Feb. 24, 2018
by Tony Jones
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – In its final game of the 2018 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, the University of Notre Dame softball team rode 10 hits on offense and a three-hit performance on defense in a 7-1 win over St. John’s on Saturday on Pawtucket Field at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex.
No. RV/25 Notre Dame (7-7) rebounded from an early 1-0 deficit to score the game’s final seven runs against St. John’s (2-7), blitzing the Red Storm for five runs over the first three innings alone. Ali Wester, Abby Sweet, Cait Brooks, Katie Marino and Sarah Genz each finished with runs batted in toward the Irish cause.
How It Happened
St. John’s struck first with a slap single, stolen base and RBI double in the top of the first inning, taking a 1-0 lead. Notre Dame starter Alexis Holloway (5-4) bounced back with three straight outs to stifle the Red Storm.
Notre Dame wasted little time taking control of the game in the bottom of the first. Morgan Reed led off the inning with a triple to left field, and two batters later Abby Sweet drove Reed home with a triple of her own to right center to tie the game at 1-1. Cait Brooks kept the sequence going with an RBI single to right center to plate Sweet for a 2-1 Irish lead.
Holloway retired the St. John’s side in order in the top of the second frame. A groundout to Katie Marino at second base, a fly out down the line in right field that was snagged by a diving Alexis Bazos and a swinging strikeout ended the Red Storm ups.
Melissa Rochford got the Notre Dame offense in gear with two outs in the bottom of the second, ripping a single into center field. Reed clubbed a single up the middle one batter later, and both runners moved into scoring position with stolen bases. Ali Wester cashed in the RBI chance by rocking a single up the middle to clear the bases and vault Notre Dame ahead 4-1.
Three straight pop outs to Notre Dame fielders forced by Holloway kept the St. John’s order at bay in the top of the third. With one out in the bottom of the third inning, Katie Marino blasted off with a solo home run over the fence in left field. Marino’s fourth homer of the season pushed the Irish lead to 5-1.
After being sat down 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth inning, St. John’s broke back through against Holloway with a leadoff walk in the fifth. A pop up to catcher Madison Heide and back-to-back swinging strikeouts stranded the runner aboard.
The Irish tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Brooks led off with a walk, and pinch runner Chelsea Purcell advanced into scoring position on a Marino infield single. Pinch hitter Sarah Genz hung in on a full-count pitch and ripped an RBI single up the middle, scoring Purcell to make it 6-1 Notre Dame.
Following a scoreless top of the sixth inning, and after Reed came home to score in the home half to make it 7-1 Notre Dame, St. John’s logged its first hit since the opening inning with a one-out single into center field in the top of the seventh. With a pair of runners aboard, Holloway picked up a swinging strikeout and a strikeout looking to end the game.
-Notre Dame improved to 36-1 all-time in its series against St. John’s, winning for just the second time on a neutral field.
-Morgan Reed tied a career high with three runs scored, marking the fifth time in her Notre Dame tenure that she crossed home plate three times in a single game.
-Katie Marino hit her team-high fourth home run of the season in the third inning, equaling her home run total from her freshman season in 2017 – Marino hit her fourth home run of this season in only 35 at-bats, after taking a total of 129 official at-bats with four home runs last season.
-Sarah Genz notched her first career hit and RBI, driving home Chelsea Purcell in the fifth inning with a single into center field.
-Alexis Holloway threw her sixth complete game in the first eight starts of her freshman season, allowing three hits and a lone run with seven strikeouts against St. John’s – The Red Storm went 21 total plate appearances between hits (first through seventh inning) against Holloway.
The Irish travel to the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic from March 2-4 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida.
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, men’s soccer and swimming and diving 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 Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.