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ND Softball

Irish set for midweek doubleheader with Ramblers

| Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Coming off a sweep of ACC opponent Syracuse, Notre Dame will look to continue its current momentum when it hosts Loyola-Chicago for a doubleheader Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium.

After a weekend in which they outscored the Orange (18-17, 4-10 ACC) by a margin of 13 runs and only allowed two runs throughout the entire three-game sweep, the Irish (26-12, 10-4 ACC) will now welcome the Ramblers (16-16, 3-7 MVC) to campus for a mid-week doubleheader.

The Ramblers enter the pair of games having won just one of their last five contests. They were most recently swept in a two-game series with Illinois State this past weekend, as they were shutout in both games. In fact, the Ramblers have struggled offensively as of late, having only managed to score six runs in those five games.

One player who has continually found success at the plate for the Ramblers, however, is sophomore outfielder Shannon McGee. Amongst players to have started started a game for the Ramblers this season, McGee leads the team in batting average (.416), hits (42), runs (23), extra-base hits (11), runs batted in (19), slugging percentage (.594) and on-base percentage (.508). She has also only struck out five times at the dish.

Chris Collins | The Observer

Irish senior left-hander Katie Beriont delivers a pitch during Notre Dame’s 6-1 win over Eastern Michigan on March 27 at Melissa Cook Stadium.

On the other side, the Irish pitchers are coming off perhaps their best weekend of the season. Freshman right-hander Alexis Holloway pitched two complete games against the Orange over the weekend, allowing just one run in each game. She now sports a 1.99 earned-run average this season in 30 appearances and a 16-8 record. Senior left-hander Katie Beriont also had her best game of the season, throwing her first complete-game shutout against Syracuse on Sunday while only needing 65 pitches to do so. She is now 10-4 on the season with a 2.40 earned-run average.

Offensively, one player the Irish hope will find more success at the plate than she has as of late is Cait Brooks. The junior, who has served as the team’s designated player for most of the season,  played left field in both games this past Sunday and is mired in a 1-for-24 slump at the plate in her last nine games. However, Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said she thinks Brooks, who has struck out just once and walked four times during that nine-game stretch, is just experiencing some bad luck at the plate despite good at-bats.

“If you look at the quality of her at-bats, her quality at-bats were really good [Sunday],” Gumpf said Sunday. “So I wouldn’t even call it a slump because she’s putting [a] good bat on ball. It just isn’t happening for her. It happens, that’s the game. That’s softball.”

A lineup change the Irish made during Sunday’s doubleheader was removing senior shortstop Morgan Reed, who had been 0-for-9 in her previous three games and has 13 errors committed on the season, from the lineup for the day and playing sophomore Katie Marino — who usually plays second base — at short and moving junior Ali Wester from the outfield to second base. Gumpf said after Sunday’s doubleheader that she was very pleased with what she say from Marino and Wester defensively up the middle.

“I loved it. I thought they stepped up big time,” she said. “I thought they looked great.”

As far as whether or not that will be a more regular defensive alignment going forward, Gumpf said she is more than willing to play the hot hand, as she has plenty of confidence in Reed, Marino and Wester up the middle.

“It depends on how things are rolling for us,” Gumpf said Sunday. “It depends on how we’re handling things and how Morgan’s playing and how Katie’s playing and how Ali’s playing. So we’re very fortunate we’re able to do that.”

As far as preparing for the Ramblers, Gumpf said the game plan is simple. The Irish will look to take advantage of the doubleheader to continue to build on their recent momentum and prepare them for the upcoming weekend series with Duke.

“I like the fact that we’re playing two against Loyola, that’s going to really help us and prepare us for the weekend,” she said.

The Irish and Ramblers will square off for two games Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 4 p.m., while first pitch for the second contest is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m.

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About Benjamin Padanilam

Ben is a senior and The Observer’s former Editor-in-Chief, now serving as its interim Sports Editor. He is in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) and also pursuing minors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and Business Economics. He hails from Toledo, Ohio, and has enjoyed the few highs and many lows of being a Cleveland sports fan.

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