Irish swept by top-10 opponent after midweek win
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Last weekend, the Irish (17-12, 9-10 ACC) looked to keep a six-game win streak rolling into a packed weekend that featured five games in five days. The first started Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium.
The first opponent of the weekend was the Chippewas of Central Michigan (4-18, 2-10 MAC). Junior pitcher Payton Tidd got the start and eventually earned the win, while senior Morgan Ryan pitched the last two innings to get the save. It was a collective effort on offense as the Irish sprayed 11 hits, three of which came from reigning ACC Player of the Week, senior outfielder Abby Sweet. A two-run homer from sophomore infielder Katie Marino provided some insurance in the sixth inning. The Irish won 7-4 to remain unbeaten at home.
The weekend would bring a highly anticipated matchup with Florida State (24-5, 12-2 ACC) in Tallahassee. The Seminoles entered the weekend ranked 10th in the nation. The Irish were riding high off of a now seven-game win streak. The Seminoles, however, were hot as well, having won eight of their last nine.
The first matchup on Friday was close all the way through, entering the sixth inning with a score of 1-1. The Irish ended up out-hitting the ‘Noles 6-4, but they ultimately couldn’t respond to two runs scored in the bottom of the sixth. They lost 3-1. Senior pitcher Alexis Holloway tossed a complete game but earned the loss, and Sweet’s on-base streak was capped off at an impressive 43 games, as she was unsuccessful in making it to first in Friday’s contest.
The pitching trend continued in the first half of each game in the Saturday doubleheader. Both teams were scoreless heading into the fourth inning, but the Seminoles eventually dominated the Irish, winning 8-0 by mercy rule in both games. The Irish only had three hits on the day, two of which came from junior outfielder Emma Clark. Tidd and Holloway earned the loss in each game, moving their records to 9-5 and 7-5, respectively.
The dominance continued on Sunday for the Seminoles. They only allowed two hits to the Irish offense that entered the weekend with the best team batting average in the ACC. Tidd pitched a dazzling four innings to start. But, the ‘Noles poured on five runs in the fifth after Holloway entered in relief, giving her the loss. The Irish lost 5-0 and had a long ride home, coming out the wrong end of an Easter weekend sweep.
The Irish will have some work to do by the end of the season if they wish to make the NCAA Championship Tournament. They’re hoping to get it done, as that’s a mark that has never been missed by head coach Deanna Gumpf. The Irish still land in the top 5 in both team earned run average and team batting average in the conference, but they sit at 7th in the ACC standings and now have a losing conference record.
They’ll start a 10 game home stand this Wednesday, against the Western Michigan Broncos (8-17, 4-8 MAC).