Notre Dame softball looks ahead to final away series of the season against Virginia Tech
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, April 23, 2021
The Notre Dame softball team travels to No. 15/13 Virginia Tech for what will be the final road series of the season. Their other scheduled matchup from this week against DePaul, which was postponed due to inclement weather, has been rescheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
The Irish (22-12, 13-10 ACC) enter the Virginia Tech matchup following a five-game winning streak. They also hold a 14 home game win streak that began in 2019 and will seek to add to it after the away series this weekend.
Additionally, players on the team remain nationally ranked for their gameplay, lifting morale even further before traveling.
During the Irish’s sweep of Virginia last weekend, graduate student infielder Katie Marino proved to be instrumental: She clocked two solo home runs (.455 average) and six RBIs in addition to her impressive defensive play. Marino will seek to carry this momentum into the weekend.
Senior outfielder Abby Sweet has dominated in every aspect of the batting process. She continues to lead the ACC in batting average (.477), and this statistic places her at 12th in the nation. The 51 hits she has garnered this year also add her name to the leaderboards, with Sweet coming in at the top again in the ACC and 14th nationally. With only five strikeouts this season out of her 107 times at the plate, Sweet has proven to be the hardest player in the ACC to strike out, and her conference-leading total bases (85) and on-base percentage (0.545) statistics are only more proof of this.
Sweet also tied the record for most HBP taken in a single game of anyone in D1 NCAA history. She was hit by four in the second game of the NC State doubleheader. These contributed to a combined six HBP on the day. Because of this, that game also ended her 16-game hitting streak.
Junior outfielder Emma Clark has also been valuable at bat, ranking in the ACC’s top four individual batters alongside Sweet. Clark is tied for third (.413).
The Notre Dame pitching squad has also excelled this season. Senior Alexis Holloway, senior Morgan Ryan and junior Payton Tidd have combined to pitch two no-hitters. The group has also proven a force to be reckoned with on the offensive side of the ball. The three pitchers total 12 extra-base hits, with Tidd accounting for eight of them. Tidd has also been named an Honorable Mention for the Nation’s Best Hitting Pitchers by Justin’s World of Softball.
Because of this abundance of talent, Notre Dame ranks in the ACC’s Top Five for team batting average and pitching. They are at third and fifth respectively with a .302 average and a 2.38 ERA.
The Irish look to dominate again against Virginia Tech, utilizing the skill of the team to secure a fourth series sweep of the season. Games will be aired on the ACC Network Extra on Friday and Sunday. There are now two games on Friday at 2 and 4 p.m. following a recent time change due to anticipated weather. Sunday’s game will remain at noon. Saturday now has one game at 9 a.m., the broadcast of which has yet to be determined.