NORMAN, Oklahoma — Making her first career NCAA tournament start, Payton Tidd went the distance and held Wisconsin to four hits and one earned run, but the Notre Dame softball team couldn’t find the big hit at the right time and dropped a 4-2 decision to the Badgers in the first game of the NCAA Norman Regional.
Tidd gave up four hits and one earned run, with one mistake being a three-run homer in the seventh inning, while striking out five. The Irish had 11 hits on the evening, but left 10 runners on base. Ali Wester was 4-for-4, while Melissa Rochford went 3-for-4 with a two-run single. Katie Marino, Cait Brooks, Abby Sweet and Emma Clark each had a hit.
Top 2nd | Wisconsin used a leadoff walk to plate the game’s first run. Lauren Foster drew a leadoff walk before Stephanie Lombardo was hit by a pitch, then pinch run for by Sydney Lawson. Caroline Hedgcock then singled up the middle, with Foster sliding in just ahead of the throw from Sweet in center. Tidd rebounded, getting Kelly Welsh to pop out, Jordan Little to ground out and Ally Miklesh to fly out to limit the damage.
Bottom 3rd | Clark started a rally with a one-out single, followed by a perfect bunt single from Wester. Marino singled up the middle, but Miklesh, the UW center fielder, delivered a one-hopper to the plate to retire Clark. Brooks then grounded out to third to end the inning.
Top 5th | Tidd worked around a leadoff double to keep it a one-run game in the fifth. Welsh doubled to right-center to start the inning before Little was hit by a pitch. Miklesh flew out to left, before Tidd induced consecutive pop outs to Marino at second to end the inning.
Top 7th | The Badgers took advantage of an Irish miscue to plate what would be three massive insurance runs. After back-to-back strikeouts to start the inning, Miklesh singled up the middle. Kayla Konwent then grounded to short, but the throw to first was errant, putting runners on second and third. Taylor Johnson then hit the first pitch she saw to the bleachers in left to make it 4-0. Tidd struck Heather Rudnicki out looking to end the frame.
Bottom 7th | Wester sparked a rally with a two-out single before Marino and Brooks walked to load the bases. Rochford singled up the middle to plate a pair and an infield single by Sweet loaded the bases once again. Bonamy was then retired on a floater behind the second base bag that was snared by the second baseman to end it.
- The all-time series between Notre Dame and Wisconsin is now tied, 5-5, while the Badgers hold a 5-0 edge at neutral sites. It was the first meeting in the NCAA tournament between the schools.
- Wester had her third-straight game with at least three-hits after she had three hits in both ACC Championship games.
- Sweet extended her on-base streak to 22 games with her seventh-inning single.
- The Irish are now 9-14 when the opponent scores first.
The Irish will play at least one elimination game on Saturday at the Norman Regional, as they await the loser of Friday’s nightcap between No. 1 Oklahoma and fourth-seeded UMBC. The elimination game is set for 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT at OU’s Marita Hynes Field.