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ND Softball

Irish rebound from sweep against Northwestern

| Thursday, April 27, 2017

After being swept by Virginia last weekend, the Irish turned their game around to win over Northwestern, 10-2, Tuesday.

According to Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf, the three losses over the weekend resulted from not responding to the Cavaliers (21-29, 8-13 ACC) well enough.

Irish sophomore pitcher Caitlyn Brooks throws a pitch during Notre Dame's 1-0 win over Eastern Michigan on March 29 at Melissa Cook Stadium.Michael Yu | The Observer

Irish sophomore pitcher Caitlyn Brooks throws a pitch during Notre Dame’s 1-0 win over Eastern Michigan on March 29 at Melissa Cook Stadium.

“We didn’t do anything particularly well,” Gumpf said. “When you have a good ACC team that comes in, they are going to play their best softball against Notre Dame. And we didn’t, and things happened that were maybe a bit unexpected, and we didn’t respond really well. It just kind of got out of our control. When the game gets out of your control, you aren’t going to play very well and it sums up that whole weekend.”

Although the Irish (28-18, 11-10) had a tough weekend, they responded quickly during their mid-week road trip to face Northwestern (20-24, 7-9 Big 10).

“It’s funny because we have only had one mid-week road trip and that was [Tuesday],” Gumpf said. “The way that the girls responded, I couldn’t have been more proud. It’s not easy to take a slide the way we slid down and didn’t play well. To come back and just attack from the very first inning until the game ended — we never stopped attacking — showed a lot of character. It showed the team we want to be. The girls know what team they want to be and they were that team yesterday. It was really good to see.”

Right at the start of the game, senior center fielder Karley Wester singled to third base, stole second and advanced to third after a bunt by sophomore left fielder Ali Wester. A double steal brought Karley Wester in, and junior shortstop Morgan Reed walked to first. Continuing the momentum, sophomore pitcher Caitlyn Brooks hit a three-run home run to put the Irish ahead 4-0.

Putting points on the board from the start, the Irish took the rest of the game from the Wildcats.

“It started with first batter, Karley, getting on base, making things happen,” Gumpf said. “Karley and Ali just kind of deconstructed their defense a little bit. Then for [Brooks] to come in and make that huge hit, it was everything. And that was kind of how the whole game played out, it was just great momentum.”

Northwestern tried to get back in the game during the bottom of the second, but junior first baseman Sara White’s unassisted double play stopped any chances. In the third inning, White stepped up to the plate with senior right fielder Kimmy Sullivan and freshman second baseman Katie Marino on first and second. She hit a three-run home run, the second of the game, resulting in an 8-0 lead for Notre Dame.

The Wildcats responded with an infield RBI groundout in the bottom of the third, putting their first run on the board. Brooks continued to force outs in the third and fourth innings, maintaining the 8-1 Irish lead. As the fifth inning came around, the Irish took the game out of the Wildcats’ paws. Reed hit an RBI single bringing freshman pinch runner Alexis Bazos home from second, and Brooks’ double brought Reed home for a score a 10-1. Northwestern hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth, resulting in an Irish 10-2 finish in the fifth inning.

The Irish will next take on No. 24 Arkansas in a three-game series beginning Saturday at 1 p.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium.

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