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#20/23 Irish Gritty In 5-4 ACC Quarters Comeback Over Virginia Tech

Kimmy Sullivan tied Friday's game against Virginia Tech with a two-run home run over the left field wall to start Notre Dame's comeback in the sixth inning of the ACC Championship quarterfinals


May 13, 2016


by Tony Jones


Box Score

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RALEIGH, N.C.
- With its back against the wall and facing a 4-2 deficit in the bottom of the sixth inning, the University of Notre Dame softball team found three runs in its final two innings against all-conference first team pitcher Maggie Tyler to stun Virginia Tech 5-4 in the quarterfinals of the ACC Championship on Thursday and Friday at Dail Softball Stadium.





No. 20/23 Notre Dame (40-10) advanced to the second semifinal of the ACC tournament against second-seeded Louisville, which is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Friday at Dail Softball Stadium. The Irish and Cardinals split a two-game series on May 1 at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Virginia Tech (29-28) quickly loaded the bases against Allie Rhodes in the top of the first inning, as Breanna Davenport led off with a double down the left field line to start the frame. Katey Smith and Kelsey Mericka each walked to pack the bags with two outs. Rhodes forced a pop out to Ali Wester at second base to escape the jam.

Notre Dame took the lead in the bottom of the first inning against the Virginia Tech starter Tyler (23-18). Co-captain Karley Wester ripped a leadoff single up the middle, and advanced into scoring position on a bunt single by Ali Wester. An errant throw to first base by Mericka allowed Karley Wester to come all the way home for the 1-0 Irish advantage.

Following a 14-hour weather delay that spilt into Friday morning, Rhodes tossed a 1-2-3 top of the second inning. Caitlyn Nolan popped out to third base and Vanessa Gonzalez and Chelsea Whitcomb went down on swinging strike threes to close the frame.

Notre Dame padded its lead in the bottom of the second. Karley Wester ripped a one-out single through the right side. Ali Wester followed with an RBI double to the left center field gap that scored Karley Wester all the way from first base, extending the Irish cushion to 2-0.

Mericka blasted off with her seventh home run of the season to lead off the top of the fourth inning, connecting on a solo blast to bring Virginia Tech within one run at 2-1. Rhodes settled in from there, flying Emma Strouth out to center field, popping Nolan up to third base and fouling Gonzalez out down the left field line.

Whitcomb tied the game in the top of the fifth after sending a screaming solo homer out and over the wall in left center, squaring the game at 2-2. After Davenport's second double of the game chased Rhodes from the contest, Virginia Tech took the lead on a wild pitch and a Mericka RBI single to push the score to 4-2. Rachel Nasland (14-3) flew Strouth into a double play to center, with Karley Wester making a great throw to Kimmy Sullivan at third base to stall the Hokie attack.

Nasland worked through a three-up, three-down frame in the top of the sixth inning to keep Notre Dame within range. Nolan fouled out to first base, Gonzalez popped out to second base and Whitcomb grounded out to shortstop.

Notre Dame made its move in the bottom of the sixth. Caitlyn Brooks ripped a one-out single into center field off Tyler to set the table for Sullivan. The Irish third baseman drove her third home run of the season deep and gone over the left field fence to tie the ballgame at 4-4. A Reed walk and Casey Africano single kept the inning rolling, but Tyler bounced back with back-to-back strikeouts to leave two on the bases.

Nasland polished off another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh inning. Davenport flew out to center, Olivia Lattin grounded out to third and Smith followed with a groundout to third.

After Rhodes struck out four batters in four innings in an efficient no decision, Nasland scattered a mere two hits in the final three innings to earn the victory.

Karley Wester wasted no time in putting the game away in the bottom of the seventh inning. She blasted a 2-1 pitch to center field and the Virginia Tech fielder Whitcomb made an ill-advised dive on an uncatchable ball. As Wester motored into third base with a leadoff triple, Whitcomb's throw got away from Mericka and enabled the winning Notre Dame run to score.

