RALEIGH, N.C. — The RV Irish completed a four-game sweep of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Sunday, topping RV Ohio State 6-4. Alexis Holloway, entering in the third inning, earned the win to improve to 5-1, and both Katie Marino and Joley Mitchell blasted home runs.
Earning two wins each over receiving-votes teams Illinois and Ohio State, the Irish improve to 7-2 on the season, and extend their winning streak to seven. Notre Dame outscored opponents 24-6, hitting six home runs on the weekend.
ACC counterpart NC State went 3-1 on the weekend, bringing the Raleigh total to seven games for the ACC and one for the Big Ten. Overall, the ACC won the Challenge for the third time in four years.
How It Happened
Notre Dame made quick work of the Buckeyes in the first, as Shelby Grimm, Miranda Johnson, Marino and Brooke Marquez combined for a chase-down putout, catching the Ohio State runner off the bag. Two more groundouts ended the Buckeye batting.
As she did on Saturday vs. Illinois, Marino led off for the Irish and fired a solo home run, the fifth of the weekend for the Irish and the 22nd of her career. Up 1-0, Emma Clark grounded out before Abby Sweet singled. Mitchell trapped Ohio State in a fielder’s choice, and Sweet was safe at second due to an error.
With Johnson up to bat, Mitchell stole second and Sweet stole third. The throw to attempt to catch Sweet out at third was out of reach, and Sweet scored as the Buckeyes chased the errant throw. Johnson singled, pushing Mitchell to third, and Johnson stole second on the next at-bat.
Leea Hanks doubled to score both Mitchell and Johnson, forcing an Ohio State pitching change. With Payton Tidd up to bat, the Notre Dame pitcher sent a single to advance Hanks to third. Tidd stole second, and Chelsea Purcell grounded out to score Hanks. At the end of the inning, Notre Dame was in the lead, 5-0, with four stolen bases.
Ohio State’s Avery Clark led off the second inning with a home run, and Purcell noted the final two outs to limit the Buckeyes to a 5-1 score. In the batter’s box, Marino doubled, but after a Clark fly-out, was tagged out at the plate on a double play.
Tidd posted two strikeouts in the third inning, but the Buckeyes scored three runs on an RBI double and two-run homer before Holloway entered the game in relief. Holloway struck out the final batter of the third to hold the score at 5-4.
While Johnson singled and Hanks reached on a fielder’s choice (Johnson out on the play), Notre Dame was unable to convert and headed to the fourth.
Purcell took care of another groundout to begin the fourth, and a Purcell-Marino-Johnson double play ended the top after a walk. Ohio State held the Irish to no runs in the fourth, and Notre Dame did the same for the Buckeyes in the top of the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, Mitchell slammed her second home run of the weekend, and second of her career, to make the score 6-4 heading into the sixth.
Notre Dame found itself with Ohio State runners on second and third due to two fielder’s-choice plays and an error with two outs. Thanks to a quick Johnson play for the putout at first, the top ended without an Ohio State score. The Irish took the batter’s box, but went three up, three down.
In the top of the seventh, three-straight Marino to Johnson groundouts sealed the win for the Irish.
Notre Dame will travel to Palm Springs for the Mary Nutter Invitational. Thursday, the Irish will face San Diego State (9 p.m. ET) and BYU (11:30 p.m. ET). On Friday, Notre Dame will take on Seattle (3:30 p.m. ET) and Oregon (6 p.m. PT), and on Saturday, the Irish will play Arizona State (8 p.m. ET) and Cal State Fullerton (10:30 p.m. ET).