International. With an RBI double, FIU (14-6) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Neither team added to the board in the second inning, but a double by Ali Wester and RBI single from Reed resulted in a tied game 1-1 at the top of the third.
FIU took advantage of some Irish defensive mistakes in the bottom of the sixth, resulting in a 3-1 Panthers lead. However, the Irish tied it up 3-3 in the seventh, forcing extra innings. Sullivan scored on a Karley Wester RBI, while a FIU throwing error let junior outfielder Bailey Bigler score for a 5-3 Notre Dame lead. The Irish shut out FIU at the plate in the eighth, earning them the second win of the day.
To continue the winning streak, the Irish beat Chattanooga 9-1 in their first game on Sunday. Karley Wester was walked in the leadoff spot and, three batters later, was brought home for a 1-0 lead. Notre Dame continued to put pressure on Chattanooga (6-13) with seven runs on three hits — and three Mocs errors. After a pitching change, a two-run single for sophomore catcher Maddie McCracken and a two-run Karley Wester double brought Notre Dame to an 8-0 advantage. Chattanooga was only able to add a run to the board with a homer in the bottom of the second. Within five innings, the Irish secured a 9-1 win.
Ending on a high note, Notre Dame defeated Charlotte 4-0 during the last game of the weekend. Charlotte (15-7) put two runners on base in the top of the first before senior pitcher Rachel Nasland forced a popout to shortstop and a flyout to the left field to end the inning. During the bottom of the second inning, Marino sent the ball flying for a three-run home run, bringing Brooks and Sullivan in. Karley Wester scored again in the third for a 4-0 Irish lead.
Nasland controlled the rest of the game, only allowing two baserunners during the remaining innings for the first Notre Dame shutout this season.
After wrapping up the weekend with a 4-0 record, the Irish will travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech Saturday and Sunday in the ACC opener.