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ND Softball

Irish lose to Wildcats 8-3 in final matchup of nine-game homestand

| Thursday, April 19, 2018

Notre Dame squeaked by in a game Wednesday evening against Northwestern despite inclement weather, but the Irish were unable to squeak out a win.

After Tuesday night’s game against Western Michigan was cancelled due to inclement weather, it looked like Wednesday’s game was in danger of being postponed as well.

And a 25-minute delay did Notre Dame (28-16, 11-6 ACC) no favors as the Wildcats (26-13, 8-5 Big Ten) won the contest 8-3 on the back of a four-run third inning and seven unanswered runs in the back four innings.

The Wildcats got on the board in the first inning thanks to a single, a stolen base and a fielding error.

The Irish loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but with two outs, senior designated player Sara White was unable to beat out an infield single to get an RBI.

Michelle Mehelas | The Observer

Irish center fielder swings at home plate during Notre Dame’s 8-3 loss to Northwestern on April 19 at Melissa Cook Stadium. The freshman recorded an RBI on the night.

After a one-two-three inning for Katie Beriont, the Irish gave the senior left-hander the lead in the bottom of the second inning. With one out and the bases loaded again, junior second baseman Ali Wester ripped a pitch right back up the middle to score junior first baseman MK Bonamy and sophomore right fielder Alexis Bazos.

The Wildcats found four runs in the top half of the third on a two-out rally to take a 5-2 lead, thanks to some timely hitting and a fielding error. Freshman Alexis Holloway was called on to finish the frame for the Irish.

Senior Wildcats catcher Sammy Nettling started the scoring with a single up the middle. A batter latter, senior shortstop Marissa Panko knocked a two-run single of her own and scored on the error by Irish sophomore shortstop Katie Marino, after moving to third on a passed ball.

Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said the big inning for Northwestern was tough to handle because the Irish managed to get two outs, but couldn’t close the inning.

“Well we had two outs, all we needed to do was shut the door,” Gumpf said. “Somebody had to make a big play, or somebody had to make pitches and we shut the door.”

Down three runs, the Irish were unable to mount a comeback attempt. Although neither team hit particularly well, Notre Dame’s 11 stranded baserunners prevented it from overcoming a Northwestern team that managed four of its eight runs with two outs. The Wildcats also had eight stolen bases on the evening.

Northwestern added another run in the top of the fifth inning to extend the lead to 7-2, and then one more in the sixth to make it 8-2.

Freshman center fielder Abby Sweet drove in Bazos in the bottom of the sixth to make it 8-3, but beyond that, the Irish bats weren’t able to capitalize, finishing the day with three runs on 11 baserunners.

Wildcats freshman Kenna Wilkey picked up the win on the day to move her record to 12-4 on the year. Beriont picked up the loss to move to 11-6. Beriont went 2 2/3 innings, giving up five runs, only three of them earned. Holloway went 3 and 1/3 and also gave up three earned runs, though none of the four hits she gave up were particularly well hit. Junior Cait Brooks pitched the final inning for the Irish.

Next up for the Irish is a roadtrip to Boston College over the weekend with a game scheduled for each of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Eagles (22-17, 9-5 ACC) are just a few games behind the Irish in the Atlantic division of the ACC.

After a three-game stretch with Boston College, Notre Dame has a mid-week game versus Bowling Green and a three-game homestand against Florida State to close out the regular season.

Notre Dame and Boston College are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Friday in Brighton, Massachusetts.

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About Marek Mazurek

Marek is a senior history major and is a former resident of Carroll Hall. He has lived in Mishawaka or South Bend for all 21 years of his life and covers Notre Dame football and men's basketball. He has loads of hand-eye coordination but lacks the height to be any good. Marek is also a proud esports supporter.

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