Gaskins’ three home runs power Irish softball to doubleheader split with Pittsburgh
J.J. Post | Monday, April 3, 2023
Notre Dame softball split a doubleheader Sunday afternoon, concluding a three-game series against Pittsburgh. The Irish fell in the overall series two games to one but ended on a high note. Notre Dame cruised to a dominant 10-2 win in game three of the weekend.
After a Friday matchup where the bats largely sputtered and a Sunday morning contest where the Irish scored plenty but allowed 13 runs, Notre Dame put it all together in the final afternoon. Sophomore pitcher Shannon Becker put together a complete game in the circle, striking out five batters along the way.
Karina Gaskins stole the show on the offensive end. The junior infielder came to the plate just three times in five innings. But in those three at-bats, she hit three home runs. Those three blasts tied her own program record for most in a single game. The seven runs she drove in also made the record books as the second-most in a game in program history. Graduate infielder Lexi Orozco pitched in at the plate as well, clubbing a pair of solo home runs.
After the game, head coach Deanna Gumpf remarked on Gaskins’ patience at the plate and the rewards it reaped.
“Karina just dug in today,” Gumpf said. “She dug in and she swung at good pitches. And when she does that, she’s so tough.”
Gaskins’ three blasts served as the perfect precursor to a postgame home run derby, held to raise money for Notre Dame’s Strikeout Cancer weekend. The last of a series of fundraising events by the program, the home run derby marked the conclusion of what Gumpf believes to be a special weekend for her team every year.
“What we’re fighting for is so much bigger than softball,” Gumpf said. “I always say softball is a mirror to life. The game is hard sometimes, but it’s a game. Life is hard sometimes, and we’re battling for kids whose lives are really hard right now. And I’m happy to say the girls worked really hard over this weekend and raised over $70,000 so far.”
Though the Irish ended the series with a loss, Gumpf said the consistency her squad displayed in the final game was the more important takeaway.
“Anytime you win a game after a tough weekend, it’s a positive,” Gumpf said. “All I care about right now is that we do all three parts of the game well. When we pitch well, hit well and play defense well, good things are going to happen. We’re not focused on wins and losses right now. We’re focused on the different parts of our game.”
Notre Dame softball will be back in action on Tuesday when the Irish host Ball State. The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network, and the first pitch is set for 8 p.m.