April 2, 2017
by Tony Jones
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Making the most of two separate big innings on offense, the University of Notre Dame softball team scored three in the fourth and two in the fifth on Sunday as part of a 6-4 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) decision over Louisville at Ulmer Stadium. The matinee victory clinched the ACC weekend series in favor of the Irish.
How It Happened
Louisville (20-10, 4-2 ACC) struck for its first run following an RBI single in the bottom of the opening inning to take a 1-0 lead. Notre Dame (19-13, 6-5 ACC) starter Katie Beriont forced a groundout to third base to end the frame.
Caitlyn Brooks opened the Notre Dame top of the second with a sharp single to right field, reaching second after an error on a hard-hit ball by Katie Marino. Two Irish strikeouts left the runners stranded on the pond.
Notre Dame broke through against the Louisville pitching staff in the top of the fourth. Melissa Rochford was hit by a pitch top open the inning, and Kimmy Sullivan brought her home with an RBI triple to left center that tied the game at 1-1. Sara White immediately followed with an RBI single up the middle to score Sullivan for the 2-1 Irish advantage. Karley Wester kept the sequence alive with an RBI single down the left field line with two outs to score White and vault Notre Dame ahead 3-1.
Beriont worked around a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth inning to stall the Louisville offense. A line drive double play to White at first base and a groundout to Morgan Reed at shortstop kept the hosts off the scoreboard.
An RBI ground ball to shortstop by Rochford in the top of the fifth plated Reed for the 4-1 Notre Dame lead. Marino kept the momentum rolling with a sharp infield single to second base that brought home pinch runner Alexis Bazos (5-1).
It was a 1-2-3 inning for Beriont on the mound in the bottom of the fifth. Two middle infield groundouts and a foul ball out behind the plate capped the three-up, three-down stanza.
Ali Wester opened the offense in the top of the sixth inning with a slap single into center with one out. A Reed single and Louisville throwing error allowed Wester to come all the way around from first base to vault Notre Dame to a 6-1 cushion.
A solo home run in the bottom of the sixth and two runs in the bottom of the seventh for Louisville trimmed the Notre Dame lead to 6-4. Rachel Nasland entered with two down and forced a flyout to Karley Wester in center for the game’s final out.
Notre Dame secured its second straight ACC series win with the Sunday victory over Louisville … The series victory against the Cardinals was the first for the Irish in ACC play, after the teams previously split an abbreviated two-game meeting in May of 2016 … Karley Wester finished off a three-hit effort with an RBI and stolen base against the Cardinals, while Morgan Reed and Kimmy Sullivan each chipped in two hits each … Nine of the 10 Irish players with at least two at-bats against Louisville have logged at least one base hit this weekend.
The Irish and Louisville close their ACC set on Monday at 7 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
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 and men's soccer 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.