Softball opens ACC play by winning series against Duke
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, March 2, 2020
The Notre Dame softball team opened up conference play this past weekend against Duke in Durham, North Carolina. The Irish won two out of three games in the series.
In the first game on Friday night, the Irish (12-6, 2-1 ACC) used a five-run fifth inning to top the Blue Devils by a score of 6-2. The win marked Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf’s 750th career victory.
After the Irish went three up, three down in the top of the first inning, it appeared that they might be in for a long day as Duke was able to get runners on second and third with only one out in the bottom. The Blue Devils then hit a sacrifice fly followed by a single to tally two runs and take an early 2-0 lead.
After their hot start in the first inning, the Blue Devils could not get a clutch hit for the rest of the game. Irish junior Alexis Holloway pitched a complete game and stranded seven Duke runners on base. Holloway also only walked one hitter.
Hits were hard to come by for the Irish through the first four innings, but something clicked in the top of the fifth.
Freshman Leea Hanks got things going with a one-out single. Hanks was then able to steal second and advance to third on a Holloway groundout. The next hitter, freshman Brooke Marquez, got the Irish on the board by delivering an RBI single that saw her advance to second, thanks to a fielding error. Senior captain Katie Marino then put the Irish on top with a two-run home run, her fourth homer of the year.
The Irish were not done yet, however, as they got three successive hits from sophomore Emma Clark and juniors Abby Sweet and Sarah Genz to put the Irish on top 5-2 with two innings. All five of the Irish runs were scored with two outs.
The Irish tacked on an insurance run in the top of the sixth and won the series opener by a score of 6-2.
In the second game of the series, all eyes were on sophomore pitcher Payton Tidd, who pitched a complete game shutout in a 1-0 victory for the Irish. Tidd recorded five strikeouts on the day as well, all of which were swinging.
Through five innings, the game was still scoreless as Tidd and Duke pitcher junior Brianna Butler were able to hold each team’s hitters at bay.
The defense behind Tidd was sensational for the Irish on Saturday, as they finished the game without any errors. Some defensive highlights included a Leea Hanks diving catch in shallow left field and the play of Brooke Marquez, who posted three putouts and three assists on the day.
The Irish offense did what they had to do in the top of the sixth with two outs. Hanks got things going once again for the Irish with a single and then scored from first on a double from Genz to secure a 1-0 victory for the Irish.
Sunday’s game did not go nearly as well for the Irish as they were unsuccessful in finishing off the sweep. They lost Sunday’s game by a score of 6-2.
In the first inning, the Irish took advantage of some Duke fielding mistakes to take an early 1-0 lead, but after that, it was all Blue Devils. In the second inning, Duke scored two runs to grab a 2-1 lead. They managed to extend their lead to 5-1 in the third inning after a Notre Dame error. Both teams managed to score one more run, and the final score was 6-2.
The Irish are back in action next weekend against North Carolina State for a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday.