Notre Dame softball drops series against Clemson, rebounds in thriller over Indiana
J.J. Post | Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Notre Dame softball played four games in the last week. They lost two of three to Clemson but won an extra-innings thriller against Indiana.
The pair of losses were both heartbreakers. Both the 3-2 result on Thursday and 2-1 series closing loss came in walk-off fashion. Worst of all, the Irish held a lead for six of the seven innings on Thursday, but Clemson notched a pair of runs in the final inning to take home the victory. However, Notre Dame did chalk up a 4-0 victory on Saturday. The victory came on the back of a complete-game no-hitter by graduate student pitcher Alexis Holloway. Holloway’s gem on the hill was fortified on offense thanks to a two-hit, two-RBI performance by graduate student infielder Abby Sweet.
Irish bounce back, topple Indiana
The Irish did bounce back from the series on Tuesday, however, taking home another close thriller on the road. This time, it was in an out-of-conference battle against Indiana. Notre Dame’s offense struggled early — notching a pair of runs in the second inning before remaining quiet until pushing across one to tie the score in the sixth and another to take the lead in the seventh.
The lead was short-lived, however. In the bottom half of the inning, the Hoosiers clawed back a run of their own to tie the game at 4-4. With runners on second and third and just one out, it looked like the Irish were at risk of a third walk-off loss in four games. But freshman pitcher Shannon Becker entered the game and escaped the danger, forcing a pair of ground balls.
In the added eighth inning, the Irish offense came alive. Following the blown save, Notre Dame posted four runs to double their total for the game. After a pair of singles gave the Irish a bright start, two quick outs minimized their prospects. But Sweet provided the clutch spark the Irish needed, lining a single up the middle. Indiana pitcher Heather Johnson delivered an errant throw that would bring home a pair of runs. Junior outfielder Leea Hanks then doubled to send Sweet home. Hanks then scored via a single from sophomore infielder Karina Gaskins.
The Hoosiers showed signs of threat in the bottom half of the eighth. Although a double by Brooke Benson brought Indiana within three, Becker closed out the game. She earned her ninth win of the season.
Looking ahead, the Irish will now return to conference play and the confines of Melissa Cook Stadium, with a three-game series against North Carolina next on the docket over the weekend. First pitch against the Tar Heels will be 5 p.m. Friday, and the game will be broadcasted on ACC Network Extra.