Notre Dame wins 15th straight
Benjamin Padanilam | Thursday, April 9, 2015
Notre Dame extended its winning streak to 15 games and stayed undefeated at home Wednesday night, defeating Butler 8-0 in six innings at Melissa Cook Stadium.
The Irish (29-11, 10-5 ACC) came out of the gates slow Wednesday, as the Bulldogs (15-20, 3-6 Big East) threatened to jump out to an early lead. In the first inning, Butler sophomore center fielder Brandyce Sallee had a two-out double and then advanced to third on a wild-pitch by Irish junior pitcher Allie Rhodes. Junior first baseman Alex Kotter then worked a full count and walked, but was caught stealing second to strand Sallee at third and end the top half of the inning for the Bulldogs.
On the other hand, Notre Dame had just one hit in the first two innings; Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said the offense was not taking the right approach at the plate the first time through the order.
“We were out in front and reaching on pitches [the first time through the order],” Gumpf said. “Then, we decided to start relaxing at the plate and trying to hit hard ground balls. That was the big thing for us, just relaxing and trying to hit hard ground balls.”
The results of the changed approach were seen in the bottom of the third, as the Irish blew the game wide open.
With one out, senior second baseman Jenna Simon reached base on an infield single before advancing to second on an error as sophomore left fielder Karley Wester reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Irish then attempted a double steal, and a throwing error by Butler junior catcher Riley Carter allowed Simon to come around and score the first run of the game before Irish senior center fielder Emilee Koerner hit with a two-run home run to extend the lead to 3-0.
Senior third baseman Katy Haus then hit a double, and senior catcher Cassidy Whidden knocked her in two batters later to extend the Irish lead to 4-0 before Butler junior pitcher Kristin Gutierrez was able to get out of the inning.
After a scoreless top half of the frame, Butler brought in freshman Mikeila Boroff to replace Gutierrez on the mound in the bottom of the fourth inning. Sorlie started the inning with a single, and two batters later, Wester advanced her and reached base with another single.
Later in the inning, with two outs, Haus drove both runners in with another single to extend the Irish lead to 6-0.
Rhodes then held the Bulldogs scoreless yet again in the top half of the fifth inning before junior catcher Casey Africano hit a two-out, solo home run to push the Irish lead to 7-0.
Freshman pitcher Katie Beriont came in for the Irish in the sixth to finish the game and got two quick outs before allowing a hit and a walk to put a runner in scoring position. However, she was then able to strike out the next hitter to strand the runners.
In the bottom of the inning, Irish sophomore utility player Dana Bouquet pinch hit for Wester and reached base on an error. Wester then re-entered the game as the base runner and promptly stole second. Then, with two outs, Haus singled in Wester to end the game, ending the game via the run rule.
The victory pushed Notre Dame’s win streak to 15 games, but Gumpf said that the streak has not been a factor for the team mentally as they continue to extend it.
“That’s the last thing on [our] mind,” Gumpf said. “It doesn’t matter. That’s something that I don’t even talk about. All I care about is that we are playing good, consistent softball, and the results just kind of happen when you do that.”
Notre Dame will next take the field for a three-game series against Boston College starting Saturday at Shea Field in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. They will play a double header Saturday, with the first game at 1 p.m. and the second game at 3 p.m., before playing the series finale Sunday at noon.