Feb. 19, 2016
by Tony Jones
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – For the second straight weekend, the University of Notre Dame softball team found a top 25 opponent waiting on its first-day tournament schedule. After downing Utah Valley 11-4 in their first game of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Friday, the Irish nearly rallied from a four-run deficit before falling to No. 11/9 Washington 5-4 at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex.
No. RV Notre Dame (4-3) logged 20 hits during the day one tournament split, including five hits that went for extra bases. The Irish added nine walks and two stolen bases to their 15 runs scored.
Sophomore Morgan Reed led all Notre Dame players with five hits on the day, including a double and triple, and finished with three RBI. Senior Micaela Arizmendi added a home run and five RBI to the offensive cause, while junior co-captain Karley Wester logged four hits and scored two runs.
Sophomore Sara White (1-0) threw 3.1 scoreless innings in the win over Utah Valley (2-5), striking out four Wolverine batters. Junior Rachel Nasland added an equally efficient 2.2 innings of scoreless relief against Washington (7-0), striking out one batter.
Notre Dame resumes play at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Saturday at 1 p.m. (ET) against Cal Poly at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex.
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.
#RV ND 11, Utah Valley 4
Utah Valley logged a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. An RBI single from Brittney Vansway and a sacrifice fly from Taleigh Williams put the Wolverines in front 2-0. Caitlyn Brooks settled in and forced Tiani Hensley to fly out to center field for the final out of the inning.
Notre Dame immediately answered in the bottom of the first inning. Co-captain Karley Wester worked a four-pitch walk before stealing second base. A throwing error on the play moved Wester over to third base. Ali Wester followed with an RBI ground out to trim the Irish deficit to 2-1. After Brooks singled and Melissa Rochford walked, Morgan Reed ripped a two-run double to left to clear the bases and give Notre Dame a 3-2 lead.
Bailey Bigler led off the bottom of the second with a single through the left side. Karley Wester added a single two batters later, and after Brooks contributed a single of her own Micaela Arizmendi connected on a sacrifice fly to center that scored Bigler (4-2). Rochford and Reed added RBI singles to score Wester and Brooks to make it 6-2 Notre Dame.
Utah Valley clawed back with a two-run home run off the bat of Vansway in the top of the third inning. Sara White entered for Brooks in the circle and forced Hensley to fly out to center, ending the inning with Notre Dame in front 6-4.
The Irish roared back with four runs of their own in the bottom of the third. Megan Sorlie led off with a double to right field and Bigler walked on four pitches. After Ali Wester walked to load the bases, Brooks worked a bases loaded walk to score Sorlie and make it 7-4 Notre Dame. Arizmendi followed with an RBI single (8-4) before Wester scored on a throwing error to up the Irish lead to 9-4. Brooks would ultimately score on another Utah Valley error to close the inning at 10-4.
White battled back from facing bases loaded in the fourth and fifth innings to strike out her Utah Valley foes and strand all six runners on base. Brianna Gatlin and Kristy Snyder struck out looking to end the top of the fourth, and Breezy Roth struck out swinging for the final out of the fifth frame.
Notre Dame would add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Leadoff singles by Sorlie and Bigler set the table for Karley Wester, who delivered an RBI base hit to plate Sorlie and extend the Irish cushion to 11-4.
Katie Beriont threw a scoreless top of the seventh to close out the win. Gatlin grounded into a fielder’s choice to Rochford at third base to leave the bases loaded full of Wolverines.
#11/9 Washington 5, #RV ND 4
Notre Dame struck first in the top of the first inning. After reaching on a fielder’s choice and making her way to third base, Ali Wester scored on a Micaela Arizmendi RBI ground out to first base to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.
Washington answered with two runs in the bottom half of the opening inning. Kimberlee Souza manufactured a two-run fielder’s choice to second base that plated both Ali Aguilar and Courtney Gano to give the Huskies a 2-1 advantage. Starter Allie Rhodes responded and struck out Tannon Snow swinging to end the Washington ups in the first.
The Huskies kept the offensive momentum rolling in the bottom of the second frame. Gano drove in two runs with a double to the gap in right center, and Julia DePonte followed with a double of her own to extend the lead to 5-1. Rhodes forced Casey Stangel to ground out to Morgan Reed at shortstop for the inning’s final out.
Notre Dame picked one back up in the top of the third inning. Caitlyn Brooks crushed a 1-2 pitch from Taran Alvelo (3-0) deep and gone to right field to cut the Washington lead to 5-2. Alvelo escaped the inning with a strikeout later in the stanza.
Rhodes (1-2) worked around two Washington base runners in the bottom of the third by striking out Snow looking and Tristen Melhart swinging to leave a pair of Huskie batters on the base paths.
Rachel Nasland entered with one runner on and one out in the top of the fourth and settled in quickly. DePonte struck out swinging and Stangel grounded out to second base to end the Washington fourth.
Ali Wester opened the top of the sixth inning with a single through the left side off Alvelo. Two batters later, Arizmendi narrowed the Washington lead with a towering home run to right field. Arizmendi’s second long ball of the year trimmed the Notre Dame deficit to one at 5-4.
Nasland made quick work of Washington with a three-up, three-down effort in the bottom of the sixth. Kelly Burdick grounded out to the circle, Aguilar popped out to shortstop and Gano popped out to third base.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant 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 and men’s soccer 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 at Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.