Rhodes paces sweep as ND runs win streak to 23
Benjamin Padanilam | Monday, April 20, 2015
No. 25 Notre Dame continued its winning ways this weekend, sweeping a three-game series with Syracuse at Melissa Cook Stadium to extend its winning streak to 23 games.
The Irish (37-11, 16-5 ACC) used a strong performance at the plate and in the field to outscore Syracuse (17-25, 1-13 ACC) by a 29-7 margin over the three games.
Irish junior Allie Rhodes held the Orange to two runs in 12 2/3 innings on the mound for Notre Dame to pick up the win in all three games.
In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Irish cruised to a 10-1, five-inning victory. Notre Dame’s offense tallied eight hits on the day and scored in every inning of the run-rule win. Senior center fielder Emilee Koerner and junior Micaela Arizmendi led the way for the Irish in the opener; Koerner had two hits, including a solo home run in the first inning, and three RBIs, while Arizmendi had a two-run home run of her own in the first inning.
Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said she loved her team’s approach against Orange starting pitcher junior Jocelyn Cater.
“I thought that we were very aggressive on [Cater],” Gumpf said. “When she missed a pitch, we hit it. We did a great job of attacking her when she messed up, so that was perfect.”
On the mound, Rhodes picked up the complete-game win, striking out six en route to allowing just one run on six hits. Gumpf said she was happy to see Rhodes attacking the Syracuse hitters.
“She did such a great job in game one,” Gumpf said. “She just controlled hitters really well today, and she set a tone. I liked that, and I liked the way that she attacked them.”
The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader was a much closer contest. Syracuse sophomore first baseman Sydney O’Hara hit two home runs and had five RBIs in the game as the Orange held the lead on three different occasions.
Notre Dame responded each time before taking its first lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. After a three-run fifth inning to tie the game, senior third baseman Katey Haus drove in her third run of the game on an RBI double to score the winning run. Gumpf said she was proud of the way the offense continued to fight throughout the game.
“I think that three-run inning in the fifth changed the whole game,” Gumpf said. “I’m really proud of our hitters. I’m proud of the fact that we got better as the game went on. I just like our composure at the plate. They think they’re going to hit the ball, and I like that.”
On Sunday, the Irish cruised to a 12-0 victory in the series finale. Rhodes took the mound yet again for Notre Dame on Sunday and turned in what might have been her best game of the weekend, pitching a complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits and striking out seven.
“We really needed a leader,” Gumpf said. “We needed that leader [Sunday] on the mound, and [Rhodes] really was our leader this weekend. I think she controlled hitters and rarely gave up a hard-hit ball. I can’t take anything away from Syracuse because you can’t take them lightly. Although the scores may not have reflected it, that’s a good team, and they hit the ball. I’m so proud of her.”
Offensively, the Irish picked up where they left off the day before. Koerner led the team with three hits and four RBIs, while Arizmendi added three RBIs and freshman shortstop Morgan Reed drove in two more. Sophomore Kimmy Sullivan put the final touch on the game when she hit her first career home run, a pinch-hit, two-run effort in the fourth inning. Gumpf said her offense’s success came from its ability to put pressure on Syracuse’s defense.
“Our quality at-bats were on fire,” Gumpf said. “Even when we didn’t get hits, we were hitting the ball hard. That just puts their entire defense on their heels, and when you put a defense on their heels, good things will happen.”
The Irish now prepare to host non-conference rival DePaul on Tuesday, with the first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium.