The University of Notre Dame softball team (19-10) rolled to an 11-4 mid-week victory over Western Michigan (7-13) at Melissa Cook Stadium on Wednesday evening, utilizing a big seven-run fourth inning powered by two home runs. The Broncos took an early two-run lead, but the Irish responded with nine unanswered runs to seize control of the game.
M.K. Bonamy led the Notre Dame offense with two hits, one of which was a towering three-run home run to straight centerfield in the fourth inning, while Katie Marino added in two hits and a two-run homer of her own. Sophomore Sarah Genz hit her first career home run in the bottom of the fifth inning as well.
Payton Tidd earned the victory, working four innings while giving up two runs and striking out three.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Western Michigan touched Tidd for two runs in the top of the first with two outs. Sophia Ehlers singled up the middle and Sydney Stefanick followed by hitting a 0-1 pitch over the left field wall.
The Irish answered in the bottom of the second. With one out and Bonamy on first base, Quinn Biggio cranked a long fly ball into the gap in right-centerfield. Bonamy was forced to hold up to see if the ball would be caught (it eventually bounced off the top of the wall) and Biggio ended up with a very long single. After Tidd drew a walk to load the bases, Emma Clark stepped up with a two-run single to centerfield.
Unfortunately, a Notre Dame base running error led to the second out of the inning and Cait Brooks flied out to centerfield to end the scoring threat.
After a quiet third inning, the Irish exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Ali Wester posted one of her four hits on the evening, stole second and scored on Marino’s double. Brooks followed with an RBI single and moved to second on the throw home.
Pinch runner Shelby Grimm stole second, then stole third base and would eventually score after Western Michigan muffed a throw on a long run down. Grimm had been caught up between third and home trying to score on a Abby Sweet ground ball, but a throw was dropped, Grimm scored and Sweet ended up second base.
Melissa Rochford next lifted a fly ball to right field, which was dropped by the Bronco defense and that set the table for Bonamy’s big three-run shot that landed well over the centerfield fence. Genz then stepped in to pinch hit for Tidd and crushed her first career home run over the left field wall in front of the Irish scoreboard.
Western Michigan would come back with two more runs in the top of the fifth, but Notre Dame answered right back in the bottom of the inning. Wester led off with a single and scored on Marino’s towering home run down the leftfield line.
Sophomore Morgan Ryan finished off the game in the circle, needing just 14 pitches to retire the final six batters.
The Irish will return to the road in the ACC with a three-game series set at Syracuse with game one Friday, March 29, at 4 p.m. ET. Game two will be Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by game three at Noon ET on SUnday, March 31. Fans can stay tuned to @NDSoftball on Twitter for the latest schedule updates, should changes occur.