No. 24 softball readies to host UNC for weekend play
Madeline Ladd | Thursday, April 21, 2022
No. 24 Notre Dame Women’s softball is preparing for their penultimate three-game series of the regular season as they host the University of North Carolina this weekend. Play begins Friday, April 22, at 5 p.m., followed by subsequent games on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon.
The Irish enter the weekend riding high off of some midweek action down in Bloomington, Indiana. The women rallied to defeat the Hoosiers 8-5 in extra innings this past Tuesday.
“Playing Indiana midweek was a great idea because they played us really, really tough,” head coach Deanna Gumpf said. “They are a good team that plays lights-out softball. So they brought us some really tough competition. It took us a while to get going but we had some key people coming up big at bat.”
The trio of sophomore Karina Gaskins, junior Joley Mitchell and graduate student Abby Sweet led the Irish offensively. It took the entire pitching staff, including recent ACC Pitcher of the Week winner Alexis Holloway, to help change the momentum of the game.
The graduate student earned Pitcher of the Week after her strong no-hitter performance against a competitive No. 14 Clemson. Holloway is the second member of Notre Dame softball to earn the title. Her teammate and fellow pitcher senior Payton Tidd was named ACC Pitcher of the Week a week prior.
“Alexis no-hit a very good Clemson team,” Gumpf said. “She was able to get their hitters to do what she wanted them to, as her drop ball and her rise were breaking very well. She had great command on her change-up and was just able to control hitters all day long. That’s exactly why she was awarded Pitcher of the Week.”
Indiana was the final away game of the regular season for the Irish, and now they wrap up the final few weeks at home at Melissa Cook.
“We’re just really happy to be home. We’ve been on the road the last couple of weeks straight so being able to finish our season at home is awesome,” Gumpf said.
UNC presents a tough challenge
Despite being at home, however, UNC is looking to be a competitive matchup for the Irish. The Tar Heels’ strong pitching makes them a threat on the mound, yet they possess a 22-22 record overall and a 6-12 record in the ACC.
“UNC is going to be tough since they are a fast and powerful lineup,” Gumpf said. “They have really good pitching so they are going to be tough competition.”
Nevertheless, UNC and Notre Dame have not shared too many of the same opponents this season except Clemson, Louisville and Syracuse. The Irish have yet to play Louisville, whereas the Tar Heels have not faced Syracuse. UNC lost all three of their games in their series against Clemson. Meanwhile, the Irish were able to take one of three from the Tigers last weekend. This will also be the second-to-last regular-season matchup for the Tar Heels.
Gumpf is confident going into the weekend and believes the team can carry their momentum through the series to get the job done. Home field advantage will bring a little extra fire to the team’s performance as well.
“I really like how we are playing right now,” Gumpf said. “I feel like we are in a really good place mentally and physically, and I like the way we are playing the game.”
Fans can head over to Melissa Cook Stadium or tune in to ACC Network Extra to watch No. 24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Softball take on the University of North Carolina Tar Heels in the three-game set starting Friday.