April 18, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — A beautiful afternoon. A great cause. The stadium adorned in orange in support of childhood leukemia awareness. With the backdrop set for a perfect day at the ballpark the University of Notre Dame softball team also delivered on the field, downing Syracuse 10-1 in five innings before taking the nightcap from the Orange 7-6 on Saturday during the fifth annual Strikeout Cancer series at Melissa Cook Stadium.
The doubleheader marked the second official day of the weekend-long Strikeout Cancer celebration, which raised more than $35,000 for children in Indiana battling cancer during the first two days. As per the tradition of the weekend, Notre Dame wore navy jerseys with orange numbers and accents, with orange being the official color of pediatric leukemia awareness.
No. 25 Notre Dame (36-11, 15-5 ACC) officially won its fifth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference series, and improved to a perfect 15-0 at Melissa Cook Stadium this season. The Irish also extended their current winning streak to 22 straight games overall, the second-longest streak in the 27-year history of the Notre Dame softball program (33 by the 2001 Irish team).
The Irish scored in each of the four innings they batted during the game one victory, scoring 10 runs on eight hits. Notre Dame added its seven runs on 13 hits during the second game of the twin bill to complete the sweep, scoring all of its runs over the final four innings.
Senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner enjoyed the most successful day at the plate for Notre Dame, going a cumulative 4-for-5 (.800) with a double, home run, four RBI and a team-high four runs scored. Classmate Katey Haus added two doubles, four RBI and a pair of runs scored on the day, while junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi smashed a home run and drove in three runs.
Junior Allie Rhodes (15-4) logged the complete game win in the opener against Syracuse (17-24, 1-12 ACC) after allowing one run on six hits, walking three with six strikeouts. Rhodes was summoned from the bullpen in the top of the fifth of game two and closed the door on the Orange, tossing 2.2 innings of one-hit softball to go along with four strikeouts for her second victory of the afternoon.
Notre Dame and Syracuse are scheduled to close the three-game ACC series on Sunday at noon (ET) at Melissa Cook Stadium. Live coverage will be available via WatchND.
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.
Game 1 — #25 Notre Dame 10, Syracuse 1 (five innings)
Maddi Doane battled back from a quick 0-2 hole in the top of the first inning to pick up a leadoff single against junior Allie Rhodes. After a pair of pop outs to senior co-captain Jenna Simon at second base, Rhodes struck out Sydney O’Hara swinging to end the Syracuse ups and strand Doane at second base.
Senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner wasted little time in making her presence felt in the bottom of the first inning, crushing the first pitch she saw from Syracuse starter Jocelyn Cater (12-15) off the right field fair pole. Koerner’s ninth home run of the year gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. Senior Katey Haus drew a full-count walk to set the table for junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi, who clubbed a two-run home run of her own over the right field fence to make it 3-0 Irish.
Syracuse was able to load the bases with one out in the top of the second thanks to back-to-back singles from Alyssa Dewes and Sammy Fernandez. Rhodes did her part to get out of the jam, flying Doane out to junior Megan Sorlie in right field to leave the bases full of Orange.
Notre Dame kept the offensive momentum rolling in the bottom of the second inning. An infield single by Sorlie and a walk drawn by senior co-captain Jenna Simon put two Irish runners on base with nobody out. Koerner connected on an RBI single to right field, plating Sorlie to up the Notre Dame advantage to 4-0. Haus then ripped a two-run single past the shortstop and second base bag one batter later, clearing the bases to extend the Irish edge to 6-0.
A seeing-eye single up the middle by O’Hara was all the Syracuse offense could muster against Rhodes in the top of the third frame. Danielle Chitkowski gave a two-strike, two-out pitch a ride to center into the waiting glove of Koerner for the inning’s final out.
Koerner picked up her third RBI of the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, drawing a full-count walk to score freshman Sara White from third base (7-0). A Cater wild pitch one batter later allowed Simon to also cross the plate to give Notre Dame an 8-0 cushion.
A pair of strikeouts by Rhodes, including forcing Doane to swing at a 1-2 offering to leave Dombrowski stranded on the base paths, capped the top of the fourth inning.
An Arizmendi double and a senior Cassidy Whidden single put a pair of Notre Dame runners on against Syracuse reliever Lindsey Larkin in the bottom of the fourth. Pinch runner Carly Piccinich moved over into scoring position at second with a stolen base. White chopped a hard dribbler over to second base one batter later, and an Orange fielding error allowed Arizmendi and Piccinich to score to put Notre Dame up 10-1.
Game 2 — #25 Notre Dame 7, Syracuse 6
Syracuse took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the nightcap after Julie Wambold and Corinne Ozanne hit back-to-back doubles, with Ozanne’s two-bagger scoring Wambold. Freshman Katie Beriont forced Sydney O’Hara to ground out to second base and lined Danielle Chitkowski out back to the circle to strand Ozanne at third base.
Beriont motored through the Orange lineup in order during the top of the second frame. Mary Dombrowski struck out swinging, Rachel Burkhardt flew out to left field and Alyssa Dewes grounded out to second base.
It was another 1-2-3 inning for Beriont and the Notre Dame defense in the top of the third. Sammy Fernandez popped out to shortstop, Maddi Doane grounded out to second base and Wambold struck out swinging to sit Syracuse down in order.
The Irish finally got on the board after manufacturing a run with the bases loaded against Syracuse starter AnnaMarie Gatti (1-3) in the bottom of the third inning. Junior Megan Sorlie was hit by a pitch, and senior co-captain Jenna Simon laid down an artful slap single back to the circle. After sophomore All-American and 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Top 26 Finalist Karley Wester added an infield single to the left side, senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner scored Sorlie with a sacrifice fly to center, tying the game at 1-1.
Syracuse reclaimed the lead on a two-run home run to straightaway center by O’Hara in the top of the fourth, pushing the Orange in front 3-1. Freshman Sara White entered the circle from the designated player spot and worked around a two-out walk, striking Chitkowski, Dombrowski and Dewes out swinging to stall the Syracuse offense.
Junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi kicked off the bottom of the fourth inning by working a walk on five pitches against Gatti. Senior Cassidy Whidden needed only three pitches to find one to her liking, crushing a breaking ball deep into the bleachers in left field. Whidden’s 10th home run of the season tied the game at 3-3.
O’Hara drilled her second straight home run, taking a three-run shot over the fence in right center field to push Syracuse back in front 6-3 in the top of the fifth inning.
Notre Dame roared back with three runs of its own in the bottom of the fifth. An RBI double to the gap in right center by Haus scored Wester from second base, with a fielding error by the Syracuse outfield bringing Koerner in as well to trim the deficit to 6-5. Arizmendi followed with a sharp single through the left side to plate Haus and tie the game at 6-6.
Junior Allie Rhodes put together a solid inning of relief for Notre Dame in the top of the sixth inning. Dombrowski struck out swinging, Burkhardt fouled out to first base and Dewes flew out to Sorlie in right field.
The Irish claimed their first lead of the ballgame with back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the sixth. Koerner laced a two-out two-bagger down the right field line off Gatti before Haus deposited her second double of the day into the right center field gap, scoring Koerner to give Notre Dame a 7-6 advantage.
Rhodes worked a 1-2-3 top of the seventh inning to nail down the victory. Fernandez grounded out to shortstop, Doane popped up to shortstop and Wambold struck out swinging for the final out.