Feb. 8, 2015
The game was officially called in the top of the seventh inning after No. 21/22 Notre Dame (4-1) loaded the bases with nobody out. The Irish were on a tight schedule to meet their planned departure time out of Los Angeles.
Notre Dame finished the contest with four home runs against Cal State Fullerton (4-1), adding two stolen bases on the day. The team’s 13 hits were a season-high, and marked the third multi-hit outing for the Irish in five games.
Sophomore All-American Karley Wester reached quickly in the top of the first inning, lining a base hit up the middle off Cal State Fullerton starter Jasmine Antunez (1-1). Antunez rebounded by retiring the next three Notre Dame hitters she faced to strand Wester at second base and end the Irish ups.
Cal State Fullerton’s Missy Taukeiaho continued her hot weekend at the plate, lining a leadoff single off the right ankle of Irish starter Katie Beriont in the bottom of the first. Beriont remained in the contest and responded nicely, striking out Kylie Padilla looking on a 0-2 delivery for the inning’s third out, holding Taukeiaho at second base.
Senior Katey Haus wasted no time with one out in the top of the second, crushing a solo shot over the center field wall that was just beyond the reach of Titan center fielder Courtney Rodriguez. Haus’ second blast of the year gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
Beriont retired the Titans in order in the bottom of the second inning, punctuated by a great play by freshman Morgan Reed to field a high chopper behind the bag at second and throw out Cal State Fullerton’s Melissa Sechrest. Beriont induced a ground out from Sarah Moore to Reed at short to cap the 1-2-3 frame.
Notre Dame turned up the offensive heat in the top of the third inning. Senior Jenna Simon worked a five-pitch walk before advancing to second on a stolen base. A slap single through the left side by senior two-time All-American Emilee Koerner moved Simon over to third base. After Koerner stole second base herself, senior Cassidy Whidden plated Simon with a sacrifice fly to right, extending the Irish cushion to 2-0. On the very next pitch, junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi crushed a two-run bomb over the center field wall, chasing Antunez and giving Notre Dame a 4-0 advantage.
Facing a full count with one out in the bottom of the third, Taukeiaho hit her third home run of the weekend, clubbing a two-run shot over the right center field wall to cut the Notre Dame lead to 4-2. Following a triple to right center by Rodriguez, sophomore Rachel Nasland got the job done for the Irish in relief. A fly out from Eliza Crawford and strikeout swinging by Padilla left the tying Cal State Fullerton run standing at the plate.
Beriont surrendered two runs over 2.1 innings in the circle, walking one and striking out one in an effective no decision.
Junior Casey Africano dialed up the offense in the Notre Dame fourth inning, clubbing a 1-2 pitch from Desiree Ibarra deep over the wall in center. Africano’s first home run since the 2013 campaign extended the Irish lead to 5-2. Wester added a single and Koerner a four-pitch walk to bring Whidden to the plate with two outs. The senior catcher added to her phenomenal two-out hitting prowess with an RBI single to left, bringing Wester around from second base (6-2).
After allowing a leadoff single to Samantha Galarza in the bottom of the fourth, Nasland flew in from the circle to make a diving grab on a foul ball that Whidden lost behind the plate for a big first out. Cal State Fullerton placed an additional runner on after a full count walk, but froze Paige Kisling looking for an inning-ending strikeout.
Haus kept her hot opening weekend cruising in the top of the fifth inning, tattooing an Ybarra pitch over the wall for her second solo shot of the game to up the Notre Dame lead to 7-2.
Nasland cruised through the final two innings, surrendering only a walk to Padilla in the bottom of the sixth. Moore flied out to Koerner in center field for the final out of the game.
Nasland allowed one hit in her 3.2 frames out of the bullpen, walking two and striking out four Cal State Fullerton batters to earn her first win of the season.
Notre Dame returns to action next Saturday against Central Arkansas at 10 a.m. (CT) to begin play at the LSU Tiger Invitational in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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— Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant