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ND Softball

Irish thrash Detroit Mercy, Western Michigan in midweek battles

and | Thursday, March 17, 2022

Irish blast Detroit Mercy in mercy-rule victory

Notre Dame softball (18-6, 1-2) put on an offensive clinic in their first home game of the season, earning an 18-0 win over Detroit Mercy (0-13, 0-3). The Irish’s 18 runs matched a single-game school record, as did the 18-run margin of victory. Senior Payton Tidd started at pitcher and won her sixth game of the season, giving up just three hits over three scoreless innings of work. Freshman Shannon Becker sealed the shutout with two strong innings of relief.

Notre Dame  started fast offensively. Junior left fielder Leea Hanks hit a leadoff triple off Detroit Mercy starter Liz Murphy in the bottom of the first after Tidd held the Titans hitless in the top half of the inning. Hanks scored on a fielder’s choice to give the Irish a 1-0 lead, but Detroit Mercy escaped the inning without further damage.

After a scoreless top of the second, the Irish bats started talking in a big way, breaking the game open with seven runs in the bottom half of the inning. Notre Dame used three straight singles to load the bases before scoring three runs on a pair of walks and a sacrifice fly. The Titans recorded the second out on a groundout to the pitcher, but the Irish offense was not done yet, as a single and back-to-back doubles from Tidd and freshman second baseman Jane Kronenberger made the score 8-0 before the inning ended. Kronenberger had three hits on the day and was one of four Notre Dame players with three RBI.

Notre Dame continued to pour on the runs in the third, using two singles and a sacrifice bunt to put runners on the corners before senior right fielder Emma Clark drove one in by running out a bunt single. Graduate student center fielder Abby Sweet then cleared the bases with a three-run blast off the scoreboard, her fifth home run of the year.

With a 12-run lead, the Irish inserted several pinch hitters into the lineup for the fourth, but there was no drop-off offensively. A Detroit Mercy error put a runner on first, and there were two in scoring position after senior catcher Shelby Grimm slapped a one-out double down the third baseline. A pair of singles extended the Irish lead to 14-0, and sophomore Bryn Boznanski had a memorable first career hit in a Notre Dame uniform, a three-run moon shot over the left field wall. The Irish added their 17th and 18th hits and one more run to make it an 18-0 game after four. With Notre Dame leading by more than eight runs, the game ended in an Irish victory after a three-up, three-down inning from Becker in the top of the fifth.

Notre Dame puts away Western Michigan late

While the second game of their midweek homestand wasn’t a laugher, Notre Dame emerged victorious. They defeated Western Michigan 7-2. The Irish never trailed but also led just 3-2 into the bottom of the fifth inning. However, Notre Dame scratched one across in the fifth and poured on three more in the sixth. That opened the game up, and the Irish rode the late rally to a third straight victory. They improved to 19-6.

Leading the charge was sophomore first baseman Karina Gaskins. She was a perfect 4-4 at the plate. Additionally, she drove in two runs and scored one herself. Graduate student designated player Sarah Genz was the only other Irish batter to notch a pair of hits. On the mound, it was a familiar combination. Graduate student Alexis Holloway started and fired five innings. Despite giving up just one hit, she did surrender a pair of unearned runs. Freshman Shannon Becker closed the game out and earned the save with two shutout innings, striking out three. The freshman has provided a critical third member of the Irish pitching staff, and she boasts a sparkling 0.98 ERA after Wednesday’s performance.

The Irish chipped away early with a run in the second and two in the fourth inning. After the Broncos cut the Irish lead to 3-2, Genz stepped up. She rapped out an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth to provide a cushion. Then Gaskins provided the decisive blow in the sixth. After a wild pitch scored one Irish run, the sophomore laced a two-run single to push the scoreline to its final mark of 7-2.

The Irish now turn their attention to another conference series. They started off ACC play 1-2 against Virginia last week and now travel to Pitt for three games. First pitch is Friday at 6 p.m.

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About Aidan Thomas

A junior marketing and ACMS major at Notre Dame, I've countered the success I've enjoyed as a New England sports fan with the painful existence of a Notre Dame football fan.

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