Feb. 15, 2015
BATON ROUGE, La. – The University of Notre Dame softball team was unable to capitalize on early opportunities in each of its two contests on the final day of the Tiger Invitational. The No. 19/20 Irish dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to Hofstra before falling to No. 16 LSU 7-1 on Sunday at Tiger Park.
Notre Dame (5-4) held an early lead against LSU after a pair of hits in the top of the first inning of the nightcap, but Tigers starter Allie Walljasper (3-0) yielded only two hits over the final six innings to cement the victory.
Sophomore Rachel Nasland enjoyed her second solid day in the circle, claiming a pair of no decisions after allowing only one earned run over 10 innings. Nasland surrendered just four hits on the day, striking out a total of six batters.
For the weekend, Nasland posted a 0.88 ERA over 16 innings, allowing a mere two earned runs on seven hits. The Notre Dame right-hander logged six no-hit frames in relief in the opening game of the day against Hofstra.
Notre Dame returns to action next weekend with five games at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, California. The Irish open the tournament against Tennessee at 10 a.m. (PT) on Thursday.
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Game One – Hofstra 3, #19/20 Notre Dame 2
A leadoff single for Chloe Fitzgerald and a subsequent passed ball gave Hofstra a runner in scoring position in the top of the first inning. Lacey Clark worked a two-out walk, setting the stage for Brittany Allocca to crush her first home run of the season, giving the Pride a quick 3-0 lead. Notre Dame starter Katie Beriont (0-1) struck out Erin Trippi looking for the frame’s final out.
Sophomore All-American Karley Wester opened the Notre Dame first by legging out a double through the left side off Hofstra starter Morgan Lashley. Senior co-captain Jenna Simon followed with an infield single before senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner worked a four-pitch walk to load the bases with nobody out. Senior Cassidy Whidden and junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi were hit in consecutive plate appearances, bringing Wester and Simon home to trim the deficit to 3-2.
Hofstra opened the top of the second inning with a five-pitch walk, driving Beriont from the contest. Sophomore Rachel Nasland retired three straight Pride hitters out of the bullpen, striking out Brielle Pietrafesa swinging and Fitzgerald looking to stall the Hofstra ups.
Nasland worked a second straight scoreless frame in the top of the third, forcing a pair of fly ball outs before striking Allocca out swinging to strand one Hofstra runner on the base paths.
Whidden drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the third inning, and a great play in center by Hofstra’s Caryn Bailey robbed Arizmendi of extra bases and nearly doubled off Whidden at first base. Reliever Taylor Pirone (1-2) stabbed a hard line drive from senior Katey Haus, completing the double play by throwing Whidden out at first.
Two Hofstra batters reached against Nasland in the top of the sixth inning, but a heads-up tag by Simon on a grounder toward second on the runner doubled off Michaela Transue at first base to keep the Pride hitless against Nasland. The Irish right-hander put the finishing touches on the no-hit relief appearance in the seventh, sitting the Pride down 1-2-3 in the final inning.
Game Two – #16 LSU 7, #19/20 Notre Dame 1
Singles from sophomore All-American Karley Wester and senior co-captain Jenna Simon got Notre Dame rolling against LSU starter Allie Walljasper in the top of the first. A sacrifice bunt from senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner moved both runners into scoring position. Junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi drove Wester home with a sacrifice fly to left field, giving the Irish a 1-0 lead.
LSU pushed runners to second and third with no outs in the bottom of the first, following stolen bases from A.J. Andrews and Bailey Landry. Simon made a clean field on a ground ball from Bianka Bell to second, gunning Andrews down at the plate for a huge out number one. Sophomore Rachel Nasland forced Sahvanna Jaquish and Kellsi Kloss to pop out to Simon and senior Katey Haus on the infield to strand two Tiger runs.
It was more of the same for LSU against Nasland in the bottom of the second frame. Sandra Simmons grounded out to shortstop, Walljasper flied out to center field, and after picking up a two-out single Constance Quinn was thrown out by senior Cassidy Whidden trying to steal second base for the inning’s final out.
After loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the third inning, Nasland held LSU to only a single run on a fielder’s choice to left center that was snagged by Koerner, who put the trailing runner out a third base. Kloss grounded out to freshman Sara White at shortstop to strand a pair of Tigers.
Nasland blanked the LSU lineup yet again in the bottom of the fourth. A pop out to second base by Quinn and a ground out to shortstop by Griggs erased a Walljasper hit earlier in the inning, holding one Tiger run on base.
LSU broke through for three runs on four hits off junior Allie Rhodes (2-2) in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking a 4-1 lead. Rhodes forced pinch hitter Kailey McCasland to ground out back to the circle for the final out of the frame.
The Tigers would tack on three more runs with two away in the home half of the sixth inning, punctuated by a two-run Jaquish big fly that soared over the left field wall to up the LSU cushion to 7-1.