March 23, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team may not have opened its 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) schedule the way it expected. With a taxing early season slate and six games against two of the top teams in the ACC right out of the conference gate, the Irish simply needed to catch their collective breath. Since a 12-0 win in five innings over No. 9/10 Florida State on March 15, Notre Dame has rattled off five consecutive wins, outscoring opponents 44-5 in those victories.
Helping to lead the defensive charge for Notre Dame has been sophomore pitcher Rachel Nasland, who scattered less than two hits per game in her last three ACC outings. Thanks to another strong stint for the Irish in the circle last week, the conference selected Nasland as the ACC Pitcher of the Week for the second straight time on Monday.
Nasland and 2014 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Lacey Waldrop of Florida State lead all ACC hurlers with three separate conference pitcher of the week citations thus far in 2015. Nasland earned her first career league pitcher of the week honor on Feb. 24 before receiving the recognition once more on March 16, following a five-inning no-hitter against Florida State the previous day.
With her third ACC Pitcher of the Week award this season, Nasland joined Irish softball legend Laura Winter (’14) as a previous three-time recipient of the league’s top pitching honor in a single season. Winter was tabbed as the ACC Pitcher of the Week on March 10, April 28 and May 5 of 2014 during her only season in the conference.
Nasland ramped up her recent dominance against ACC foes with an undefeated weekend in the circle against Georgia Tech, adding a nonconference midweek victory against Cleveland State. The ACC’s reigning top pitcher posted a perfect 3-0 mark with a 1.47 ERA in three starts last week, scattering nine hits over 19 innings. The Irish righty yielded seven walks and struck out 25 of the 73 batters she faced.
With Georgia Tech scoring its only run of the series on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning Saturday to open the three-game ACC set, Nasland has allowed a meager four earned runs in her last 24 innings pitched (1.17 ERA), logging a 4-0 record in that span.
Nasland picked up the win during Notre Dame’s 2015 home opening contest against Cleveland State on Wednesday, striking out nine Viking batters in five innings of work. The San Diego, California native found her groove during the weekend ACC series with Georgia Tech, allowing one run on four hits, walking three and striking out six Yellow Jackets during a complete game win on Saturday. She was nearly unhittable for the second straight Sunday in ACC play, surrendering only an infield single to Georgia Tech while striking out 10 in a one-hit shutout to complete the sweep.
Nasland has held opposing batters to an impressive .180 batting average against in 115.2 total innings in 2015. The Irish sophomore is also the ACC leader in both appearances (22) and games started (18) this season, and ranks second in the conference in both average against (.174) and strikeouts (42) over her first 37.2 ACC innings pitched.
Notre Dame hosts IPFW on Wednesday at 5 p.m. (ET) in a nonconference midweek tilt at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish then welcome No. RV/25 Virginia Tech for a three-game ACC series beginning on March 28.
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2015 Notre Dame Softball Weekly Honorees
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Player of the Week
Katey Haus – Feb. 9