Freshman Katie Beriont earned her first career win Friday night in Notre Dame's come from behind thriller at No. 6/7 UCLA

#21/22 Irish Stun #6/7 UCLA To Complete So Cal Collegiate Day One Sweep

Feb. 7, 2015

#21 ND 8, #6 UCLA 4 Get Acrobat Reader

#21 ND 3, Utah 1 Get Acrobat Reader

LOS ANGELES – A two-run deficit entering the top of the seventh inning could not thwart the University of Notre Dame softball team on Friday. Facing one of the top pitchers in the NCAA, the Irish rallied with a remarkable six runs in the top of the seventh to stun No. 6/7 UCLA 8-4 to close day one of the So Cal Collegiate Classic at Easton Stadium.

No. 21/22 Notre Dame (2-0) earned its first win in nine tries against UCLA (2-1) all-time. The Irish outhit the Bruins 10-6 during the contest, while both teams combined for seven errors on the night. Notre Dame won its season opening contest over Utah 3-1 earlier in the day at Easton Stadium.

“The thing that we kept going back to with the girls was that we just had to make contact with the ball, let (UCLA’s Ally Carda’s) speed do the rest,” Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf said. “That’s what we tried to focus on, and we had a lot of opportunities early, we just didn’t let that happen. We started chasing her great pitches out of the zone, but what we kept preaching all along was keep making contact, she will do the rest of the work for us. That was how we approached it and the girls did a great job, they made them make mistakes.”

Freshman Sara White claimed the game-winning RBI by drawing a bases loaded walk in the top of the seventh, while sophomore Kimmy Sullivan chipped in two insurance RBI during the six-run Notre Dame frame against All-American and United States National Team member Ally Carda (2-1).

“Those are two girls who are working their tails off to get into the starting lineup, and to see good things happen for them especially after their at-bats before that was even sweeter,” Gumpf said. “It was even more important that they got it done then.”

Sophomore pitcher Rachel Nasland was extremely effective in her first start of 2015, surrendering five hits over 5.2 innings, striking out seven UCLA batters. A total of 76 of Nasland’s 117 pitches were officially credited as strikes.

“Rachel made them think,” Gumpf said. “Rachel is a great pitcher because she makes hitters think. She dominated the inside early and got them to go chasing a little bit outside, I thought she had a great game and loved how she executed.

“I felt like she knew what she needed to do to beat every single hitter, and that’s a really good sign for Rach,” Gumpf added. “When Rach knows how to beat every hitter, we are in a really good place.”

Freshman Katie Beriont (1-0) earned the win in her first career collegiate appearance, working 1.1 innings of shutout relief. She faced UCLA’s number two through seven hitters, surrendering only one hit and one walk, striking out one Bruin hitter.

“It’s just what I wanted for Katie,” Gumpf said. “She’s had such a good preseason, and to know what she’s capable of doing and getting her out there to shut down this team’s hitters, it was awesome.”

The celebration time and rest will be short-lived for Notre Dame, as the Irish return to the diamond for day two of the So Cal Collegiate Classic on Saturday at Cal State Fullerton. Notre Dame and Northwestern State are scheduled for an 11 a.m. (PT) first pitch.

“We already talked about tomorrow,” Gumpf said. “Enjoy this for 10 minutes, and then we’ve got to move on. It’s time to go play hard tomorrow and get after it a little bit.”

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Game Two – No. 21/22 Notre Dame 8, No. 6/7 UCLA 4

The heroics truly began for Notre Dame in the top of the seventh inning after UCLA took a 4-2 lead during its previous ups. Sophomore All-American Karley Wester began the rally with a single through the left side off Ally Carda (2-1), later advancing to third base following a UCLA throwing error. A walk drawn by senior two-time All-American Emilee Koerner and a fielder’s choice RBI ground out for junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi cut the deficit to 4-3. Senior Jenna Simon then came across as the tying run after a throwing error from Bruin first baseman Stephany LaRosa skirted wide of the catcher, evening up the game at 4-4.

Notre Dame took control from that point on. Senior Cassidy Whidden was hit by a pitch during the next Irish at-bat, loading the bases for freshman Sara White with two outs. A full-count walk to White scored Arizmendi from third base, giving Notre Dame the lead back at 5-4. Sophomore Kimmy Sullivan followed with a crucial two-run single up the middle, scoring both Whidden and classmate Katey Haus to up the Irish cushion to 7-4. After another UCLA fielding error allowed Wester to reach safely, Simon was hit by a pitch to push across the eighth and final Notre Dame run (8-4).

Freshman Katie Beriont (1-0) threw a scoreless final half inning in the seventh, retiring Brittany Moeai on a ground out to shortstop to complete the comeback.

Sophomore hurler Rachel Nasland picked up right where she left off during the 2014 NCAA Los Angeles Regional against UCLA, fouling out Delaney Spaulding and striking out Allexis Bennett to open the bottom of the first inning. National Player of the Year candidate Carda followed with a four-pitch walk before Nasland induced a LaRosa line drive out to Wester in left for the third and final out.

