ND drops three out of four at Tiger Invitational
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, February 16, 2015
After splitting their first two games over the weekend, the No. 19 Irish closed out their time at the Tiger Invitational in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by dropping games against Hofstra and No. 16 LSU.
The weekend’s first game, a matchup against Central Arkansas, featured an offensive explosion for the Irish (5-4), as they cruised to a 4-1 victory despite being outhit, 7-6. Senior infielder Jenna Simon was perfect at the plate, going four-for-four with two runs scored and an RBI against the Bears (6-5). Junior infielder Micaela Arizmendi was also strong at the plate throughout the two games, going three-for-six with an RBI double and a solo home run. Junior Allie Rhodes went the distance on the mound, pitching a complete game of seven innings with five strikeouts and only one earned run allowed.
The Irish faced a tougher test in the second game of the day, in which they faced LSU. Sophomore right-hander Rachel Nasland was solid on the mound, shaking off a three-run first inning to shut out the Tigers over the rest of the night. Arizmendi and junior designated hitter Casey Africano each added an RBI to make it close, but in the end the Irish were unable to crack Tiger freshman pitcher Carley Hoover, who only allowed two runs over five innings to pick up the 3-2 victory.
The second day of games Sunday was a matter of missed opportunities for the Irish, as they were unable to hang on against either Hofstra (2-3) or LSU (10-0).
Hofstra jumped out to an early lead in the first inning against the Irish, blasting a three-run home run off Irish freshman starter Katie Beriont. That was the last run Hofstra would score, as the Irish made a call to the bullpen for Nasland. Against Hofstra, Nasland once again was strong on the mound with six innings of no-hit ball and six strikeouts. Arizmendi and senior catcher Cassidy Whidden were hit by pitches in back-to-back at-bats while the bases were loaded, cutting the deficit down to 3-2. However, the best chance for the Irish to take the lead ended there, as Hofstra reliever Taylor Pirone snagged a hard line drive hit by Irish senior infielder Katey Haus out of the air before tossing the ball to first to double up Whidden to end the inning. From there, Hofstra would hang on to win 3-2.
Against LSU, the Irish once again staked out a quick 1-0 lead when Arizmendi drove sophomore outfielder Karley Wester home on a sacrifice fly. Nasland was once more strong on the mound, holding the Tigers scoreless through four innings. However, the LSU offense woke up in the fifth inning by jumping on Irish reliever Allie Rhodes for three runs, and eventually ended the frame with a 4-1 lead. From there, the Tigers were never threatened, adding on three more runs later to make their victory by a comfortable six-run margin.
The Irish return to the diamond Thursday in Cathedral City, California, where they face Tennessee in the Mary Nutter Classic. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m.