DURHAM, N.C. — Notre Dame battled for a 1-0 win over the Duke Blue Devils Saturday to stand 2-0 on the series. Sophomore Payton Tidd pitched a complete game, striking out five (all swinging), while the Irish scored on a Sarah Genz RBI double to drive in Leea Hanks.
The Irish produced an error-free day, as cleanly-fielded grounders and smart tracking in the sun boosted Notre Dame to an impressive defensive performance.
Both teams remained scoreless through the first five innings in a true pitchers’ battle, as Tidd and Duke’s Brianna Butler and their defenses retired batter after batter. Highlights of the defensive performance included the play of the outfield, as Leea Hanks’ impressive diving catch in shallow left field notched the first out in the third and Abby Sweet and Emma Clark made multiple clutch plays, grabbing balls out of the sun to tally outs.
The infield got the job done, as shortstop Brooke Marquez posted three putouts and three assists on the day, snagging infield fly balls and fielding quick grounders. Chelsea Purcell, playing third base, used her arm to fire quick shots across the diamond to thwart singles.
While Butler held the Irish scoreless through five, momentum picked up with two outs down in the sixth inning. Hanks singled and scored from first on a Genz double, the third double of her career. The score would be the only one of the game for either team.
On the mound, Tidd pitched a full seven innings and caught Duke in five strikeouts, all swinging. The sophomore preseason All-ACC pitcher trapped the final out, a quick grounder, serving it to Genz to seal the win.
Notre Dame returns to Duke Softball Stadium Sunday for the series finale with the Blue Devils. First pitch will be at 1 p.m., and live coverage will be broadcast on ACCN Extra (https://www.espn.com/watch/player?id=08cd755e-d4cd-435f-8008-486c177a5024). Live scoring can be accessed at https://goduke.com/sidearmstats/softball/summary.
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