April 11, 2017
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A hot offensive beginning set a thunderous tone for the University of Notre Dame softball team on Tuesday against Detroit Mercy. In the first matchup between the teams in more than 20 years, the Irish utilized nine runs over their first two innings to shut down the visiting Titans 10-5 in nonconference action at Melissa Cook Stadium.
How It Happened
A quick top of the first inning for Katie Beriont got Notre Dame (22-15) going against the Detroit Mercy (8-26) order. A groundout, flyout and rundown following a hit stalled the Titans in their tracks.
It was all Notre Dame in the bottom of the first. Karley Wester legged out an infield single to shortstop, stole second base, and advanced safely to third on an errant throw. Sister Ali Wester brought her home with an RBI single to third base for the 1-0 Irish lead. After Morgan Reed and Caitlyn Brooks both safely reached, Melissa Rochford cleared the bases with a three-run triple to the right center gap that pushed the cushion to 4-0.
Another Detroit Mercy error and a sacrifice fly brought two more Irish runs across in the opening ups, extending the Notre Dame advantage to 6-0. Karley Wester closed the explosive inning with an RBI single up the middle that scored Kimmy Sullivan (7-0).
Notre Dame tacked on an additional two runs in the bottom of the second frame. Reed walked and Rochford singled, and after a Katie Marino walk, the lead runners came home on a Sullivan two-run single up the chute for a 9-0 lead.
Sara White took over in the circle in the top of the third and quelled a minor Detroit Mercy rally with a nifty play in the field. White fielded her position on a comebacker to start an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play that left Notre Dame in front 9-2.
The Irish tacked on a final insurance run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Two Titan errors with Rochford and Bailey Bigler at the plate ultimately allowed Rochford to score her third run of the ballgame, pushing the pendulum to 10-2 in favor of Notre Dame.
A run in the top of the fifth and two runs in the top of the seventh brought Detroit Mercy within five runs at 10-5. After previously re-entering the circle in the fifth inning, it was up to Beriont to secure the game’s final two outs. A swinging strikeout and a hot shot back to the mound closed out the win.
The Irish and IUPUI meet in a nonconference matchup on Wednesday at 6 p.m. (ET) at Melissa Cook Stadium. The game will air live on ACC Network Extra.
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.