Feb. 22, 2018
by Tony Jones
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- Despite dropping a 6-2 decision to No. 12/6 Auburn and a 5-3 result to No. 6/9 Texas A&M on Thursday, the University of Notre Dame softball team found an offensive groove during the first day of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex.
No. RV/25 Notre Dame (6-5) out-hit Auburn by a 6-5 total during the day's first game, and ultimately finished with an 11-7 hits advantage against Texas A&M in the nightcap. Ali Wester led all Irish hitters with a 5-for-7 day at the plate, while Alexis Bazos, Cait Brooks, Abby Sweet, MK Bonamy and Morgan Reed each added a pair of base hits.
Notre Dame resumes the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Friday with two games, highlighted by a matchup with No. 1/3 Washington and a nightcap against San Diego State.
How It Happened
Auburn took a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning by way of a leadoff walk and a one-out RBI double to center field. Irish starter Katie Beriont (2-2) bounced back with a strikeout and a popout on the infield to hold the Tigers off.
Beriont responded with a three-up, three-down inning in the bottom of the second. A groundout back to the mound, a pop up out to second and a fly ball out to left retired the Auburn side in order.
After Auburn scored two in the home half of the third inning to extend its lead (3-0), Notre Dame was quick to respond. Abby Sweet legged out an infield hit to shortstop, and Cait Brooks dropped a single into right field. With a pair on the pond, Katie Marino crushed a two-run single into right center to clear the bases and trim the deficit to 3-2.
Auburn tacked on three insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth to open a 6-2 lead, but Beriont re-entered the game and fashioned a 1-2-3 frame in the bottom of the sixth stanza.
Following a Texas A&M surge to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning, Notre Dame responded in the home half. Singles by Morgan Reed and Ali Wester, and a sacrifice bunt put both runners in scoring position. Cait Brooks ripped an RBI single into right field to score Reed and trim the Irish deficit to 3-1. An RBI single down the line in left later in the frame by MK Bonamy plated Brooks to bring the score to 3-2.
Bonamy continued the Notre Dame rally in the bottom of the fifth, singling through the left side to lead off the inning. A fielding error and sacrifice bunt moved Bonamy all the way to third base, where Alexis Bazos delivered a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at 3-3.
A two-run home run for Texas A&M in the top of the sixth inning pushed the Aggies back in front at 5-3. Notre Dame starter Alexis Holloway (4-3) forced a strikeout looking with two runners on later in the inning to stop the Texas A&M offense.
The Irish resume play at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex on Friday, taking on No. 1/3 Washington at 5:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. ET) and San Diego State at 8 p.m. (11 p.m. ET).
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball, men's soccer and swimming and diving programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.