Haus picked up the first Notre Dame hit of the evening, lacing a one-out single into center field off UCLA starter Johanna Grauer in the top of the second. Fellow senior Whidden followed with a sharp double down the left field line to put a pair of Irish runners in scoring position with one out. Grauer escaped the jam with a pair of infield grounders to strand two Notre Dame players on the base paths.

A fielding error was the only damage seen by Nasland in the bottom of the second inning. Maddy Jelenicki grounded out to White at shortstop before Nasland struck out Gabrielle Maurice and Mysha Sataraka swinging to keep the Bruins at bay in their half of the frame.

With two outs in the top of the third, Simon slapped an infield single against the shift, legging out a crucial hit into the teeth of the UCLA right side. Koerner made Grauer pay, blasting a 2-0 pitch deep and gone to right center field, pushing Notre Dame in front 2-0. The homer gave the Irish their first lead at Easton Stadium since a three-run sixth frame put Notre Dame in front 3-2 on March 10, 1998 (a 4-3 UCLA win in 10 innings).

Nasland issued a walk to Spaulding in the bottom of the third inning, but a great throw from Whidden behind the plate gunned a stealing Spaulding down at second base for a big out number two. Bennett flew out to left field one batter later to turn UCLA away in the inning.

The Bruins battled back in the bottom of the fourth inning, as a leadoff double from Carda set the stage for an RBI two-bagger into the right center gap from Jelenicki, trimming the Notre Dame lead to 2-1. With two on and two outs, Sataraka clubbed a deep shot to left field that likely sailed over Sunset Boulevard in the night sky, but was way wide of the foul pole. Nasland took advantage, striking the UCLA third baseman out swinging on a 0-2 offering to stun the Bruin attack.

UCLA tied the contest in the bottom of the fifth with one away, setting the stage for a LaRosa fly ball to shallow center field. A great throw from Koerner to the plate could not beat a streaking Spaulding, who slid under Whidden’s tag to tie the game at 2-2.

Haus reached on a throwing error by the UCLA shortstop Spaulding to open the top of the sixth inning, and pinch runner Morgan Reed advanced all the way to third on Whidden’s second laser beam double of the night into the left corner. Carda showed why she is one of the nation’s premier pitchers, recording three huge strikeouts to turn Notre Dame aside.

UCLA claimed its first lead on a Spaulding base hit to left field with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, scoring Maurice to give the Bruins a 3-2 advantage. A fielding error when Notre Dame’s Whidden had Gracie Goulder caught in a rundown allowed another Bruin run to score, giving UCLA a 4-2 cushion. Beriont struck out Bennett swinging for her first career K to halt the threat.

Game One – No. 21/22 Notre Dame 3, Utah 1

Junior starter Allie Rhodes (1-0) motored through the top of the first inning, retiring the Utah side in order. Hannah Flippen popped up to freshman shortstop Morgan Reed before Rhodes froze Kristen Stewart looking on a 3-2 off speed pitch. Rhodes then punched Kate Dickman out swinging to end the half of the frame.

Rhodes kept the momentum up in the top of the second, forcing Anissa Urtez to fly out to junior Megan Sorlie in right field before striking out Bridget Castro and Heather Bowen swinging on consecutive at-bats to toss another zero into the Utah (0-2) run column.

A bloop single into left field by senior Katey Haus in the bottom of the second inning gave Notre Dame its first hit of 2015. Utah starter Katie Donovan (0-1) limited the damage, popping senior catcher Cassidy Whidden out to second base before grounding junior Casey Africano out to shortstop to strand the Irish runner on base.

Notre Dame struck first in the bottom of the third inning. Sorlie worked a five-pitch walk off Donovan, and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt from the freshman Reed. Two batters later, senior Jenna Simon placed a perfect infield single down the third base line, scoring Sorlie from third to put the Irish in front 1-0.

Dickman earned the first Utes hit of the day, grooving a Rhodes pitch off the wall in left center field for a double in the top of the fourth. The Notre Dame starter was up to the task, retiring the next three Utah hitters in order to strand Dickman at third base.

Rhodes kept the momentum rolling in the circle in the top of the fifth inning, forcing Shelby Pacheco to fly out deep to left field before striking Marissa Mendenhall and Maddy Woodard out consecutively to blank Utah during its half of the fifth.

Back-to-back singles from Reed and sophomore All-American Karley Wester with one away in the bottom of the fifth set the table for senior two-time All-American Emilee Koerner. Koerner ripped her Notre Dame leading 62nd career double off the wall in right center, plating Reed to extend the Irish lead to 2-0. Wester was retired trying to score from first base on a great relay play from the Utah outfield to stall the Notre Dame surge.

A sharp single from Dickman through the right side got the Utah offense in motion with two outs in the top of the sixth inning. Urtez looked to inside out a base hit into right field, but a diving snag from the southpaw Sorlie robbed the hit and gave Rhodes another shutout frame.

Whidden made her presence felt with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a bomb that clipped the top of the Easton Stadium scoreboard in left field for her first home run of the year, giving Notre Dame a 3-0 cushion.

Utah kept the game rolling in the top of the seventh inning, as doubles from Castro and Mendenhall trimmed the Notre Dame lead to 3-1 with two outs. Rhodes induced a fly out off the bat of Woodard to Sorlie in right field to end the contest.


— Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant