April 5, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — An early two-run deficit proved to be of no deterrent to the University of Notre Dame softball team on Tuesday night. The Irish scored 11 runs over their final three offensive innings to stop upset-minded IUPUI 11-3 in five innings in a nonconference contest at Melissa Cook Stadium.
No. 20 Notre Dame (27-6) won its 17th straight nonconference home game during the regular season dating back to March of the 2013 campaign. The Irish also claimed their 18th consecutive nonconference win of 2016 by downing IUPUI (10-22). Notre Dame finished the game with a 9-6 edge in total hits over the Jaguars, adding four stolen bases in as many attempts.
Notre Dame starter Allie Rhodes logged two quick outs against the IUPUI order in the top of the first inning before Ali Mosier clubbed a solo home run to center field. Mosier’s eighth home run of the year put the Jaguars ahead 1-0. Rhodes forced Taylor Chitwood to strike out swinging to end the inning one batter later.
IUPUI extended the lead thanks to a Kaitlyn Moody solo home run to left center field in the top of the second, pushing the Jaguars ahead 2-0. Rhodes struck out Sarah Lawrence swinging for the inning’s final out to halt the IUPUI bats.
Notre Dame roared back with a six-run bottom of the second inning. Following a Morgan Reed single to third base and an illegal pitch called on IUPUI starter Brooke Boetjer (6-10), Megan Sorlie brought Reed around to score with an RBI double to the left center field gap to close the Irish margin to 2-1.
Later in the bottom of the second, co-captain Karley Wester reached on a sneaky bunt single to third base before moving into scoring position with a stolen base. Ali Wester then slapped a two-run single past shortstop to score two runs and put Notre Dame ahead 3-2. Caitlyn Brooks cleared the bases two batters later following a Micaela Arizmendi infield single, smashing a laser beam three-run home run over the left field wall. Brooks’ seventh home run of the season gave the Irish a 6-2 lead.
IUPUI clawed back with a run in the top of the third inning after Morgan Schlobohm lined an RBI double to right field that scored Alyssa Neff and brought the Jaguars within three runs at 6-3. Rachel Nasland (10-1) retired the next two Jaguar hitters by way of a Mosier strikeout and a Chitwood fly out to right field to stop the IUPUI rally.
Nasland added a shutout effort in the top of the fourth inning to maintain the Notre Dame lead. With runners at first and second base, Nasland forced Lawrence to ground out to Melissa Rochford at third base, where the Irish infielder made the tag on lead runner Maggie Good for a crucial second out. Nasland then struck Neff out swinging on a 2-2 offering to strand two Jaguar runners on the bases.
Notre Dame broke the contest open for good in the bottom of the fourth inning by throwing five additional runs on the scoreboard. Ali Wester got things started with a single up the middle before Arizmendi and Brooks each walked to load the bases with nobody out. Rochford sent a towering sacrifice fly to left field that allowed Wester to tag and up the Notre Dame lead to 7-3.
Maddie McCracken followed in the bottom of the fourth by being hit by a pitch to once more load the bases, where a Reed single to right field off IUPUI reliever Nickole Finch made it 8-3 Irish. A Sorlie bases loaded walk, a Bailey Bigler RBI hit by pitch and a Karley Wester RBI groundout capped the Notre Dame scoring for the day at 11-3.
Ali Wester led all players with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate to go along with two RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored in powering the Notre Dame offense. Reed added a pair of singles and two runs scored, while Brooks notched three RBI on her home run and crossed the plate twice. Sorlie was the other key Irish run producer with two RBI.
Katie Beriont entered in relief in the top of the fifth inning and worked back from a leadoff walk issued to Delilah Wright to record three straight outs. Schlobohm struck out swinging, Mosier reached on a fielder’s choice back to the circle that put Wright out at second base and Chitwood grounded out to shortstop to end the game.
An update to the Notre Dame schedule will be released on Wednesday in regard to planned games for the rest of the week. The Irish are scheduled to welcome Pittsburgh to Melissa Cook Stadium for a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) series this weekend.
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 at Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.