Notre Dame softball goes 3-3 in Mary Nutter Classic
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, February 25, 2020
The Notre Dame softball team split six games over the weekend in Palm Springs, California, as part of the Mary Nutter Classic.
After falling to San Diego State 3-2 in the first game of a Thursday night double-header, Notre Dame (10-5) rebounded strongly with an 11-1 win over BYU. Against the Cougars (9-5), the Irish opened up the scoring in the top of the first with junior center fielder Abby Sweet homering to the left. After a scoreless inning-and-a-half, Notre Dame tacked on two more runs as Sweet hit a two-run RBI that drove home sophomore first baseman Quinn Biggio and senior second baseman Katie Marino.
After that, Notre Dame stepped on the gas, scoring four runs in each of the next two innings. BYU could only muster one run in the bottom of the fifth inning, unable to avoid a mercy rule. While the Irish benefited from three errors by the Cougars, they dominated at the plate, with sophomore pitcher Payton Tidd contributing a back-breaking three-run home run in fourth inning.
On Friday, Notre Dame faced off against Seattle in the first of another double-header. Things looked good for the Irish from the outset as Marino hit a home run on the first at bat for the Irish. Sweet also scored to take a 2-0 lead, and after another scoreless second inning, she scored again in the third to give the Irish a 3-0 lead.
The RedHawks (5-10) rallied in the fourth, however, taking advantage of two Irish errors as well as homering on the first at bat of the inning and stealing home to close out a 3-0 comeback. However, the Irish were not rattled, as they steadily built the lead back up, scoring one run apiece in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Seattle scored in the top of the sixth, but failed to tie or take the lead in the seventh as Notre Dame pulled out the win despite four errors on the contest.
Notre Dame finished out the day against the highest-ranked opponent in the field, No. 15 Oregon. Both teams appeared to be evenly matched through the first three innings as the score remained deadlocked at 0-0. However, the Ducks (14-0) broke open the scoring with two runs in the fourth, as the Irish responded with one run of their own in the inning on a home run by freshman left fielder Leea Hanks.
It was all Oregon from there, though, as they posted three runs in the top of the sixth and held Notre Dame scoreless for the remainder of the contest to maintain their perfect record. The Irish recorded seven hits to the Ducks’ six, but also recorded five errors to the Ducks’ two.
On the final day of competition, Saturday, Notre Dame began its final double-header with a match against No. 16 Arizona State. Coming off a difficult loss to No. 7 Florida, Arizona State (12-5) struggled out of the gate and allowed Notre Dame to jump out to a 3-0 lead through the first two innings.
The Irish took a 6-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, but the Sun Devils felt the pressure and responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth, two of which came on a home run. However, Notre Dame locked them down for the remainder of the contest and added on one more run in the top of the seventh for good measure as they came away with their third win of the weekend.
Their third win would turn out to be their last, as the Irish had a letdown after facing back-to-back ranked opponents. Against Cal State Fullerton, Notre Dame struggled to find a rhythm at the plate, falling behind 1-0 in the bottom of the third, although they quickly responded with three runs in the top of the fourth to take the lead.
However, in the bottom of the sixth, the Titans (8-5) scored four runs to go up 5-3, including a two-run homer and a sacrifice RBI that turned into two runs scored on a throwing error by the Irish. One run scored in the top of the seventh wasn’t enough as the Irish fell short 5-4 to break even on the weekend.
Next up, the Irish travel to Durham, North Carolina, for a three-game series against the Blue Devils. First pitch for Friday’s game is scheduled for 5 p.m.