Notre Dame looks to extend win streak
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, March 22, 2016
After crushing Bowling Green 10-0 on March 17, No. 19 Notre Dame looks to build on its 18-game winning streak this week as the Irish take on a pair of rivals from the Great Lakes State.
Tuesday evening, the Irish (22-3, 3-0 ACC) face off against Eastern Michigan at Melissa Cook Stadium. Then, on Wednesday, the Irish will turn their attention to Michigan State.
The Irish are not strangers to extended winning streaks. Last year, Notre Dame won 24 consecutive games before falling to North Carolina in the last conference series of the regular season.
During this year’s winning streak, the Irish have been firing on all cylinders. The Irish are batting .356 as a team this season, while holding their opponents to an average of .221.
Leading the way for the Irish offensively are freshman third baseman Melissa Rochford and junior outfielder Karley Wester. Rochford leads the team in batting average (.471), RBIs (29) and walks (12) and was named the ACC player of the week last week. The only other Notre Dame freshman to earn that honor in team history is Wester.
Wester, meanwhile, leads the team in hits, with 46, and runs, with 33. Wester also leads the team with 22 stolen bases on 24 attempts. Wester’s offensive success comes as no surprise, however. The California native led the ACC in hits both her freshman and sophomore seasons and is the youngest Irish player to reach 200 career hits, a mark she accomplished March 6 against Stony Brook. Rochford and Wester are currently ranked 23rd and 27th in the nation in batting average, respectively.
On the mound, Notre Dame boasts two pitchers with seven wins or more. Senior Allie Rhodes has a 10-2 record on the year and junior Rachel Nasland is not far behind with an undefeated record of 7-0. Rhodes, Nasland and sophomore Katie Beriont all enter Tuesday’s game with ERAs at 2.50 or lower.
The Eagles (9-14, 0-0 MAC) enter Tuesday’s game looking to right the ship after a three-game losing streak before they enter conference play over the weekend. Eastern Michigan has played the Irish 19 times before Tuesday’s contest, with Notre Dame holding a 17-2 series advantage. A victory for the Eagles would mark their first win against the Irish since 2007 and their first win against a ranked opponent since 2009.
Senior first baseman Abi Clark leads the Eagles’ offense, batting .404 and tallying 23 hits thus far this season. Junior outfielder Michelle Kriegshauser has also been a contributor for Eastern Michigan this year and leads the team with 16 RBIs.
The Eagles have only fielded three pitchers so far this season with freshman Nicolle Miranda leading the team with a 4-8 record in 12 starts. To complement the California native, sophomore Trisha Trujillo and junior Abbie Minsker have each pitched over 30 innings and hold ERAs of 7.77 and 7.00 respectively.
Tuesday’s game against Eastern Michigan will begin at 5 p.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium.