March 14, 2018
by Tony Jones
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A sixth-inning RBI single by MK Bonamy pushed the University of Notre Dame softball team back in front, and an insurance RBI single in the seventh by Ali Wester provided the winning margin in a 3-1 Irish victory over Jacksonville on Wednesday at the Pruitt Softball Complex.
Notre Dame (16-8) claimed all three games during its Florida swing on spring break after sweeping a doubleheader at North Florida on Tuesday. The Irish have now won 34 straight nonconference, non-tournament midweek games in the regular season since April of 2014.
Morgan Reed paced all Notre Dame batters with two hits in the win over Jacksonville (14-13), while Abby Sweet scored a pair of runs. Cait Brooks joined Bonamy and Wester in the RBI column against the Dolphins.
Katie Beriont (5-4) threw five innings of four-hit softball, surrendering a lone run and adding two strikeouts. Alexis Holloway notched her second save in as many appearances by throwing two shutout innings to finish the game.
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How It Happened
Notre Dame raced out to a 1-0 lead over Jacksonville in the top of the first inning. Ali Wester (walk) and Abby Sweet (hit by pitch) both reached to lead off the game, and despite a double play, Cait Brooks was able to push the Irish in front. A two-out RBI double off the fence in right center for Brooks scored Sweet for the game’s first run.
After Jacksonville managed a one-out single of its own in the bottom of the first, Notre Dame starter Katie Beriont quickly got the Irish out of the jam. A line drive in foul ground to MK Bonamy down the chalk at first allowed Bonamy to flip to Katie Marino covering the bag at first for a big double play.
Stellar Notre Dame defense continued behind Beriont in the bottom of the second inning. Sweet chased down a long fly ball in center for the first out, Marino made a great diving stop behind first base and made the flip for the out, and Melissa Rochford hauled in a hot shot at third base and made the turn for the 1-2-3 inning.
A leadoff double and a one-out walk allowed Jacksonville to threaten in the bottom of the third, but Beriont was up to the task once again. A line drive out to Rochford at third and a swinging strikeout left a pair of Dolphin runners aboard.
Following a three-up, three-down effort for the Notre Dame defense in the bottom of the fourth, Jacksonville tied the game with a solo home run in the fifth inning that carried out to left center field. Beriont managed to strand a follow-up single on the bases with a ground ball out to second.
Notre Dame quickly reclaimed the lead in the top of the sixth. Sweet singled up the middle, and Morgan Reed dropped a base hit into left to start the rally. After Marino was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Bonamy sprayed an 0-2 pitch into right field for the RBI single, scoring Sweet for the 2-1 Irish edge.
Jacksonville picked up two quick hits against Alexis Holloway in the bottom of the sixth inning, with a sacrifice bunt moving the runners into scoring position. The Dolphins attempted the safety squeeze to push the tying run across, but Holloway fielded her position and made a nice flip to Madison Heide for the out at home. A chopper toward first was corralled by Bonamy to leave two runners aboard.
Rochford led off the top of the seventh by being hit by pitch, moving into scoring position on a successful Sara White sacrifice bunt. Alexis Bazos roped a one-out single into left to move Rochford to third, where Wester ultimately brought her home with an RBI single through the left side for the 3-1 Notre Dame lead.
A one-out double to left field for Jacksonville allowed the Dolphins to bring the tying run to the plate twice in the bottom of the seventh inning, but ground ball outs to third base and shortstop secured Holloway’s second save in as many days.
The Irish travel to Louisville for a three-game ACC set, with one game each day scheduled for Friday-Sunday at Ulmer Stadium.
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.