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Notre Dame goes 2-4 in Florida tournament

| Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Notre Dame had a long weekend competing in the St. Pete Clearwater Elite Invitational in Clearwater, Florida. The team played six games in all and recorded two wins on the weekend, with each of the matchups being against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the top-25 poll — including three teams in the top 20. Despite emerging victorious only twice, Notre Dame had a quality win over No. 20 Oklahoma State.

A week after taking down the then third-ranked Washington Huskies, the Irish had a tougher time against the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners. Notre Dame was down just 3-2 after four innings, but gave up three runs in the fifth to let the Sooners take a 6-2 lead. The blast from senior outfielder Raegan Rogers put the Irish upset attempt to bed, as those would be the last runs scored in the game.

The squad then had a quick turnaround for a 10 a.m. matchup the next morning with No. 6 Tennessee. Notre Dame freshman pitcher Payton Tidd was back on the mound just hours after a 3.2 inning appearance against Oklahoma, and the Volunteers were able to chase her off after 1.2 innings and four runs allowed. The Irish managed just two hits and were shutout 8-0 in what was ultimately just a five-inning game.

Sarah Olson
Irish senior infielder MK Bonamy prepares for a swing in Melissa Cook Stadium against Loyola University Chicago.

But the Irish had a strong response to the morning’s adversity in their afternoon date with Oklahoma State. The Notre Dame offense attacked the Cowgirls with a balanced performance — six different players knocked in runs, including a two-for-four performance from senior outfielder Ali Wester out of the leadoff spot. Sophomore pitcher Alexis Holloway went the distance, pitching seven innings of scoreless softball and striking out seven along the way.

On Saturday, the Irish faced another double-header day, this time against Minnesota and California, both of whom are currently unranked but received top-25 votes. The Irish were killed by early errors against Minnesota, as none of the seven runs the Golden Gophers scored in the first inning were earned. On the other side, Minnesota did not commit an error, and the pitching combination of sophomore Amber Fiser and junior Sydney Smith kept the Irish off the board in the team’s five-inning, 10-0 shutout win.

For the second day in a row, the Irish competed hard after the early morning loss, but against California, Notre Dame let a win a slip away, as its 6-2 lead headed into the final frame did not hold. In the seventh, poor fielding and uncharacteristically wild pitching allowed California to tie the game and ultimately earn a walk-off win in the bottom of the extra, eighth inning.

Finally, the Irish bested the Ohio State Buckeyes 3-2 on Sunday to conclude their trip with a win. Sophomore pitcher Morgan Ryan provided two scoreless innings to start the game, and Tidd and Holloway pitched well the rest of the way to hold the Buckeyes to six hits and two runs. Wester and shortstop Quinn Biggio each had two hits, and senior MK Bonamy had a RBI double in the first inning. The Irish led almost the entire game, and closed things up well with their victory.

Notre Dame will be back in action this weekend, when they will play in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. The first game will be against Fordham, and will start Saturday at noon.

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