Softball prepares to take on NC State in weekend series
Trey Turner | Wednesday, March 4, 2020
The Notre Dame softball team will head to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on North Carolina State in a three-game series this Saturday and Sunday. The softball team looks to capitalize on the momentum gained last weekend when the Irish went 2-1 against the Blue Devils in their first ACC series of the year. Head coach Deanna Gumpf, now in her 19th season as head coach, attained her 750th career win during the series, joining Muffet McGraw of the women’s basketball team to become the only coaches in Notre Dame history to pass the 750-career-wins milestone.
“The best thing about reaching 750 is the fact that our team has been consistently good over the years,” Gumpf said. “It’s the consistency of the team and the coaches combined that really is the thing that I am the most proud of.”
Gumpf’s team’s early success this season has been partially due to the Irish defense that touts a fielding percentage of .936 with 35 errors through 18 games played. Sophomore catcher Shelby Grimm and junior infielder Sarah Genz lead the Irish with fielding percentages of 1.0, committing zero errors in their combined 155 defensive plays.
Notre Dame’s pitching has been strong so far this season, with junior pitcher Alexis Holloway leading the way with an ERA of 0.61 through 68.2 innings pitched. Sophomore Payton Tidd had an impressive complete-game performance in Notre Dame’s second win over Duke, striking out five batters and improving her ERA to 2.62 through 40.0 innings pitched. The pitching staff has a combined record of 12-6 and a total ERA of 1.46, compared to NC State’s ERA of 3.00 and an overall record of 14-6.
The Irish have posted impressive numbers on the offensive side of the ball, with a team batting average of .285 and an on-base percentage of .344. Junior centerfielder Abby Sweet leads Notre Dame’s offensive charge with 22 hits, 20 RBIs, 17 runs and two home runs through 56 at-bats. Senior infielder Katie Marino has also excelled in the batter’s box, with 19 hits, 14 RBIs and a team-leading five home runs through 54 at-bats.
Gumpf said she believes winning at least two aspects of the game will lead to success in this weekend’s series.
“Out of the three parts of the game — hitting, defense and pitching — we need to win two out of three of those,” she said. “… When we’ve played really well, we’ve done that.”
NC State, much like Notre Dame, saw success in defense, pitching and hitting in non-conference play. Senior outfielder Tatyana Forbes leads the Wolfpack in offensive production with a dominant batting average of .538, an on-base percentage of 1.241, and 14 RBIs through 65 plate appearances. Senior outfielder Brigette Nordberg hit six of the team’s 32 home runs in their first 20 games.
Gumpf is well aware of NC State’s early offensive dominance.
“NC State is a very powerful team,” she said. “… Our goal is to limit their power and limit their offense, because I feel really confident that we will do a great job of finding a way to score runs.”
The Irish play the first game of their Saturday doubleheader against the Wolfpack at 1 p.m., their second game later Saturday afternoon and their third game Sunday at noon.