March 25, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A tandem pitching effort from junior Allie Rhodes and freshman Katie Beriont earned the second straight one-hit shutout for the University of Notre Dame softball team on Wednesday. The Irish won their sixth straight game (third straight shutout) with a 9-0 decision in five innings over IPFW in nonconference play at Melissa Cook Stadium.
No. RV Notre Dame (20-11) finished the contest with a 12-1 hits advantage over IPFW (0-24), adding three extra base hits. The Irish also stole three bases on the day, while six of the nine original starters in the game recorded at least one RBI.
Notre Dame, on top of extending its current winning streak to six games, has won three contests during the streak in only five innings. Dating back to a 12-0 triumph in five innings at No. 9/10 Florida State on March 15, the Irish have outscored opponents 53-5 in their last six starts overall.
Rhodes (8-4) started quickly in the circle by retiring the IPFW order in the top of the first inning. Jenna Balthazor struck out looking, Emily Olszewski grounded out back to the circle and Kelly Pevely flew out to center field to end the frame.
Back-to-back singles from sophomore All-American Karley Wester and senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner opened the bottom of the first inning against IPFW starter Kaitlyn Biere (0-12). After Koerner took second base cleanly on a steal, RBI ground outs from senior Katey Haus and junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi gave Notre Dame a 2-0 lead.
Freshman Sara White took Biere deep and gone for her first career home run to lead off the bottom of the second inning, crushing a solo home run over the center field wall to push the Notre Dame advantage to 3-0. Senior co-captain Jenna Simon and sophomore Dana Bouquet followed with infield singles, with Bouquet’s base knock driving Simon to third base. Junior Megan Sorlie cashed in on the RBI situation with a single up the middle, bringing Simon across (4-0). After Wester was hit by a pitch, Koerner grooved a sacrifice fly to center to score Bouquet and make it 5-0 Notre Dame.
Rhodes ran her retired batters streak to nine in the top of the third inning. Whitney Ennis grounded out to third base, Prestlee Cooper struck out swinging and Lindsay Burke grounded out to second base for the final out.
After Arizmendi opened the bottom of the third with a single to right field, senior Cassidy Whidden golfed a home run that nearly carried into the Frank Eck Baseball Stadium bullpen behind the left field fence. Whidden’s fifth homer of the season upped the Notre Dame lead to 7-0.
The Mastodons picked up their first hit of the afternoon in the top of the fourth inning, as Olszewski sent a one-out single through the left side. Rhodes maintained control and sat down the next two IPFW hitters in order to strand Olszewski at third base.
Rhodes allowed only one base runner during the game, with Olszewski’s single being the only damage against the Notre Dame southpaw. She struck out three batters on 43 pitches in four full innings of work.
Notre Dame tacked on two insurance runs during the bottom of the fourth inning to push the lead to nine runs. Koerner stung a one-out double to right center field, where a pinch-hit RBI single two batters later by sophomore Kimmy Sullivan scored Koerner and vaulted the Irish in front 8-0. Junior Casey Africano then smashed a single through the left side, plating Sullivan to cap the day’s scoring at 9-0.
Eight of Notre Dame’s nine starters finished the day in the hit column, with Koerner leading all batters with a perfect 2-for-2 outing, an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored. Simon added a pair of singles, a steal and a run, while Whidden’s two RBI paced the Irish lineup.
Beriont came on in relief and threw a perfect top of the fifth inning to close the game out. Avery Nelson was thrown out at first by Arizmendi after laying a soft grounder down the line to begin the frame, Caitlyn DeLong struck out swinging and Ennis grounded out to Haus at third base for the final out of the contest.
Notre Dame returns to Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) action this weekend against No. 24/RV Virginia Tech at Melissa Cook Stadium. First pitch Saturday is set for 1 p.m. (ET), with live video coverage available on 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.