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Irish Drop Heartbreaker To End NCAA Run

Notre Dame caps season in 21st straight NCAA Championship

NORMAN, Oklahoma — The Notre Dame softball team saw its 2019 season come to a close in spite of another solid pitching performance, as Wisconsin took a 5-4 victory to advance to the Norman Regional final. Payton Tidd went the distance for the second time in the regional, allowing just four hits and one earned run.

Tidd, who dropped a 4-2 decision to the Badgers in the regional opener allowing just one earned run, gave up four hits with six walks and eight strikeouts. Emma Clark was 3-for-4 with a run, while Ali Wester and Quinn Biggio had two hits apiece. Wester, Cait Brooks and Melissa Rochford each had an RBI in their final career games. Biggio had the fourth Notre Dame RBI.

Key Innings

Top 1st | Wester led off the ball game with a single then stole second before Marino popped up. Brooks then came through with an RBI single through the left side to score Wester and make it 1-0.

Bottom 1st | Wisconsin threatened to answer, but some slick defense kept the Badgers off the scoreboard. Kayla Konwent doubled to the gap in right-center to open the inning, but Taylor Johnson ripped a line drive down the line that was snared by Rochford at third. Rochford quickly threw to second to double-up Konwent who ran on contact. Tidd then struck Stephanie Lombardo out swinging on three pitches to keep it 1-0 Irish.


Top 3rd | The Irish added on in the first. Brooks led off with a walk and was pinch run for by Shelby Grimm. Rochford’s bunt went for a base hit before Sweet sacrifice bunted to move the runners up. Bonamy then hit a chopper that was snared by the pitcher, who threw Grimm out at the plate. Biggio then served a single to left to score Rochford before Heide struck out to end the inning with the Irish up 2-0.


Top 4th | Notre Dame added on in the fourth. Clark and Wester delivered consecutive bunt singles to start the frame, with Clark advancing to an unoccupied third base on the play. Marino was walked to load the bases for Brooks, who went down swinging, before Rochford grounded out to second, plating Clark. Sweet then grounded out to end the inning.

Bottom 4th | The Badgers would not go quietly. Konwent stared with a double to the wall in left-center before Johnson drew a walk. Tidd struck Lombardo out swinging for the first out, then Lauren Foster flew out to center. Melanie Cross hit a one-hopper to short that Biggio fielded on an in-between hop to retire the side and preserve the shutout.


Top 5th | The Irish plated another single run in the fifth. Bonamy started the inning when she reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, then Biggio hit into a fielder’s choice, with Bonamy retired at second. Sarah Genz pinch hit for Heide and reached on an infield single. The runners moved up on a wild pitch before Clark loaded the bases with an infield single. Wester rolled a ball to the second baseman, who went to second to retire Clark, but Biggio scored to make it 4-0. After Marino walked to load the bases, Brooks flew out to right.

Bottom 5th | A one-out walk went for naught for the Badgers in the fifth. After Kelly Welsh drew the free pass with one down, Jordan Little chopped a ball to Rochford who threw to second for the first and Marino turned the double play to end the inning.


Bottom 6th | Tidd left the bases full of Badgers in the sixth. After a strikeout to start the frame, Konwent drew a walk before Johnson rolled a ball to short that Biggio had no play on. Lombardo flew out before Foster drew the inning’s second walk to load the bases. Tidd answered the call, getting Cross to pop out to Bonamy to keep the shutout in tact.


Bottom 7th | Jolie Fish drew a leadoff walk to start the frame before Welsh double to right-center, scoring Fish to cut the Irish lead to 4-1. Little then went down swinging, but a Heide throw to try and catch Welsh at second beat Marino and ricocheted off her glove, allowing Welsh to advance to third. Ally Miklesh then reached on an error, allowing Welsh to score and cut it to 4-2. Konwent drew a walk before Taylor Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice to short, with Konwent retired a second. That put runners on the corners with two outs for Lombardo, who sent a 2-1 pitch just over the wall in left-center to win it for Wisconsin.

— ND —