March 10, 2018
by Tony Jones
RALEIGH, N.C. – Guided by a 17-hit performance on offense in game one and a competitive pitching effort throughout the day, the University of Notre Dame softball team 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 (13-8, 1-1 ACC) connected on a season-high 17 base hits in only five frames of the opening game against NC State, (14-9, 2-3 ACC), and the 15-run margin of victory was the largest for Notre Dame in league play since joining the conference in 2014.
Freshman pitcher Alexis Holloway (10-4) notched the 44th overall no-hitter, and the 37th solo outing, in program history by shutting out NC State in game one. The five baserunners that reached for the Wolfpack in the contest were all by way of walk, with Holloway adding five strikeouts. 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, and finished the day with a total of 6.1 hitless innings and seven strikeouts.
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.
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How It Happened
Ali Wester led off the game with a slap single to third base, and Morgan Reed reached by way of an error at third. With two outs, Katie Marino stepped in and blasted a three-run home run over the fence in left field. Marino’s fifth homer of the year quickly made it 3-0 Notre Dame.
The Irish followed with a six-run effort on seven hits in the top of the second inning to open a 9-0 lead over NC State. An RBI single to right center by Abby Sweet, a two-run double down the left field line by Reed and a two-run home run over the wall in center for Cait Brooks highlighted the Notre Dame scoring. Brooks’ third long ball of the season and an RBI single to right for Melissa Rochford closed out the scoring in the second.
Alexis Holloway rolled through the NC State order in the bottom of the second in quick succession. A pop up to short, a strikeout looking and a fly out to left field left a Wolfpack runner aboard.
A Reed single and NC State throwing error with one out in the top of the third brought two more runs home to make it 11-0. MK Bonamy followed with a two-run double to the gap in right center to push the Notre Dame advantage to 13-0.
The Irish chipped in two more runs in the top of the fifth inning. Sara White drove a 3-2 pitch to straightaway center for a solo home run. White’s blast, her third of the season, pushed Notre Dame ahead 14-0. With Bonamy at second base and two outs, Sarah Genz rocked an RBI double down the line in left to plate the run for a 15-0 lead.
Holloway faced a test in the bottom of the fifth, as NC State looked to not only break into the hit column but continue the game. A pair of walks put Wolfpack runners aboard with one out, but a pop out to shortstop and a swinging strikeout sealed the win for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame dug out of a 1-0 hole with the tying run in the top of the third. Alexis Bazos was hit by a pitch to lead off, and an Ali Wester single pushed the lead runner to third base. A wild pitch to the backstop allowed Bazos to score to square the game at 1-1.
Katie Beriont (3-4) spun a three-up, three-down inning for the Notre Dame defense in the bottom of the fourth inning. A fly out to center, a ground ball out to the circle and a pop up to third base sat NC State down in order 1-2-3.
After NC State took a 4-1 lead with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, the Irish looked to counter in the top of the sixth. Abby Sweet was hit by pitch and Morgan Reed sliced a single through the left side to keep the momentum rolling with one out. Notre Dame was unable to push a run across following a strikeout and fielder’s choice groundout.
The Irish and NC State wrap up the ACC series on Sunday at Noon (ET) on ACC Network Extra from Dail 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.