Irish to face Western Michigan in break from conference play
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, March 27, 2019
The Irish are set to break from their ACC schedule and take on the Western Michigan Broncos tonight. Notre Dame (18-10, 3-3 ACC) coming off of an impressive home series that saw it take two out of three games from the visiting Louisville Cardinals to improve to .500 in ACC play.
The Irish will look to continue their hot hitting streak. They scored twenty-one runs in their three-game set with Louisville, with senior first baseman MK Bonamy picking up four runs batted in along the way. Bonamy has started all 28 games for the Irish at first base this season, and will look to build upon her .312 batting average and two home runs tonight.
The Irish will have options on the mound for tonight’s matchup. Freshman Payton Tidd has a stellar 9-3 record, with just a 2.46 ERA in seventy-four innings pitched. Tidd has been excellent taking pressure off of Irish sophomore ace pitcher Alexis Holloway. Holloway was forced to shoulder most of the load last season, but has been able to split time with Tidd to keep herself healthy this season. Holloway has earned a 2.63 ERA this year to go along with a 8-6 record in 72 innings pitched. Whoever Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf chooses as her starter, the Irish should be in good hands.
The Broncos (7-12, 0-0 MAC) have posted a 3-1 mark in their last four games. They are led offensively by junior outfielder Mackenzie Swinehart and sophomore infielder/pitcher Sydney Stefanick. Swinehart is a top of the lineup threat that leads the team in hits and runs at 22 and 13, respectively, and boasts a team best .344 batting average. Stefanick bats a .333 average and provides the lineup’s muscle, leading the team with five home runs and 18 RBIs.
In addition to her ability to hit, Stefanik is also a formidable pitcher. Her 4-3 record is impressive given her team’s losing record, and her 2.08 ERA would be daunting in any context. In her 57.1 innings pitched she has held opposing hitters to a .210 batting average. Notre Dame will need to find a way to hit on Stefanik to have success.
The Irish will take on the Western Michigan Broncos tonight at 5:30 p.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium.