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ND Softball

Notre Dame softball prepares for home game against Ball State, road series against Louisville

| Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Sofia CrimiVaroli | The Observer
Graduate student right-hander Payton Tidd unleashes a pitch during Notre Dame’s 10-2 defeat of Syracuse  at Melissa Cook Stadium on March 24.

On Tuesday night, Notre Dame softball will play the final contest of an eight-game homestand, welcoming Ball State to South Bend.

The game will come following a three-game Irish series with Pittsburgh, one that came with both positives and negatives. On the negative side of things, Notre Dame gave up 23 runs across the three games. The team struggled with consistency throughout, failing to put together a complete showing until the third game.

But that third game, a 10-2 win by run-rule, showed what the Irish can be when they’re at their best. Sophomore pitcher Shannon Becker had her best outing of the season, striking out five and allowing just four hits in a complete game. Becker had initially struggled to re-capture her stellar freshman year form in 2023, but she looked strong against the Panthers.

Notre Dame’s slugger tandem of junior infielder Karina Gaskins and graduate student infielder Lexi Orozco also were at their best in the series-concluding win. Gaskins hit three home runs in the win, and Orozco mashed a pair of her own as well.

Driving in a combined nine of Notre Dame’s 10 runs, the Irish got significant production out of the core of their order. Both Orozco and Gaskins ended the day 3-3.

Before heading into a weekend trip to Louisville, Ball State presents Notre Dame with an important opportunity to keep the momentum going. The Irish currently sit at 5-6-1 in conference play and 60th in national RPI. Both those numbers need to improve if Notre Dame wants to meet their yearly postseason expectations. 

The Irish have had opportunities to boost their record and resume all year. Pitt was last in the ACC heading into this previous weekend. Notre Dame only took one game of three against the Panthers. Syracuse traveled to South Bend winless in conference play. The Irish went 1-1-1 against the Orange. Notre Dame was three outs away from a series win against No. 11 Duke. A last inning rally gave the series to the Blue Devils. 

When Notre Dame heads to Louisville, they’ll be going on the road for the first time since mid-March. The Cardinals are 9-2 and sit in third place in the ACC standings. Officially in the back half of the season, the Irish are running out of time to make a move in both the conference and national picture. Taking a series against a red-hot Louisville team would be an excellent start.

The Irish can’t, however, look past Ball State in their quest to continue climbing the ACC standings. The team holds an even 16-16 record and will be itching for a statement win of their own. The home game offers the Irish an opportunity to get a confidence-boosting win against a team that’s 0-3 against power five opponents this year. But if Notre Dame looks ahead to the weekend, Ball State will take advantage.

Notre Dame softball will face off against Ball State on Tuesday night. The first pitch is currently scheduled for 8 p.m. but could be adjusted based on the weather forecast. The game is set for broadcast on the ACC Network.

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About J.J. Post

J.J. Post is a senior in Fisher Hall. Hailing from Mountainside, New Jersey, he's currently working his way towards being the nation's foremost expert on college soccer. Whether via the button below or his overly active Twitter (@JayJayPost), feel free to reach out and talk about Notre Dame soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, baseball or softball. Or any other Notre Dame sport you can think of. Odds are he watches it as well.

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