Notre Dame cancels Western Michigan game, set to host Northwestern
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, April 18, 2018
With the season winding down, Notre Dame and Western Michigan agreed to cancel their Tuesday game and have chosen not to reschedule, meaning the Irish are next scheduled to take the field Wednesday night against Northwestern.
Tuesday night’s matchup — which was originally scheduled for March 21 in what would have been the home opener for the Irish (28-15, 11-6 ACC), but was postponed due to the threat of inclement weather at the time — was once again called off due to “unseasonably low temperatures,” according a team press release. This marks the second time a midweek game in April for the Irish was postponed or canceled due to weather complications.
After losing two of three games in a home series against Duke this past weekend, Notre Dame was looking to close out a 10-game homestand against two non-conference opponents: the Broncos (22-18, 9-6 MAC) and Wildcats (25-13, 8-5 Big Ten).
With two ACC series and two non-conference matchups remaining this season, Notre Dame will play five of its eight remaining games at home and look to improve upon its 7-6 record at Melissa Cook Stadium. Having won five of their last eight contests, including four of six ACC games, the Irish sit in a tie with Pittsburgh for third in the ACC overall and rank second in the Atlantic division behind No. 10 Florida State.
Despite struggling offensively in its last 12 games, having scored three runs or less in seven of those contests, Notre Dame has managed to maintain momentum defensively, largely due to strong contributions in the circle. Freshman right-handed pitcher Alexis Holloway has emerged as a steady performer in her debut season with a team-best 2.16 earned-run average and 16 complete games in her 25 starts. Additionally, senior left-hander Katie Beriont has started 16 games for the Irish and compiled an 11-5 record with a 2.41 earned-run average.
Notre Dame will not be off the field for long, however, as it returns to Melissa Cook Stadium on Wednesday to face the Wildcats. Northwestern will be entering the matchup coming off of a dominant sweep of then-No. 22 Ohio State, outscoring the Buckeyes by a margin of 24-8 in two mercy-rule wins. The Irish will likely face freshman right-hander Kenna Wilkey or sophomore lefty Morgan Newport in the circle for the Wildcats, as they have combined for a 21-9 record in 26 starts this season for the Wildcats, while no other Wildcats pitcher has more than six starts.
The key for the Irish, however, will be keeping the Wildcats off the board. Northwestern averages more than six runs scored per game this season and have four players batting over .300 at the plate. Junior left fielder Morgan Nelson and freshman second baseman Rachel Lewis have recorded .681 and .775 slugging percentages, respectively, and have combined for 24 home runs and 81 runs batted in, posing a lethal threat in the heart of Northwestern’s order.
First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium.