March 2, 2018
by Tony Jones
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The University of Notre Dame softball team exploded for 28 hits in just under 12 innings on offense on Friday during day one of the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic, downing UMass 11-9 before blanking Fordham 8-0 in five innings at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
No. RV Notre Dame (9-7) enjoyed standout offensive performances from MK Bonamy (.750 average, two RBI, three runs scored) Abby Sweet (.714 average, two RBI, three stolen bases, two runs scored), Alexis Bazos (.667 average, two RBI, two runs scored), Ali Wester (.571 average, two RBI, two stolen bases and three runs scored) and Morgan Reed (.571 average, one home run, four RBI, three runs scored). The Irish out-hit their opposition 28-8 on the day, posting a .452 team batting average to a .186 combined clip for both UMass and Fordham.
Alexis Holloway (7-4) was the winning pitcher in both games for Notre Dame, surrendering two runs over 8.2 innings on just four hits. Opponents batted .143 against Holloway on the day, striking out nine times.
How It Happened
Notre Dame found the scoreboard first in the top of the second inning. MK Bonamy singled up the middle, and a hit by pitch with Melissa Rochford at the plate moved Bonamy to second base. A wild pitch put both runners in scoring position, where Alexis Bazos drove Bonamy home with an RBI single for the 1-0 Irish lead. After a Morgan Reed walk, Ali Wester ripped a two-run single for the 3-0 Notre Dame advantage.
The Irish exploded for four additional runs in the top of third frame. Bonamy doubled to center to lead off her second straight inning, and Maddie McCracken brought her home with a double off the fencer of her own for a 4-0 lead. A Bazos sacrifice fly made it 5-0 Notre Dame, and Reed blasted off for a two-run home run to right field. Reed’s fourth of the year made it 7-0 Irish.
In a 7-7 game in the top of the sixth, Notre Dame stormed back in front. Katie Marino and Bonamy both singled, reaching scoring position with a passed ball. Marino came across to score on a fielding error later in the inning to push the Irish ahead 8-7.
After UMass re-took the lead at 9-8, Notre Dame wrestled control away once more in the top of the seventh inning. Ali Wester and Abby Sweet led off with singles, and the bases were loaded when Cait Brooks reached via error. Wester ultimately scored on a wild pitch, and Bonamy cleared the bags with a two-run single up the middle to vault the Irish ahead 11-9.
Alexis Holloway retired the Fordham side in order in the bottom of the first inning. Two flyouts and a swinging strikeout sat down the Rams.
Notre Dame raced ahead with four runs in the bottom of the second. Morgan Reed drove in both Melissa Rochford and Alexis Bazos with a two-run single to second, putting the Irish up 2-0. Reed later stole home (4-0) before Ali Wester came across on an Abby Sweet RBI single for the 5-0 Notre Dame edge.
It was a three-up, three-down for Holloway in the top of the fourth inning. A swinging strikeout, a putout on an attempted bunt and a strikeout looking got Notre Dame out of the inning.
RBI singles for Sweet and Cait Brooks pushed the Irish to the verge of victory with a 7-0 lead after four innings. After Holloway left two Fordham runners on the bases in the top of the fifth stanza, Notre Dame put the game away in the bottom of the fifth. MK Bonamy led off with a single to shortstop, and took second base by way of a wild pitch. Bazos reached on a throwing error with two outs on a tricky grounder down the first base line, allowing Bonamy to score for the winning run (8-0).
The Irish resume play at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic against UC Santa Barbara (due to Binghamton being unable to travel to the tournament as a result of inclement weather) at 12:30 p.m. (ET) and FIU at 3 p.m. (ET) on Saturday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
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.
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.