The University of Notre Dame softball team (16-8, 1-1) gave up two runs in the first, then scored five unanswered runs in an eventual 7-4 victory at No. 3 Florida State (26-2, 1-0) on Saturday afternoon. The win marks Notre Dame’s second this season over the third-ranked team in the nation (3-2 over No. 3 Washington on February 9) and provides a key win in the second of a three-game series against the Seminoles.
Freshman Payton Tidd turned in an outstanding performance in the circle, tossing a complete game with nine strikeouts and four earned runs. After Florida State touched her for a two-run homer in the first inning, Tidd held the Seminoles powerful offense scoreless until a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh.
Offensively, Cait Brooks provided the spark with a two-run home run in the top of the fourth, while Abby Sweet finished three-for-four with three runs batted in.
HOW IT HAPPENED
While FSU’s Sydney Sherrill was able to hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first, Tidd also displayed how strong her pitching would be in that same inning. She recorded all three outs via strikeout and eventually recorded five of Notre Dame’s first six outs of the game from her right arm.
In the top of the fourth, Katie Marino led off with a four-pitch walk and Brooks stepped to the plate. Fighting back from an 0-2 count, Brooks drilled a 2-2 pitch far over the left field fence to tie the game at 2-2.
Notre Dame tacked on three more runs in the top of the fifth. Emma Clark led off with a slap hit to second base and moved over on a Ali Wester sacrifice ground out. A passed ball moved Clark to third and FSU intentionally walked Brooks to put runners at the corners with two outs. Shelby Grimm stole second base to get in scoring position and for a moment it appeared that Notre Dame would get the go-ahead run on a wild pitch to Melissa Rochford.
The umpire decided that the pitch hit Rochford, but Florida State would uncork a wild pitch just two pitches later to give Notre Dame the lead. Sweet then put the Irish up three with a two-out, two-run single to centerfield.
Florida State threatened in the bottom of the fifth after a lead-off double, but Tidd rallied from a 3-0 count to strike out FSU’s lead off hitter, then sandwiched two huge strikeouts around a walk to escape the inning and the heart of the Seminole batting order.
The Irish offense responded to tack on two insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Brooks reached on an infield single, Sweet rocketed a double over the leftfielder’s head for an RBI and M.K. Bonamy drilled a two-out single to drive in Notre Dame’s seventh and final run.
Florida State would add a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh, but a great running catch in foul territory by Wester put momentum back in Notre Dame’s favor before a line out to right field ended the contest.
The Irish will complete the Atlantic Coast Conference series against the Seminoles on Sunday, March 1, with game three at 12 p.m. ET. The game will air on ACC Network Extra. Fans can stay tuned to @NDSoftball on Twitter for the latest schedule updates, should changes occur.