March 12, 2018
by Tony Jones
Notre Dame at North Florida/Jacksonville
March 13-14, 2018
UNF Softball Complex/Pruitt Softball Complex
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(13-8 in 2018)
North Florida Ospreys
(13-11 in 2018)
(14-12 in 2018)
Notre Dame Midweek Schedule
Tuesday, March 13
Notre Dame at North Florida — 4 p.m. (ET)
Notre Dame at North Florida — 6:30 p.m. (ET)
Wednesday, March 14
Notre Dame at Jacksonville — 6 p.m. (ET)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Spring break games continue for the University of Notre Dame softball team this week in Jacksonville, Florida. The Irish are slated to play two games against North Florida at the UNF Softball Complex on Tuesday before venturing to Pruitt Softball Complex to face Jacksonville on Wednesday.
Notre Dame (13-8) is set for its first trip to the North Florida (13-11) campus with Tuesday’s doubleheader. The Irish were victorious in both of their prior stops on the Jacksonville (14-12) campus.
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Irish Break Out Bats At NC State
Guided by a 17-hit performance on offense in game one and a competitive pitching effort throughout the day, Notre Dame split its opening Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) doubleheader of the season on Saturday. The Irish blitzed NC State 15-0 in five innings before falling 4-1 in the nightcap to the Wolfpack at Dail Softball Stadium.
The Irish connected on a season-high 17 base hits in only five frames of the opening game against NC State, and the 15-run margin of victory was the largest for Notre Dame in league play since joining the conference in 2014.
Morgan Reed and Katie Marino led the way for the Notre Dame offense with three RBI each on the day, while Reed, Ali Wester and MK Bonamy all contributed three hits to the Irish cause. Reed ultimately scored three runs in five innings during the win in game one against NC State.
With the split, Notre Dame extended its series lead to 7-6 over NC State since joining the ACC in 2014, including an even 4-4 in Raleigh.
Holloway Hurls 1st No-Hitter
Freshman pitcher Alexis Holloway notched the 44th overall no-hitter, and the 37th solo outing, in program history by shutting out NC State in game one on Saturday.
The five baserunners that reached for the Wolfpack in the contest were all by way of walk, with Holloway adding five strikeouts. No NC State base runner advanced past second base during the game, and only four of 22 batters managed to hit the ball out of the infield in the contest. She then entered in relief in game two and spun another 1.1 innings of no-hit softball with two strikeouts, not allowing the ball to leave the infield during the outing.
Holloway is the first Notre Dame freshman to throw a no-hitter since Laura Winter shut out South Florida 1-0 on April 27, 2011. The last four Irish no-hitters have been thrown in ACC play (Holloway; Katie Beriont on April 8, 2017 against North Carolina; Rachel Nasland on March 15, 2015 at No. 9/10 Florida State; Winter, perfect game, on April 18, 2014 at Virginia).
Irish On All Cylinders In March
With conference play now underway following last weekend’s stop at NC State, Notre Dame has remained on a tear since its final game at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Feb. 24 in Cathedral City, California. The surge has rocketed the Irish into March on a roll.
Over the past eight games, in which Notre Dame is 7-1, the Irish are batting .390 as a team and outscoring the opposition by an aggregate 66-17 run count. Notre Dame has also dominated the hit column to the tune of an 85-26 advantage, including a 19-8 edge in extra-base hits, and an 18-2 lead in stolen bases.
Ali Wester has paced the Irish in that span with a .538 batting average and 14 hits, while Abby Sweet is batting .480 with a home run and six RBI, along with a team-high six stolen bases and a .567 on-base percentage. Morgan Reed and Cait Brooks have each recorded nine RBI to lead Notre Dame in the past eight starts, with Reed’s 11 runs the most in the Irish lineup.
The Irish pitching staff has been equally impressive, posting a 1.34 team ERA during the past eight games. Notre Dame pitchers have struck out 42 batters in the past 47 innings of work, limiting opponents to a mere .157 batting average. Alexis Holloway, fresh off her first career no-hitter on Saturday at NC State, is 6-0 with an 0.44 ERA in her last seven appearances (five starts), spinning two solo and one combined shutout, a miniscule .103 batting average against and 33 strikeouts in 32 innings. Katie Beriont is 1-1 with a 1.66 ERA, a combined shutout, a .229 batting average against and eight strikeouts in her past 12.2 innings in the circle.
Midweek Streak Continues in Florida
Dating back to April 4, 2014, a 4-2 loss at DePaul, Notre Dame has been virtually unflappable in midweek, nonconference play. Since that setback to the Blue Demons in Chicago, the Irish have won 31 straight nonconference, non-tournament games that have followed since in the regular season.
Notre Dame has outscored opponents 267-67 over its last 31 nonconference games in the regular season (an average of 8.6 runs scored per game), and has posted a total of eight shutouts in that same span.
Taking into account home games only, Notre Dame has won 28 straight nonconference games at Melissa Cook Stadium since the 2013 season.
Irish Against the Opposition
Notre Dame enters midweek play at both North Florida and Jacksonville with matching 3-0 records in its all-time series with both clubs. The Irish stopped North Florida 7-3 in the most recent meeting between the teams on Feb. 27, 2016 at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Kissimmee. Notre Dame most recently run-ruled Jacksonville 9-1 in five innings on Feb.14, 2015 in Jacksonville.
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.