Softball trounces Oakland, eliminated by McNeese State
J.J. Post | Sunday, May 22, 2022
Notre Dame softball bounced back from a woeful opening day of NCAA Tournament play, defeating Oakland 16-1 before falling to McNeese State in the team’s second game of the day.
On Friday, the Irish appeared to be shocked into submission by a ten-run inning from McNeese State. This time, Notre Dame made the most of the chance to hit first in a win-or-go-home game against Oakland.
Notre Dame thrashes Oakland
Getting the bats active early, the Irish quickly surpassed their run total from Friday in just an inning of work. Sophomore first baseman Karina Gaskins and freshman infielder Jane Kronenberger knocked in the first runs of the contest.
Notre Dame continued to pour on the runs in the second, notching six more to push their lead to eight. Junior outfielder Leea Hanks and Gaskins each brought home a runner with a single. Junior third baseman Joley Mitchell scored them both with a double. Miranda Johnson then kept the two-out rally alive with a two-run single.
The Irish offense didn’t relent in the third inning, tacking on three more runs. Senior outfielder Emma Clark opened the scoring up with a single to center field. Hanks blasted a home run over the right-field fence to expand the Notre Dame lead to double digits.
Oakland got a run back in the fourth inning via a Madison Jones home run, but the Irish quickly responded in the fifth. Finishing the shortened five-inning game with a flourish, Notre Dame tacked on five more runs to take a commanding 16-1 lead. Junior shortstop Brooke Marquez started the inning with a leadoff home run. Kronenberger slashed a two-RBI single, and Mitchell added a home run of her own.
Notre Dame’s offensive outpouring was backed up by a masterful performance from graduate student Alexis Holloway on the mound. The graduate student pitched the first three innings of the contest, not allowing a single hit in the process.
Striking out five against just one walk, Holloway laid the groundwork for a steady relief effort from senior Payton Tidd. Entering in the fourth inning, Tidd gave up just a pair of hits outside of the Jones home run to close out the victory.
McNeese eliminates Notre Dame
Unfortunately, Notre Dame could not bring their momentum from the Oakland game into their elimination showdown with McNeese State just thirty minutes later.
Though the Irish avoided the cataclysmic first inning that doomed their opening game, the offense lacked firepower in a cagey affair that saw the first four innings go scoreless. When the scoring did come, McNeese struck first. Adriana Ramirez cracked a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth.
That inning would quickly go from bad to worse for the Irish. Following the home run, two more Cowgirl runs came in on the back of Notre Dame errors. Mitchell gave the Irish a chance to claw back in the top of the seventh with a solo shot of her own, but McNeese would hold firm for a 3-1 victory.
With the loss, the Irish now end their season at a 40-12 mark. The defeat extends an unfortunate streak for Notre Dame. They have now participated in the last 23 NCAA tournaments without advancing past the regional stage.