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ND Softball

Notre Dame shuts out Bowling Green to win final midweek game of season

| Wednesday, April 25, 2018

In its final nonconference matchup of the regular season Tuesday, Notre Dame took on Bowling Green, who entered the contest on a seven-game winning streak, winning each of those games by at least two runs. 

The Irish (30-18, 12-8 ACC) wasted no time getting on the board, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning. With freshman centerfielder Abby Sweet on second base after she was hit by a pitch and advanced upon sophomore second baseman Katie Marino reaching first via a walk, junior designated player Cait Brooks stepped up to the plate and singled in Sweet. Junior third baseman Melissa Rochford, the next batter, then drove in both Marino and Brooks — though she was tagged out to end the inning — with another single to give the Irish a 3-0 lead.

Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said she could tell right away in the locker room that her team was ready to go and score quickly Tuesday.

“They had a nice attack mode mentality,” she said. “ … [The] Boston College series [this past weekend] was interesting … we played, at times, not great softball, but we saw so many good things happening that I felt like we getting there. It was a good transition, and we needed today … where everything went right.”

Michelle Mehelas | The Observer

Irish freshman right-handed pitcher Alexis Holloway delivers a pitch during Notre Dame’s 8-3 loss to Northwestern on April 18 at Melissa Cook Stadium.

However, the Irish bats quickly cooled. The Falcons (25-20, 7-9 MAC) appeared to be staging a quick response in the top of the second, as freshman third baseman Sarah Gonzalez and junior designated player Kellie Natham stood on second and first base, respectively, with two outs. But Irish right-hander Alexis Holloway closed the door on the inning against the next batter to keep Bowling Green scoreless. The freshman pitched all seven innings, shutting out the Falcons and improving her record to 18-11 on the season.

“She’s had good stuff all year, but today, I liked how she attacked the hitters really well,” Gumpf said of Holloway’s performance. “When she attacks hitters, she’s tough.”

In the bottom of the third, Sweet — who was part of the initial three-run first inning — led off, taking a rise ball from Falcons junior right-handed pitcher Meredith Miller to the helmet. Marking her team-leading 21st hit-by-pitch on the season and second of the game, Sweet seemed shaken but quickly regrouped to remain in the game. Senior shortstop Morgan Reed followed with a double to right field, advancing Sweet to third. Despite having no outs and runners on second and third, Notre Dame was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, recording three-straight outs. 

“We just didn’t get the job done in those innings with runners on and no outs,” Gumpf said “That’s part of the game, and it happens. But we just hope we get in that position again, and I think we’ll do a better job next time.”

Reed, who finished 1-for-2 in the game with a walk, played in the field for the first time since April 7, as she missed eight games earlier this month due to a series of injuries before returning to the lineup as the designated player this weekend against Boston College. Gumpf said she was happy to have the senior back on the field Tuesday.

“She just needed time to heal a little,” Gumpf said of Reed. “She’s still kind of day-to-day. She realizes that she’s a key part to keeping it clean out here. It’s definitely nice to have one of our leaders back.”

The Irish were finally able to extend the lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth when junior left fielder Ali Wester singled junior first baseman MK Bonamy in from second base.

That lead would prove to be enough for the Irish, as Holloway held the Falcons to just one hit from the fourth inning on, and the game would end with a 4-0 victory for the Irish.

Next up on the docket for Notre Dame is one final three-game series to end the regular season with No. 8 Florida State at Melissa Cook Stadium. The two teams are slated to play Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with first pitch of the first game of the series scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday.

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