Feb. 19, 2017
RALEIGH, N.C. – In the second matchup of the weekend between the two teams, No. 11/10 Michigan proved to be the aggressor from the outset of Sunday’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge meeting with the University of Notre Dame softball team. Seven runs over the first four innings powered the Wolverines to a 9-2 win over the Irish at NC State’s Dail Stadium.
How It Happened
Michigan (6-3) quickly took a 2-0 lead with a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, striking with two outs in the inning. Notre Dame starter Rachel Nasland forced a foul out to second base one batter later to end the inning.
Notre Dame (4-5) answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the first. Ali Wester led off with an infield single to shortstop, moving to second and third base on infield ground balls. A wild pitch from Michigan starter Tera Blanco allowed Wester to come across from third, trimming the Michigan lead to 2-1.
The Wolverines would add two solo home runs in the top of the second frame to chase Nasland at 4-1. Michigan would load the bases with one out against Caitlyn Brooks, but a strikeout and groundout left the bases full of Wolverines to end the inning.
Michigan would push an additional three runs across in the top of the fourth inning following an RBI double, single, and Notre Dame error in the field to extend its lead to 7-1. Brooks ended the inning by forcing a groundout to shortstop.
Following two shutout innings of relief from Katie Beriont, the Notre Dame lineup began to rally in the bottom of the sixth. A Morgan Reed single and a fielder’s choice off the bat of Brooks put two aboard with one out, and a wild pitch moved both runners to scoring position. A strikeout and infield popout ended the Irish surge.
Michigan capped its scoring with a two-run home run in the top of the seventh frame, pushing its lead to 9-1. Beriont settled into the inning from there, forcing a groundout and flyout to cap the Michigan ups.
Katie Marino connected on her first career Notre Dame home run in the home half of the seventh, drilling a 2-2 pitch from Blanco over the wall in center field. Marino’s home run narrowed the Michigan lead to 9-2. An Ali Wester single with one out looked to keep the inning moving, but back-to-back outs closed the game.
The Irish travel to the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Feb. 23-25 at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex in Cathedral City, California.