Notre Dame to resume ACC play, take on Florida State
Ryan Klaus | Friday, April 1, 2016
No. 20 Notre Dame returns to action this weekend when it welcomes No. 8 Florida State for a three-game weekend conference series.
The Irish (25-5, 4-2 ACC) are coming off a 5-0 midweek victory over IPFW. Junior pitcher Rachel Nasland won her ninth game of the season after pitching three scoreless innings and senior third baseman Michaela Arizmendi led the way for the Irish offensively with a home run and two RBIs. The game was called in top of the seventh inning due to a thunderstorm, and with the victory, the Irish extended their home non-conference winning streak to 16.
Nasland’s nine wins ranks second on the team behind only senior Allie Rhodes, who has 11. Nasland does, however, lead the team with a 1.42 ERA and has accumulated 60 strikeouts on the season. Rhodes leads the team with 93 punch outs.
The games against the Seminoles (26-3, 6-0 ACC) will be Notre Dame’s first conference tilts since last weekend’s three-game series against Syracuse. Against the Orange (16-15, 3-6), the Irish won one of three games. The loss to the Orange snapped Notre Dame’s 19-game winning streak.
“Of course, I feel like every conference game is important,” Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said. “Right now my big thing is playing good, strong, solid, consistent softball.”
Florida State’s previous action against Central Florida was postponed due to weather and the Seminoles’ last games were against North Carolina last weekend. Florida State swept the weekend series against the Tar Heels and has not lost a game since February.
“[It’s important we] have great at-bats and make sure we’re hitting pitches we want to hit and not getting caught up in their pitchers game,” Gumpf said. “They’re a very good team, they make things happen, and we really have to focus on what we’re doing and not so much what they’re doing. If we focus on what we’re doing we’re going to be just fine.”
Against Florida State, Notre Dame will look for continued production from the Wester sisters. Junior centerfielder Karley Wester and freshman second baseman Ali Wester currently lead the team in batting average, at .461 and .436 respectively. The pair also lead the Irish in hits at 53 and 44, and Karley Wester recently became the youngest Irish player to reach 200 hits. Karley Wester also leads the team with 27 stolen bases on 30 attempts this year; Ali Wester is a prefect 14-of-14 on stolen base attempts.
The weekend series is set to begin Saturday at 1 p.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium. The first game will be followed by a second matchup at 3 p.m. The series will culminate with a game at noon Sunday.