May 7, 2015
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Pittsburgh utilized a four-run first inning to jump out to an early lead and never looked back, downing the University of Notre Dame softball team 8-1 on Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship at Tech Softball Park.
The first four Pittsburgh (34-19) batters reached in the top of the first inning, capped by an RBI single into left field by McKayla Taylor to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. A two-run single into left center by Carly Thea quickly made it 3-0 in favor of Pittsburgh. The Panthers added an RBI groundout from Jordan Fannin later in the inning (4-0).
Sophomore Rachel Nasland threw a scoreless top of the second inning in relief to slow the Pittsburgh offense off its torrid pace. A pair of fly ball outs and a groundout to second base by Jenna Modic allowed Nasland to work around a single and retire the Panther order.
Junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi picked up the first Notre Dame (40-13) hit of the night, lacing a leadoff double off the center field wall against Pittsburgh starter Savannah King (19-7) in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman Sara White drew a full-count, two-out walk, but King struck out junior Megan Sorlie to end the Irish threat.
Pittsburgh continued the surge in the top of the third, as Fannin came through with an RBI triple to the right field gap that scored two runs to make it 6-0. Nasland worked out of further danger by grounding Ashlee Sills out to second base.
A leadoff double by senior Cassidy Whidden in the bottom of the fourth inning and an RBI single to right field two batters later by White put the first Notre Dame run of the game on the board, trimming the Irish deficit to 6-1.
Pittsburgh capped its scoring with two more runs in the top half of the sixth frame. A Taylor double and a Thea sacrifice fly extended the Panthers lead to 8-1.
Notre Dame awaits its fate as a probable at-large selection for the 2015 NCAA Championship, with selections to be announced on Sunday night.
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.