April 8, 2018
by Tony Jones
ND-SU Box 2 | ND-SU Box 3
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team jumped out to a quick lead on its way to an 8-0 win in six innings over Syracuse in game one on Sunday, polishing off an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) series sweep of the Orange with a 5-1 victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Notre Dame (26-12, 10-4 ACC) claimed its second ACC series sweep of 2018 thanks to its Sunday pair of victories over Syracuse (18-17, 4-10 ACC). The Irish have swept consecutive home series against the Orange dating back to 2015, and improved to 16-3 all-time at home against Syracuse with the weekend trifecta.
Over the three-game slate Notre Dame outscored Syracuse by a cumulative 15-2 margin, batting .333 as a club with seven extra-base hits. Abby Sweet led the way in the series for the Irish, batting a sizzling .700 with a double, home run, five RBI and two runs scored. After picking up the winning RBI in the sixth inning of Saturday’s 2-1 victory, Sweet notched hits in each of her final six at-bats of Sunday’s twin bill against the Orange.
Other stellar Notre Dame offensive performers for the series included Katie Marino, who ripped four hits that included two doubles and a home run, drove in three runs and scored a team-high five runs. Sara White added three RBI with a first-inning home run to open the game on Sunday, while Ali Wester scored three times on the weekend.
Alexis Holloway (16-8) earned her second win of the series with a complete-game four-hitter in Sunday’s second contest, walking four and striking out three in seven innings of one-run softball. Holloway limited Syracuse to 10 base hits in 14.0 innings over the weekend, with only one for extra bases, and struck out nine batters to post a 1.00 ERA in a pair of victories. Katie Beriont (10-4) tossed a mere 65 pitches in a five-hit shutout to open Sunday’s doubleheader, logging no walks and adding one strikeout. Beriont has won seven straight decisions dating back to March 13 at North Florida, posting a 1.25 ERA in her last 39.1 innings in the circle.
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How It Happened
After Katie Beriont spun a one-hit top of the first inning against the Syracuse order, Notre Dame was on the attack in the bottom half. Ali Wester ripped the first pitch she saw of the day up the middle for a leadoff single, and eventually took second with a two-out stolen base. Cait Brooks worked a 3-1 walk to set the table for Sara White. White responded by crushing the first pitch she saw over the fence in center for a huge three-run home run. White’s fourth of the season made it 3-0 Irish.
Syracuse managed a two-out triple to the gap in right center field in the top of the second to get some of the momentum back, but Beriont shut the door. A groundout to Melissa Rochford at third base halted the Orange rally.
Syracuse would again threaten in the top of the third frame, loading the bases with two singles and a hit by pitch with two away to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. A fly ball out to Brooks in left kept the bags full of Orange runners.
The Irish added an insurance run in the bottom of the third. Abby Sweet dropped a one-out double down the right field line, and took third on a ground ball out number two. On a tricky ground ball toward first off the bat of White, the ball found its way through the Syracuse infield to score Sweet and make it 4-0 Notre Dame.
Beriont made quick work of the Orange with a three-up, three-down effort in the top of the fifth inning. Two ground balls to Katie Marino at short and a final lineout to Rochford at third shut Syracuse down.
Notre Dame forged ahead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Marino reached by way of a Syracuse error to lead off, and a Sweet infield single to the left side moved Marino safely to second. With runners on the corners, Marino came home on a wild pitch by the Orange to push the Irish ahead 5-0. Following a sharp single off the bat of Rochford with White in scoring position, a misplay in left field for Syracuse enabled White to continue running from third and put Notre Dame up 6-0.
Following another 1-2-3 inning for Beriont in the top of the sixth, Notre Dame took the win in the bottom of the inning. Sarah Genz led off with a pinch-hit walk, and a Wester single to center moved Alexis Bazos up to second base. Marino chopped a single to left field to load the bases with nobody out. Sweet took the first pitch she saw through the left side for an RBI single that scored Bazos and made it 7-0 Irish. Brooks then slashed an RBI single the opposite way past second base to bring Wester around for the final run (8-0).
Syracuse raced out to its first lead of the weekend thanks to an infield single, stolen base, sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Alexis Holloway left an Orange runner aboard with a fly ball out to Cait Brooks in left field.
Two scoreless innings for Holloway set the table for the Irish to take the lead in the bottom of the third. Alexis Bazos led off with a slap single through the right side, and eventually came all the way home on a Katie Marino RBI double down the line in left to tie the game at 1-1. Abby Sweet grooved an RBI single up the middle one batter later, scoring Marino and taking second on the throw for the 2-1 Notre Dame advantage.
A leadoff walk for Syracuse in the top of the fourth inning yielded minimal damage for the Notre Dame defense. A foul out to third base, a swinging strikeout and a ground ball out to second base kept the runner on the bases.
A three-up, three-down half for Syracuse in the top of the fifth set the stage for a Notre Dame surge in the bottom of the inning. Ali Wester chopped a leadoff single back to the circle and advanced to second base on an Orange throwing error. Marino followed up by dropping an RBI double into left center to up the Irish lead to 3-1. On the first pitch of her at-bat, Sweet crushed a two-run home run deep and gone to opposite field and over the wall in right center. Sweet’s third home run of the year made it 5-1 Notre Dame.
Notre Dame hosts Loyola University Chicago for a nonconference doubleheader on Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium. First pitch is set for 4 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.