March 17, 2017
by Tony Jones
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A four-run bottom of the fourth inning for No. 1/2 Florida State made all of the difference in Friday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) series opener. The Seminoles rode the inning to a 6-0 victory over the University of Notre Dame softball team at JoAnne Graf Field.
How It Happened
A leadoff single and stolen base in the bottom of the first inning put the first Florida State (26-1-1, 7-0 ACC) runner into scoring position. A sacrifice fly to right field made it 1-0 in favor of the Seminoles. Notre Dame (12-11, 1-3 ACC) starter Rachel Nasland ended the inning with a flyout to left field.
Florida State inched further ahead in the bottom of the second, following a one-out solo home run to left field. The round-tripper for the Seminoles pushed the hosts ahead 2-0. Nasland worked around a two-out single later in the stanza to induce a flyout to center.
Notre Dame found its first hit of the ballgame with two outs in the top of the third, as Karley Wester legged out an infield single after slapping a spinner to shortstop. Ali Wester looked to rip one over the bag at second one batter later, but a sprawling effort forced the lead run out to stall the Irish surge.
Nasland notched a scoreless effort against the Florida State order in the bottom of the third inning. A pair of swinging strikeouts and a flyout to center field limited the opportunities for the Seminole attack.
Caitlyn Brooks got the Notre Dame offense off to a quick start in the top of the fourth frame, bouncing a single to second base that got the Irish cooking. A flyout and consecutive groundouts left the Notre Dame runner aboard.
Florida State broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring by way of a two-run double and a two-run home run to claim a 6-0 lead. Brooks entered in relief for Notre Dame in the fourth inning and proceeded to toss two shutout innings, scattering a lone hit and issuing one walk.
The Irish attempted to mount a rally in the top of the sixth inning after Karley Wester led off with a sharp single to left center. Looking to steal second base later in the frame, Wester was thrown out to stem the surge. A flyout to left field and a groundout to shortstop fully halted the Notre Dame offensive.
The Irish and No. 1/2 Florida State resume their series on Saturday at 1 p.m. (ET) inside JoAnne Graf Field 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.