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Monday, May 20, 2024
The Observer

Irish begin fall season with a pair of victories

Notre Dame opened their fall season Saturday afternoon with a pair of wins at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish defeated Purdue 3-0, then followed that win with a 7-0 victory against Northern Illinois.

Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said she was very happy with her team’s performance.

“I thought we were awesome, I really do,” Gumpf said. “I thought we came out ready to play. We didn’t look like it was [only] our third week playing softball this year.” 

In their first game against Purdue, the Irish offense struggled in the beginning of the game, leaving the first four innings scoreless. The Irish struggled to get hits with runners on base through the first few innings, but eventually were able to drive home a run in the fifth and two in the sixth. 

The Irish pitchers had to work their way out of a few tough situation with Purdue’s runners frequently in scoring position. Freshman pitcher Morgan Ryan worked her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning by striking out a Purdue hitter to strand the baserunners. Defense also struggled against Purdue, committing three errors.

Gumpf said the Irish defense was subpar.

“When you look at the times we got in trouble, it was because we gave them free baserunners, we had three bad errors,” Gumpf said.

However, she was impressed with the way her pitchers performed under pressure.

“I loved the way the pitchers handled it, they were very mature, they kept their composure and they dominated,” she said. “They had no walks, which tells you they had awesome command on their pitches.”

The victory came easier in the second game, as the Irish cruised past Northern Illinois. While the fall games do not matter in terms of record, Gumpf still thinks they are important and hopes to find the identity of her team.

“We need to find out who our team is in the fall,” Gumpf said. "We need to find out what works for us, we need to find out who can handle the pressure, we need to find out who can make big plays for us — and we’re seeing that already which is really fun.”

Notre Dame also has a number of freshmen on the team. Gumpf said she was impressed with their performance.

“We have a very young team, and we didn’t act like it," she said. “I was really proud of the freshman. All but one of the freshman got a base hit. [They] were awesome today.”

Despite being very impressed with the team’s performance Saturday, Gumpf says there is still a lot of work to do.

“We really need to work on everything, especially defense," she said. "We need to have better at bats. Because we can have great at bats from the very beginning, we need to make sure that we’re executing every inning, and we need to eliminate free bases.”

 For the rest of their fall schedule, Notre Dame takes on Purdue University Northwest in a double header on Sunday, faces Valparaiso and Western Michigan on Oct. 6 and plays Loyola Chicago on Oct. 8. All games are at Melissa Cook Stadium.