NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame (25-13, 8-5 ACC) controlled Friday’s matchup against NC State (22-19, 3-10 ACC) from the first pitch, winning the series opener by a score of 11-2 in just five innings of play. The win improves the Irish record at Melissa Cook Stadium to 8-1 on the season.
The offense was explosive against the Wolfpack, as the Irish combined to go 12-of-22 at the dish over the four innings of plate appearances. Melissa Rochford and Abby Sweet did the majority of the damage at the plate, each recording two hits and a three-run home run. Ali Wester went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate to raise her average to an impressive .425 on the season.
Payton Tidd did exactly what she needed to do in the circle for Notre Dame, holding NC State to just two runs on the evening. Tidd picked up her 16th win of the season and punched out five batters while allowing just four hits in the winning effort.
Bottom 1 | The Irish jumped on the Wolfpack pitching early in the series opener, racing out to an early 3-0 lead in the first. With no one on and two outs, Cait Brooks got the Irish started with an infield single to third followed by Melisa Rochford taking first on a hit-by-pitch. Sweet stepped to the dish and unleashed a towering three-run shot over the wall in left center to put the Irish in front 3-0. The home run was the second of the season and fifth of her career for the sophomore.
Top 2 | Notre Dame got the all-important shutdown inning following the three runs in the first thanks to Tidd getting the team out of a jam. The Wolfpack threatened in the second by loading the bases from an error and two walks. Tidd came up with a huge strikeout to end the frame, fanning the second NC State player of the day to keep the lead intact.
Bottom 3 | The Irish managed to scrape another run across the plate in the bottom of the third to increase their lead to 4-0. A single by Rochford to short stop started the inning and the senior advanced to third off an error and fielder’s choice. Quinn Biggio did her job by flying out to left to bring Rochford in on the sacrafice fly.
Bottom 4 | The offense erupted for seven runs in the fourth frame, as Notre Dame batted around to put the game away. The Irish loaded the bases with no outs and Brooks cranked a pitch deep to left center for a double to score two. One batter later Rochford launched the team’s second three-run homer of the day to straight away center to break the game wide open at 9-0. The home run was the second of the season for the senior and 12th of her career. Notre Dame went on to tack on two more runs in the inning to put the game out of reach.
The Irish are back in action on Saturday, wrapping up the series against NC State with a doubleheader that begins at 1 p.m. ET at Melissa Cook Stadium. The two games will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra via the WatchESPN app or WatchESPN.com.