Feb. 27, 2015
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – An impressive offensive display from the University of Notre Dame softball team was a key theme during both Irish games on day one of the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic on Friday. Notre Dame clubbed 23 hits, including seven for extra bases, to down No. 20 Missouri 3-2 and Georgetown 12-3 in five innings at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The No. 23 Irish (11-5) won their sixth straight game dating back to the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, claiming their fourth top 25 victory of 2015 with the one-run triumph over Missouri (8-3) in the first game of the day. Notre Dame established season highs in both runs, hits (14) and extra base hits (5) in the run-rule win against Georgetown (5-5), capped by a three-run walk-off home run by junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Arizmendi and senior Katey Haus led all players with a 4-for-6 (.667) output during the twin bill, with Arizmendi logging a team-high four RBI. Haus chipped in two doubles and three RBI, while freshman Sara White contributed three RBI.
Sophomore Rachel Nasland (4-2) yielded three hits to Missouri in a complete game effort to take the opening game. Junior Allie Rhodes (5-2) earned the win in the nightcap against Georgetown, striking out six batters in five full innings, walking one Hoya batter.
Notre Dame resumes the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic on Saturday with games against Mississippi State (3:30 p.m.) and Lehigh (5:45 p.m.) at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
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Game 1 – No. 23 Notre Dame 3, No. 20 Missouri 2
Sophomore All-American Karley Wester opened the contest with a single to left field off Missouri starter Tori Finucane (2-3). After Wester stole second base, Finucane retired two straight Notre Dame hitters before intentionally walking senior Katey Haus. Junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi logged an infield hit to load the bases with two outs. A lineout to first by senior Cassidy Whidden stranded all three Irish runners on base.
Reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week Rachel Nasland made quick work of the Missouri order in the bottom of the first inning. Taylor Gadbois lined out to freshman Morgan Reed at shortstop, Emily Crane flew out to center field and Sami Fagan popped out to short to retire the Tigers in order.
Nasland allowed only an infield single in the bottom half of the second, striking out Natalie Fleming looking and forcing Kirsten Mack to ground out to second base to end the Missouri ups.
An infield single from Haus and an Arizmendi hit by pitch gave the Irish two on with nobody out in the top of the fourth inning. A chopping fielder’s choice to shortstop by junior Casey Africano scored pinch runner Carly Piccinich from third base to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. Junior Megan Sorlie followed one batter later with a slap single through the left side, scoring pinch runner Kimmy Sullivan (2-0). Reed then laced a one-out double down the left field line, plating Africano to up the Irish advantage to 3-0.
Senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner led off the top of the fifth with a double into left field, chasing Finucane from the game. Missouri reliever Cheyenne Baxter escaped the jam to strand a pair of Notre Dame runners on the base paths.
Three fly ball outs against Nasland in the bottom of the fifth sat Missouri down in order. A Fleming fly out to center, a Mack lineout to shortstop and a Kelsea Roth fly out to left ended the Tigers inning 1-2-3.
The Tigers pushed a run as far as third in the bottom of the sixth inning after Corrin Genovese worked a leadoff walk, but Nasland induced a Fagan ground out to second base to hang another zero in the Missouri frame.
The Tigers scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh, but a Crane fly out with the bases loaded secured the Notre Dame victory.
Game 2 – #23 Notre Dame 12, Georgetown 3 (5 innings)
Junior pitcher Allie Rhodes cruised through the Georgetown lineup in the top of the first inning, retiring the side in order to silence the Hoya offense.
Sophomore All-American Karley Wester reached by way of a Georgetown error to lead off the bottom of the first, advancing to second on an infield single from senior co-captain Jenna Simon. A four-pitch walk to senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner loaded the bases with no outs. Senior Katey Haus worked a full-count walk against Lauren O’Leary (1-1) to score Wester and give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
Rhodes struck out the Hoya side in the top of the second inning, retiring Alessandra Gargicevich-Almeida, Grace Appelbe and Sophia Gargicevich-Almeida swinging on strikes to end the frame.
A Simon infield single and two stolen bases moved the Irish co-captain to third base in the Notre Dame third, where a Haus RBI double to left center field made it 2-0 Notre Dame. Junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi followed with an RBI double back to the same gap, plating Haus from second (3-0). Senior Cassidy Whidden and freshman Sara White added consecutive singles, scoring Arizmendi to make it 4-0 Notre Dame and chase O’Leary with one out.
Georgetown reliever Avery Geehr put out the first batter she faced, but junior Casey Africano ripped a two-out, two-run single into left to clear the bases and up the Irish lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the third.
Rhodes struck out Alessandra Gargicevich-Almeida swinging with two away in the top of the fourth to retire the Georgetown side.
White chipped in her second hit of the day in the bottom of the fourth inning, sending a two-out double to the right center gap off Geehr to score Arizmendi and Whidden and push the Notre Dame lead to 8-0.
Georgetown got on the board in the top of the fifth inning with a one-out RBI triple from Gabriela Elvina, scoring two runs to make it 8-2 Notre Dame. A sacrifice fly from Payton Lawton closed the gap further to 8-3. Rhodes forced Theresa Kane to ground out to White at shortstop to stop the Hoya rally.
Haus kept the hot hitting rolling with an RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the fifth, bringing Wester in from second base to extend the Notre Dame cushion to 9-3. Arizmendi ended the contest one batter later, crushing a moon shot over the right field wall to clear the bases with a walk-off, three-run home run.