ST. GEORGE, Utah –– Playing in the state of Utah for the first time in program history, the Notre Dame softball team saw its bats come alive in the Beehive State. The Irish opened the Red Desert Classic with a 16-0 win over Utah Valley before defeating No. 24 Baylor, 14-1 in the nightcap. In both contests, every single Irish player in the lineup that recorded a plate appearance got at least one hit.
On the day, Katie Marino hit a pair of home runs, while Caitlyn Brooks, MK Bonamy and Quinn Biggio added dingers of their own. Marino’s two home runs were part of a 6-for-8 performance over both games with six runs scored and five RBI. Brooks was 4-for-5 on the day, adding a double to her homer, with three runs scored and four RBI. Bonamy, Biggio and Ali Wester each recorded 4 RBI in the twin-bill.
The Irish used three pitchers in the victories. Alexis Holloway earned the win over Utah Valley allowing three hits and striking out four in four innings of work. Morgan Ryan threw a 1-2-3 fifth to complete the shutout. Payton Tidd conceded hits to the first three batters she faced against Baylor, but limited the Bears to four hits the rest of the way. She struckout seven while conceding the lone earned run and earning the game two win.
Key Innings vs. Utah Valley
Bottom 1 – Notre Dame jumped out to an early lead with a pair in the first. Wester led off with a single before stealing second and moving up to third on a single by Brooks. After Brooks stole second, Melissa Rochford singled home Wester and Bonamy singled home Brooks.
Bottom 3 – After pushing the lead to 5-0 after two innings, the Irish broke it open in the third. Sarah Genz led off with a single, followed by another one from Anna Grace Wagner and another from Ellie Richards, scoring Genz. Three-straight doubles provided the big blow as Emma Clark doubled home Wagner and Wester brought home Clark and Richards. Marino followed with another two-bagger and Brooks picked-up an RBI with a sac fly to left. The inning came to a close after Rochford singled home Marino to make it 10-0.
Key Innings vs. Baylor
Bottom 1 – Unlike game one, the Irish found themselves in an quick hole after just two batters. Nicky Dawson tripled to lead off the frame before Lou Gilbert singled to center to score Dawson. Kassidy Krupit followed with a single up the middle, moving to second on the throw to try and catch Gilbert at third, putting runners at second and third with no outs. Tidd then flipped the script, getting a pair of strikeouts before inducing a groundout to limit the Bears to one run.
Top 2 – Notre Dame immediately responded. Rochford singled up the middle before Bonamy doubled, giving the Irish their own turn with runners at second and third with no outs. A wild pitch made it 1-1, moving both runners up. After a ground out, Biggio hit a sac fly to right, scoring Bonamy to make it 2-1.
Bottom 2 – Tidd did not allow Baylor to punch back, getting a pair of strikeouts with a flyout to end it after a two-out single, keeping the Irish lead in tact at 2-1.
Top 3 – The Irish added on in the third. Marino singled to start it before Brooks doubled to set up second and third with no outs again. A Baylor pitching change did no good, as Rochford singled home Marino. Rochford then tried to steal second, drawing a throwing error from the catcher that allowed Grimm (pinch running for Brooks) to score. After a flyout and ground out, Biggio got a two-out single to make it 5-1.
Top 5 – Notre Dame broke it wide open in the fifth. The inning started out harmlessly with a pair of flyouts, but Tidd singled to start the rally. Clark got a bunt single which saw the third baseman throw it away, scoring Tidd and putting Clark on third. Wester singled home Clark before another Baylor pitching change. Marino singled up the middle and the throw to third trying to get Wester was muffed, allowing her to score and putting Marino on second. Brooks delivered an RBI single before Rochford’s infield single put two on. Bonamy then delivered the back-breaker, crushing a three-run homer to left to make it 14-1.
The Irish are scheduled to play two more games at the Red Desert Classic on Saturday. Notre Dame is slated to take on CSU Bakersfield at 2 p.m. ET before facing Southern Utah at 4:30 p.m. ET. The forecast in St. George is calling for rain and thunderstorms most the day, so fans can stay tuned to @NDSoftball on Twitter for the latest schedule updates, should changes occur.