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ND Softball

Notre Dame set to host Duke in Strikeout Cancer Weekend

| Friday, April 13, 2018

For the program’s eighth-annual Strikeout Cancer Weekend, Notre Dame is set to take on ACC rival Duke in a three-game series. After changing up the schedule Thursday due to the threat of inclement weather, the series is now set to open Friday before a doubleheader Saturday.

Coming off a Wednesday doubleheader against Loyola-Chicago in which they lost the first game, before winning the nightcap, the Irish (27-13, 10-4 ACC) are looking to continue their strong ACC play — they currently sit fourth in the conference overall — against a Blue Devils squad which is currently 3-11 on the road this season. Ahead of the matchup, Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said she is looking forward to a matchup against the Blue Devils (21-21, 6-9 ACC) due to their similarity to the team’s most recent opponent: the Ramblers (17-17, 3-7 MVC).

“Duke reminds me so much of [Loyola]. They’re a similar team,” she said. “They’re offensively driven and have pitchers who keep them in the ball games. … They’re very similar, so we have to figure out how to get better and how to control the game.”

Despite their doubleheader split Wednesday, the Irish are currently riding a five-game win streak in the ACC after winning their last two games against Virginia Tech on March 31 before sweeping Syracuse this past weekend. The Blue Devils enter the matchup having split their mid-week contests — losing to Charlotte in extra innings Tuesday before beating Elon on Wednesday — and lost each of their last three ACC series.

With another doubleheader scheduled for the weekend after having already played three in the last two weeks, Gumpf said she believes her team can rebound from their Wednesday night split.

“Typically, we’re really good in doubleheaders,” Gumpf said. “I like our chances in doubleheaders because we have two pitchers who have been consistently doing a great job for us.”

In addition to resuming ACC play this weekend, the Irish are also excited to host their eighth annual Strikeout Cancer Weekend, with the festivities set to begin Friday night with the annual trivia night. During their doubleheader Saturday, the Irish will wear orange — the official color of leukemia awareness — to show support for families and children suffering from cancer.

Gumpf said this weekend is particularly special because it focuses on giving back and giving multiple cancer patients a great experience.

“It’s such a great perspective about, No. 1, doing something for somebody else. It makes you feel good,” she said. “And [number toe], it’s about kids who are fighting cancer and making their days a little brighter.

“We know we can’t cure what’s going on with them, but we know we can help them. We can provide things for them to make their days better. And that’s our goal for this entire weekend.”

The Irish and Blue Devils will square off in the first game of the series Friday at Melissa Cook Stadium. First pitch for the contest is scheduled for 4 p.m. Then, the two teams will finish the series with a doubleheader Saturday, which is tentatively scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

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