April 4, 2015
PITTSBURGH, Pa. — During Friday’s opening Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) doubleheader at Pittsburgh, the name of the game was offense for the University of Notre Dame softball team. The series finale between the Irish and Panthers became a true pitchers’ duel, and solid outings from sophomore Rachel Nasland and junior Allie Rhodes led Notre Dame to a 3-2 win over #RV Pittsburgh on Saturday at Vartabedian Field.
The No. RV Irish (27-11, 10-5 ACC) completed their third straight conference sweep with the Saturday victory over the Panthers (25-14, 6-9 ACC), outscoring Pittsburgh 30-7 during the three-game series. Notre Dame clubbed seven doubles and seven home runs over the course of the set to run its current winning streak to 13 straight games.Â Â
Nasland (14-6) was dealing early in the top of the first inning, striking Shelby Pickett and Maggie Sevilla out swinging for two quick outs. After a Jenna Modic single through the right side, senior co-captain Jenna Simon made a great snag on a Carly Thea line drive to second base to strand the Pittsburgh runner on base.
Senior Cassidy Whidden picked up the first Notre Dame hit of the day in the top of the second, crushing a two-out single to the right center gap. A nice throw into second by Pickett caught Whidden trying to stretch the hit into a double to end the inning.
Nasland put the finishing touches on a 1-2-3 bottom of the second inning against the Pittsburgh order. McKayla Taylor grounded out to third base, Giorgiana Zeremenko flew out to center field and Kaitlin Manuel struck out swinging to retire the Panther side.
A pair of hits by junior Megan Sorlie and sophomore All-American Karley Wester against Pittsburgh starter Savannah King (15-7) in the top of the third were erased by nice defensive plays in the field, keeping Notre Dame off the scoreboard.
Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead on an RBI groundout to second base by Sevilla in the bottom of the third inning. Modic flew out to right field as the next batter to end the Panther ups in the frame.
Senior Katey Haus reached on a one-out fielder’s choice in the top of the fourth, and a double to the left center gap by junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi moved both runners into scoring position. An RBI fielder’s choice by freshman Morgan Reed brought Haus home from third base, tying the game at 1-1. Sorlie cashed in with the bases loaded and two outs later in the inning, grooving a single up the middle to score Reed and Whidden and give Notre Dame a 3-1 lead.
Pittsburgh clawed back into the contest in the bottom of the fifth inning on a Sevilla sacrifice bunt that brought Jordan Fannin in from third base, trimming the Notre Dame advantage to 3-2. Nasland forced Modic to hit a long fly ball out to Wester in left field to strand a Panther runner at second base.
Nasland allowed one earned run in her five full innings pitched, scattering four hits. The Irish right-hander walked one and struck out four to win her eighth straight decision.
Rhodes found herself in a first and third jam with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. A Manuel groundout to Haus at third prevented any Pittsburgh runners from coming across.
Rhodes made quick work of the Pittsburgh lineup in the bottom of the seventh to pick up her first save of 2015. Ashlee Sills and Pickett grounded out to shortstop, and Sevilla grounded out to second base.
Rhodes tossed two no-hit frames, yielding one walk on 30 pitches. Rhodes threw six consecutive scoreless innings during the series.
Sorlie and Arizmendi paced all Notre Dame players with six hits during the series, with Sorlie chipping in three RBI. Haus added three home runs and seven RBI, while Wester contributed a double. triple, grand slam, six RBI and a stolen base. Whidden logged a home run and five RBI.
Notre Dame returns to Melissa Cook Stadium on Tuesday, hosting Western Michigan at 5 p.m. (ET).
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the IrishÂ @NDsoftball andÂ @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.