The elder Wester was 3-for-4 with the triple and three runs scored during the game, becoming the first Notre Dame player to score 60 or more runs in consecutive seasons in the process. Ali Wester added two hits and an RBI, with Sullivan (two RBI), Brooks, Africano and Bailey Bigler each contributing key hits.

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.


--ND--


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 at Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.


 

 

Event Calendar

Delta

February 10
12:00 PM
Weber State
Long Beach, Calif. (LBSU Softball Complex)
February 10
2:30 PM
Long Beach State
Long Beach, Calif. (LBSU Softball Complex)
February 11
12:00 PM
South Dakota
Long Beach, Calif. (LBSU Softball Complex)
February 11
2:30 PM
San Diego State
Long Beach, Calif. (LBSU Softball Complex)
February 12
12:00 PM
UCLA
Los Angeles, Calif. (Easton Stadium)
February 17
1:30 PM
Minnesota
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
February 18
10:00 AM
Michigan
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
February 18
12:30 PM
Minnesota
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
February 19
10:00 AM
Michigan
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
February 23
6:30 PM
Texas
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 23
9:00 PM
Missouri
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 24
3:30 PM
Arizona State
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 24
6:00 PM
Georgia
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
February 25
1:00 PM
Oklahoma
Cathedral City, Calif. (Big League Dreams Sports Complex)
March 4
12:30 PM
Purdue
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
March 4
5:00 PM
FIU
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
March 5
10:00 AM
Chattanooga
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
March 5
12:15 PM
Charlotte
Kissimmee, Fla. (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)
March 11
1:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga. (Mewborn Field)
March 11
3:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga. (Mewborn Field)
March 12
12:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga. (Mewborn Field)
March 14
5:00 PM
Georgia State
Atlanta, Ga. (Heck Softball Complex)
March 15
6:00 PM
Mercer
Macon, Ga. (Sikes Field)
March 17
6:00 PM
Florida State
Tallahassee, Fla. (JoAnne Graf Field)
March 18
1:00 PM
Florida State
Tallahassee, Fla. (JoAnne Graf Field)
March 19
12:00 PM
Florida State
Tallahassee, Fla. (JoAnne Graf Field)
March 22
5:00 PM
Michigan State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
March 24
6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
March 25
3:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
March 26
12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
March 29
5:00 PM
Eastern Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 1
12:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky. (Ulmer Stadium)
April 2
2:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky. (Ulmer Stadium)
April 3
7:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky. (Ulmer Stadium)
April 5
5:00 PM
Fort Wayne
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 7
6:00 PM
North Carolina
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 8
3:00 PM
North Carolina
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 9
12:00 PM
North Carolina
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 11
5:30 PM
Detroit Mercy
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 12
6:00 PM
IUPUI
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 14
4:00 PM
NC State
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
April 14
6:00 PM
NC State
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
April 15
1:00 PM
NC State
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Stadium)
April 19
6:00 PM
Western Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 22
1:00 PM
Virginia
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 22
3:00 PM
Virginia
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 23
12:00 PM
Virginia
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 25
5:00 PM
Northwestern
Evanston, Ill. (Drysdale Field)
April 29
1:00 PM
Arkansas
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 29
3:00 PM
Arkansas
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
April 30
12:00 PM
Arkansas
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 3
6:00 PM
Butler
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 5
6:00 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 6
3:00 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 7
12:00 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Melissa Cook Stadium)
May 11
TBA
ACC Championship
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Anderson Stadium)
May 12
TBA
ACC Championship
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Anderson Stadium)
May 13
TBA
ACC Championship
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Anderson Stadium)
May 19
TBA
NCAA Regionals
Campus sites
May 20
TBA
NCAA Regionals
Campus sites
May 21
TBA
NCAA Regionals
Campus sites
May 25
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus sites
May 26
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus sites
May 27
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus sites
May 28
TBA
NCAA Super Regionals
Campus sites
June 1
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 2
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 3
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 4
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 5
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 6
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
June 7
TBA
Womens College World Series
Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)

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