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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame softball sweeps NC State

Notre Dame softball swept their home series against North Carolina State, emerging victorious in all three games played over the weekend. The final matchup of the four-game series scheduled to take place Sunday was cancelled due to weather, and will not be rescheduled. 

Junior pitcher Payton Tidd threw a complete game against the Wolfpack (14-11, 10-11 ACC) in the first contest of the series. Tidd struck out four batters and only walked two over the course of seven innings. Additionally, she hit the eventual game winning home run for the Irish (16-8, 9-6 ACC), helping to make the final score 6-5 in favor of Notre Dame. 

The team performed well at the plate, scoring at least one run in four of the six innings. Junior outfielder Emma Clark, graduate student infielder Katie Marino, and sophomore infielder Brooke Marquez all contributed had RBIs. Senior outfielder Abby Sweet also extended her on-base streak to 40 games and was the first to score a run for the Irish, tying the score 1-1 at the end of the first inning.

Two strikeouts from Tidd made quick work of the Wolfpack in the top of the next inning, and sophomore outfielder Leea Hanks started off strong with a triple that eventually led to her scoring later in the inning. The score remained 2-1 through the third, as neither team was able to send a runner home, and after a home run early in the fourth inning for NC State, the Irish responded with two more runs of their own to make the score 4-2.

Tidd’s third home run of the season put the team ahead 6-3, and though the Wolfpack were able to come back to make it 6-5, it was not enough to steal the win from the Irish. 

In the first game of their double-header on Saturday, senior pitcher Morgan Ryan took the circle and kept NC State from scoring over the course of five innings. In the second inning, a double from Tidd sent freshman infielder Cassidy Grimm home for the first score of the game. Graduate student infielder Chelsea Purcell’s hit by pitch loaded the bases. Following this, Purcell and Hanks were both able to make it home, putting the Irish up 3-0 by the end of the inning.

Marquez hit a home run in the bottom of the fourth,  making it 4-0. In the same inning, Sweet and junior catcher Shelby Grimm were both hit by pitches, which ultimately led to another run for the Irish. In the final inning of the day, Purcell and Sweet were plunked yet again, causing Notre Dame to take the contest 8-0. 

Tidd returned to pitch a complete game in the afternoon, striking out the final batter in the top of the first. However, an early NC State homer put the Wolfpack up 2-0 before the first at-bat for the Irish. Sweet was hit by a pitch for a third time on the day in the bottom of the first, and Clark gained a run to make it 2-1. 

Both teams were unable to score in the two subsequent innings, with Tidd striking out three more to keep the Wolfpack contained. Coming off of this momentum, the Irish picked up speed in the bottom of the fourth, going through the entire batting lineup. Junior infielder Quinn Biggio’s home run allowed her and Hanks to score. Three consecutive HBPs caused the Irish to then load the bases ahead of several runs by the team. Purcell and sophomore infielder/outfielder Miranda Johnson both scored off of this, while a single from Hanks sent Clark and Marino home to make the score 7-2.

Despite a pair of two-run homers by NC State, the Irish were able to maintain their lead to make the final score read 7-6. This game secured the series win for Notre Dame despite Sunday’s game being cancelled.

The Irish will face Central Michigan Wednesday night at home before continuing on to another four-game showing in Tallahassee against Florida State this upcoming weekend.