Feb. 11, 2018
by Tony Jones
TEMPE, Ariz. – After two days of play at the Arizona State Kajikawa Classic, the University of Notre Dame softball team sits with a 3-1 record. The Irish opened Saturday with a 9-6 win against South Dakota at the Tempe Sports Complex before falling to No. 23 Arizona State 9-1 in six innings at Farrington Stadium.
No. RV Notre Dame saw a home run and four RBI on the day from Cait Brooks, while Katie Marino chipped in a home run, three RBI and a pair of runs scored. MK Bonamy tied Brooks for the team lead with three hits.
How It Happened
Cait Brooks worked around a two-out single for the Irish in the top of the first inning. Brooks, who struck out the leadoff South Dakota (0-4) batter, induced a ground ball out to second base to end the frame.
Notre Dame was the first on the scoreboard with three hits in the bottom of the first. Brooks helped her own cause with an RBI single into center that plated Melissa Rochford from second for the 1-0 Irish lead.
South Dakota momentarily took a 2-1 advantage in the second inning, but Notre Dame stormed back in the bottom of the third. MK Bonamy started the rally with a single through the left side, and then stole second base with two outs. After an Abby Sweet full-count walk, Katie Marino cleared the bases with a double to left center, pushing Notre Dame ahead 3-2. Sara White immediately followed with a two-run home run, crushing the ball over the fence in center. White’s first of the year made it 5-2 Irish.
South Dakota clawed back for two runs in the top of the fourth, but with two outs and as the ball skipped toward the backstop to put the tying Coyote run in motion, Madison Heide sprang into action. Heide fielded the ball off the carom and dove to the plate to tag the runner out for a huge defensive momentum shift.
Following singles from Alexis Bazos and Rochford earlier in the bottom of the fourth inning, Brooks delivered a two-run single to left field to push the Notre Dame edge to 7-4. South Dakota chipped away with two runs in the top of the fifth to close the gap to 7-6, but Morgan Ryan left the go-ahead run standing at the plate with a crucial swinging strikeout.
Notre Dame would add two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth. Marino led off the stanza by clubbing a high fly ball deep and gone to left field. Marino’s second homer of the season put the Irish in front 8-6. A South Dakota throwing error later allowed Chelsea Purcell to come across for the 9-6 Notre Dame advantage.
Katie Beriont (2-0) spun two shutout innings of relief to finish out the victory, which featured three strikeouts in the top of the sixth frame. With the tying run on deck in the top of the seventh, Beriont induced a ground ball to Rochford at third for the game’s final out.
After Arizona State (3-1) took a 2-0 lead following the first inning, Notre Dame looked to threaten in the top of the second inning. Cait Brooks reached on a Sun Devil error, and Katie Marino worked a walk on four pitches. Back-to-back Irish strikeouts stalled the rally.
Notre Dame starter Alexis Holloway (1-1) settled into a groove in the bottom of the second. A groundout to second base and strikeout looking got Holloway off on the right foot, and a two-out single and stolen base was ultimately erased by a swinging strikeout to retire Arizona State.
It was more of the same for Holloway in the circle in the bottom of the third frame. A groundout to shortstop, a groundout to first base and a pop up out to second base sat down the Arizona State side in order.
Notre Dame leapt on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning. Cait Brooks rocked a one-out pitch with a towering swing, clearing the left field fence for the solo shot. Brooks’ second home run of the weekend trimmed the deficit to 2-1. Abby Sweet followed with a hard double off the wall in right to keep the momentum flowing. Back-to-back groundouts quelled the Irish offensive.
The Sun Devils pulled further ahead with two runs in the bottom of the fourth frame (4-1), but Holloway forced back-to-back outs punctuated by a swinging strikeout to end the Arizona State ups.
The Irish close the Kajikawa Classic on Sunday, finishing with Fresno State at 1:30 p.m. (ET) in Tempe, Arizona.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
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.