March 21, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Offense. In the game of softball games can be won and lost based on what type of offense shows up for a given team each day. Offensive efficiency got taken to a whole new level for the University of Notre Dame softball team on Saturday. The Irish scored the final 17 runs of the day against Georgia Tech (11-18, 4-7 ACC) to sweep the Yellow Jackets 6-1 and 13-0 in five innings during an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) doubleheader at Melissa Cook Stadium.
No. RV Notre Dame (18-11, 3-5 ACC) extended its current winning streak to four games overall in victory, having claimed its last three ACC matchups. The Irish belted out 20 hits during the twin bill, including 13 in only four innings in the nightcap, and added seven doubles, two home runs and four stolen bases to the offensive attack.
The 10 runs scored by Notre Dame in the bottom of the second inning of Saturday’s second game were the most in a single frame recorded by the Irish since posting 12 in the fourth inning of a 17-2 midweek win in five innings over Toledo on April 16, 2014. All 10 runs scored with two outs in the inning, and marked the first time Notre Dame has ever tallied 10 or more runs against a conference opponent during a single inning at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Senior co-captain Jenna Simon was one of the lead offensive catalysts for Notre Dame during the doubleheader sweep, going a combined 4-for-5 (.800) with two stolen bases (including a steal of home plate during the sixth inning of the first game) and a team-high four runs scored. Sophomore All-American Karley Wester and senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner each added 3-for-5 (.600) outings with three RBI apiece and combined to score a total of five runs (Wester, three; Koerner, two), while Wester added two stolen bases.
Sophomore Rachel Nasland (9-6) won her third straight decision in the circle after going the distance in game one. Nasland allowed one earned run on four hits, walking three and striking out six Georgia Tech batters on 111 pitches. Junior Allie Rhodes (7-4) added a solid start against the Yellow Jackets in game two, throwing three shutout innings with three strikeouts to claim the victory. Freshman Katie Beriont closed game two with two scoreless innings, tying a career-high with three strikeouts.
The third and final game of the weekend ACC series between Notre Dame and Georgia Tech is scheduled for a noon (ET) first pitch on Sunday at Melissa Cook Stadium. Live video coverage will be available via WatchND.
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.
Game 1 – No. RV Notre Dame 6, Georgia Tech 1
A pair of Georgia Tech runners reached against sophomore Rachel Nasland in the top of the first inning after earning two walks. Nasland worked around the jam by striking out Samantha Pierannunzi, flying Katie Johnsky out to center field and grounding Karly Fullem out to third base to strand the Yellow Jacket runners.
Sophomore All-American Karley Wester opened the bottom of the first by drawing a full-count walk against Georgia Tech starter Kylie Kleinschmidt (3-11). With second base uncovered and senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner at the plate, Wester instinctively took second cleanly on a steal. A Koerner sacrifice bunt moved Wester to third base, but Kleinschmidt retired the next two Irish hitters to stall the offensive.
Nasland motored through the Yellow Jacket order in the top of the second inning, finding her groove almost immediately. Morgan Taylor popped out to freshman Morgan Reed at shortstop, Kelsey Chisholm fouled out to junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi at first base and Colleen Darragh struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch on the corner to end the frame.
Senior co-captain Jenna Simon got the Notre offense rolling in the top of the third, slapping an infield single to the left side. Wester reached on a fielder’s choice when Georgia Tech shortstop Chisholm tried unsuccessfully to put out Simon at second base. Koerner cashed in on the RBI chance, lacing a single to left center to score classmate Simon and give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. A sacrifice fly one batter later by senior Katey Haus scored Wester to up the Irish edge to 2-0.
Georgia Tech began to claw back in the top of the fourth inning, picking up two quick singles to start the Yellow Jacket ups. Chisholm did her part with one out, driving a sacrifice fly to center field to score pinch runner Chelsie Thomas and cut the Notre Dame lead to 2-1. Nasland came back with a huge strikeout swinging of Maddie Lionberger to strand two Georgia Tech runners and end the frame.
Freshman Bailey Bigler led off the Notre Dame fifth inning reaching on a Georgia Tech fielding error before advancing to second on a Simon infield hit. Wester lined a first-pitch double to the left center gap one batter later, scoring Bigler to extend the Irish lead to 3-1. After two outs and an intentional walk to Arizmendi, senior Cassidy Whidden crushed a double off the wall in right center, bringing Simon and Wester home to up the Notre Dame edge to 5-1.
Infield singles from Simon and Wester got Notre Dame cooking in the bottom of the sixth inning. Simon stole second to move into scoring position before Wester’s bunt single moved her to third base. As Wester attempted to take second and forced the throw across the diamond, Simon executed the double-steal to perfection, sliding under the tag to propel the Irish in front 6-1.
Game 2 – No. RV Notre Dame 13, Georgia Tech 0 (5)
Junior Allie Rhodes posted a virtually spotless top of the first inning for Notre Dame in the circle. An infield single by Katie Johnsky with two outs looked to get Georgia Tech rolling, but Rhodes came back with a swinging strikeout of Courtney Ziese to retire the Yellow Jacket side.
A one-out single for senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner started the Notre Dame bottom of the first inning against Georgia Tech pitcher Christina Biggerstaff (5-3). Senior Katey Haus wasted little time as the next hitter in the batter’s box, drilling her team-high eighth home run of the season over the right field wall. Haus’ big fly gave the Irish a quick 2-0 lead.
Rhodes worked around a leadoff single from Karly Fullem in the top of the second to retire the Georgia Tech order, forcing two fly outs to right field before grounding Kelsey Chisholm out to second base.
Freshman Morgan Reed led off the Notre Dame bottom of the second inning with a single, but two straight outs put the Irish in danger of having nothing to show for the inning. What followed was an offensive explosion that saw 11 straight Notre Dame hitters reach base, allowing the Irish to score 10 runs in the frame and take a 12-0 lead. Sophomore All-American Karley Wester, Arizmendi and Koerner each finished the bottom of the second with two RBI each, with Arizmendi’s coming on a two-run homer to center field.
The Irish tacked on another insurance run in the home half of the third, after junior Megan Sorlie laced a two-out single up the middle to plate Arizmendi (13-0).
Freshman Katie Beriont worked a scoreless fourth inning of relief against the Georgia Tech lineup. A pair of ground ball outs and a strikeout of pinch hitter Caitlyn Coffey enabled another Notre Dame shutout frame. Beriont was dealing again in the top of the fifth inning, striking out Maddie Lionberger and Samantha Pierannunzi swinging before grounding Johnsky out to third base for the final out of the afternoon.