Irish sweep Hokies over weekend, prepare for nonconference showdown with Broncos
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Notre Dame had a successful weekend in Blacksburg, Virginia, as the No. 20 Irish completed a three-game sweep of Virginia Tech on Saturday and Sunday.
The Irish (32-6, 9-3 ACC) began the weekend with a doubleheader against the Hokies (21-24, 10-8 ACC). In the first game on Saturday, Notre Dame stifled the Virginia Tech offense in a 3-0 victory. Senior left-hander Allie Rhodes dominated the Hokies with her complete game performance and was the winning pitcher after going all seven innings and giving up just one hit. Junior center fielder Karley Wester and sophomore left fielder Bailey Bigger had RBIs for the Irish in game one.
In the second half of the doubleheader Saturday, Notre Dame notched a 7-5 victory. The Irish were led on the mound by sophomore Katie Beriont, who threw four and two-thirds shutout innings without allowing a hit in relief of junior starter Rachel Nasland. At the plate, the Irish saw contributions from Wester, who had three RBIs, and freshman third baseman Melissa Rochford, who had a home run, two RBIs and scored a run. The Hokies offense was paced by freshman right fielder Emma Strouth’s home run and three RBIs.
Notre Dame’s series with Virginia Tech culminated Sunday afternoon in a 5-3 victory for the visitors. The Irish put on an impressive offensive display that was highlighted by 13 hits from seven different players. Wester had her third straight strong game in the leadoff spot for the Irish, and led the way with three hits and a RBI. Rochford, Bigler and seniors Micaela Arizmendi and Megan Sorlie also had multi-hit games for Notre Dame, as the Irish scored two runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings to seal the sweep. Rhodes picked up her second win of the series and 15th victory overall in six innings of work. Senior Maggie Tyler pitched the entire game for Virginia Tech, but gave up five earned runs in what was her 15th loss of the season.
Next on the docket for Notre Dame is a matchup with Western Michigan on Tuesday at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Broncos (18-19, 9-4 MAC) currently lead the West division of the MAC and are 8-3 since the turn of the calendar into the month of April.
The Irish will likely have to face Broncos senior left-handed Allyson Kus, who has been named the MAC Pitcher of the Week for the West division each of the last two weeks. She holds a 7-0 record in her last seven starts and leads the MAC with a 1.40 earned-run average in conference play, so she could pose a problem for Notre Dame’s ninth-ranked scoring offense.
First pitch between the Irish and Broncos is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Melissa Cook Stadium.