Irish win seven of eight during spring break action
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Over spring break, the Irish played a total of eight games.
Notre Dame’s record in those games: 7-1, including a 4-1 start to ACC play that featured a sweep of Louisville on the road.
The Irish (19-8, 4-1 ACC) started their road trip with their first ACC series of the year against North Carolina State on March 10. In the first game of the day’s doubleheader, the Irish bombarded the Wolfpack (15-11, 3-5 ACC) with 17 hits and 15 runs. On the mound, freshman right-hander Alexis Holloway pitched a no-hitter in the first conference game of her collegiate career, as Notre Dame won 15-0.
The second game against the Wolfpack saw the Irish bats slow down, and North Carolina State took a 4-1 victory to split the series, as the rubber match scheduled for March 11 was cancelled due to weather with no makeup game expected.
After facing North Carolina State, Notre Dame traveled to Jacksonville, Florida, to face nonconference foes North Florida and Jacksonville. In a trio of low scoring games, the Irish escaped from Florida undefeated.
On March 13, the Irish played a doubleheader versus North Florida (18-14, 0-0 Atlantic Sun). Holloway was dominant again in the day’s first game, going the full seven innings and allowing just one hit with 10 strikeouts. The Irish offense, however, also struggled, and the game remained scoreless going into the sixth inning. But the Irish played small ball, with a pair of bunts and sacrifice flies plating two for Notre Dame in the frame. The road team then added two insurance runs in the seventh to secure the 4-0 win.
The nightcap was a little closer — the Ospreys did manage seven hits but only one run — as Notre Dame took home another 3-1 victory thanks to RBIs from sophomore right fielder Alexis Bazos and junior designated player Ali Wester. Wester, coming back from an injury, went 5-7 at the plate with two RBIs and two runs scored over the course of the day.
On March 14, Notre Dame beat Jacksonville (16-13, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) 3-1 and moved on to face Louisville (20-8, 0-3 ACC) in another conference series this past weekend.
On Friday, Notre Dame took a 10-3 victory thanks to a six-run third inning. In the pivotal frame, Wester started the rally with a leadoff double and crossed the plate on a single by freshman center fielder Abby Sweet. Junior left fielder Cait Brooks singled and junior third baseman Melissa Rochford was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Then, sophomore second baseman Katie Marino, junior first baseman MK Bonamy and sophomore catcher Madison Heide all notched run-scoring singles. A double steal allowed Bonamy to score Notre Dame’s final run of the inning.
Up 6-0, the Irish cruised to a 10-3 win thanks to some insurance runs in later frames and a complete game from Holloway.
The second game of the series was more of a pitcher’s duel, but Notre Dame still found a way to win and came out on top Saturday by a score of 3-1.
Wester started the Irish scoring with a two-run single in the top of the second inning. Thanks to a strong outing from senior left-handed pitcher Katie Beriont, the game remained 2-0 through five innings. The Irish added an insurance run on a sacrifice fly by Marino in the sixth inning, and though Beriont would allow a run to come home in the bottom of the frame, Holloway came in for the bottom of the seventh and closed out the game to cement the 3-1 victory and the series win.
On Sunday, the Irish went for the series sweep and got it with a 7-2 comeback win.
Notre Dame got off to a rocky start, as Holloway let up a home run and a triple to give Louisville a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Irish fought back, however, and loaded the bases in the top of the third. Brooks hit a sacrifice fly and Rochford knocked a two-run single to center field to give Notre Dame a 3-2 lead.
The first two Cardinal runs would be the only ones of the game for the home team. Holloway pitched five more innings of scoreless softball, and Beriont game into the game in the seventh to close it out for the Irish. Notre Dame added a few insurance runs along the way to clinch the 7-2 win.
After the trip, Holloway improved her record to 13-4 and has an earned-run average of just 2.14 with 11 complete games in 15 starts.
Notre Dame’s next scheduled game Wednesday with Western Michigan was postponed due to the threat of inclement weather for the evening. The two teams rescheduled their matchup for April 17. As a result, the Irish will next take the field Friday at 6 p.m. for the start of a three-game series with North Carolina at Melissa Cook Stadium.