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ND Softball

Notre Dame falls to Northwestern 3-1

| Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Notre Dame faced off against Northwestern at Drysdale Field in Evanston, Illinois, on Tuesday in an out-of-conference matchup against a solid opponent. The Irish (24-13, 7-5 ACC) ended a four-game winning streak in a break from their usual offensive prowess as they suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Wildcats (30-7, 9-0 Big Ten). The lackluster offensive performance comes after a streak of six games in which they have scored six or more runs.

In the first, both pitchers kept the opposing bats silent. Freshman Payton Tidd started for the Irish and had a good outing, giving up three runs in three innings. The first two runs came in the second inning, when Wildcat senior Morgan Nelson hit a 2-run single, but Tidd managed to control the damage for the rest of the inning. In the third, however, a single up the middle from Northwestern freshman Jordyn Rudd scored one more, which ended Tidd’s outing.

Allison Thornton | The Observer

Freshman pitcher Payton Tidd focuses during Notre Dame’s game against Louisville in Melissa Cook Stadium on March 24.

Sophomore Kenna Wilkey countered in the circle for Northwestern, and was solid as usual; this season, she has pitched 66.2 innings for an ERA of 2.64. She continued the trend against Notre Dame, allowing a single run over four innings of work. The only runs the Irish managed to muster came in the form of a single through the left side of the infield from sophomore Sarah Genz, scoring sophomore Abby Sweet. That was all of the action on the day, as the Irish pitching combination of sophomores Morgan Ryan and Alexis Holloway shut the door on the Wildcats to give the offense a chance to make a comeback. However, Notre Dame was entirely shut down by freshman Northwestern pitcher Danielle Williams for the last three innings.

Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said her team’s occasionally sloppy play contributed to the game’s outcome.

“We only scored one run, and we ran ourselves out of a few innings,” Gumpf said. “We need to work on those to beat a good team like Northwestern.”

However, Gumpf also acknowledged what her team did well on the day.

“Our pitching was great today,” she said. “[Tidd, Ryan and Holloway] performed well, but we didn’t give them the support to win the game.”

Gumpf said she is already looking forward to what the team can work on in practice to get back to its winning ways, citing the need to do more work on defense and base running.

She also recognized the strengths her squad has shown in the season so far.

“Our hitting has been consistent and will carry us into the end of the season,” she said.

Gumpf did go on to note the need for additional work to avoid contests like the one against Northwestern. Regardless of the team’s performance Tuesday, the coaching staff’s expectations for the team have not changed, Gumpf said.

“We need to put ourselves in a position to make it to the NCAA tournament, and we need to finish near the top of the conference and win it,” she said.

Notre Dame will play next in a three-game homestand against North Carolina State. The first game is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. in Melissa Cook Stadium.

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