Notre Dame hosts Toledo
Christina Kochanski | Tuesday, April 15, 2014
The No. 23/25 Irish host Toledo on Wednesday before heading to Virginia for a three-game series Friday and Saturday.
The Irish (25-9, 6-4 ACC) enter the contest having won six of their last eight games. In their most recent series, the team split two games with No. 7/8 Florida State. A third game was scheduled for Monday and would have acted as a series tiebreaker, but it was cancelled due to inclement weather.
If Notre Dame claims a victory over Toledo, Irish coach Deanna Gumpf will move to second in all-time wins in both Irish baseball and softball, passing former baseball coach Paul Mainieri with this 533rd win.
The Rockets (14-27, 5-1 Mid-American) are looking to bounce back from a loss to Akron on Sunday. The defeat was the most recent in a five-game losing streak.
Gumpf said the Rockets’ recent skid and Notre Dame’s reputation mean that Toledo will come out hard in Wednesday’s game.
“We’re going to see the very best Toledo there is,” Gumpf said. “I don’t think anyone wants to lose five in a row and any time you come to Notre Dame and beat Notre Dame, it’s one of the best wins of the year.”
Toledo’s leading pitcher, freshman Emily Anderson, holds a 2.91 ERA and 13-15 record in 28 games.
Gumpf said she emphasizes the strength of the Rockets’ batting and pitching when preparing for the matchup.
“They’ve done a great job of scoring a lot of runs against their opponents,” Gumpf said. “They have a pretty darn good pitcher who has done a great job keeping them in ball games this year.”
Against Anderson, the Irish look to junior outfielder Emilee Koerner and sophomore infielder Micaela Arizmendi to continue their work at the plate. Koerner and Arizmendi are tied for home runs this season with eight apiece. Koerner boasts a team-high 35 runs and Arizmendi has scored a leading 32 RBI.
“Offensively, Micaela Arizmendi has been hot,” Gumpf said.
Senior pitcher Laura Winter leads the Irish from the circle with a 2.29 ERA. She has won 16 of 20 games on the season and was recently picked seventh in the 2014 National Pro Fastpitch Draft.
Winter faces off against Toledo’s senior utility player Erinn Wright. Wright leads her team with 26 RBI. She is also tied with sophomore outfielder Jessica Lemieux for home runs leader with three each.
Despite the Rockets’ efforts at the plate, Toledo’s opponents have outscored them 199-161 on the season. In 34 games, the Irish have combined to outscore opponents 211-102.
After Wednesday’s game, the Irish have 13 games left in the regular season. Ten of these 13 will be played at home. Gumpf said she feels comfortable with where her team stands in this last stretch of the season.
“I think we’re right where we need to be,” Gumpf said. “We just need to take care of business from this point forward.”
After their matchup against Toledo, the Irish will travel to Charlottesville to take on the Cavaliers (6-35, 1-19 ACC). Virginia enters the contest having dropped a three-game series against Virginia Tech last season.
The Irish and the Rockets face off Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium, then head to Charlottesville, Va., for a three-game series against the Cavaliers on Friday and Saturday.