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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The Observer

No. 21 Irish gear up to face the No. 14 Clemson Tigers for first time in program history

For the first time in program history, No. 21 Notre Dame softball will face the No. 14 Clemson Tigers in a three game series down in Clemson, South Carolina beginning on Thursday, April 14. Play will continue throughout Friday April 15 and Saturday April 16, as the Irish look to continue the hot win streak they have had this season.  

Notre Dame prepares for Clemson following a double-winning weekend away against Syracuse. Despite difficult field and weather conditions, each member of the team was able to, as put simply by head coach Deanna Gumpf, “do very well in doing their job.” 

“I love the way that our team showed up and took care of business and truly controlled both days we got to play,” Gumpf said. “There were quite a few of them who really stepped up. I would say [senior] Payton Tidd led the way for us in the circle for the first game, then [graduate student] Alexis Holloway came in and shut the door on Saturday. Both pitchers did a great job, and [freshman] Shannon Becker even ended up closing the game for us too.” 

Offensively, big hits by sophomore first baseman Karina Gaskins, freshman designated hitter Jane Kronenberger and Tidd helped put the Irish up against the Orange.

 “A lot of people came up in really big situations and we found a way,” Gumpf said. 

Tidd was certainly a star for the Irish this week, making some critical plays against Syracuse and earning the title of ACC Pitcher of the Week, bestowed to her by the conference. Gumpf has relied on Tidd as a steady base for the team throughout the season and is proud she has been recognized. 

“Payton has been super steady for us, and I think that’s probably the most important thing she can give this team,” Gumpf said. “She shows up in big moments and has helped beat some really good teams. She also has offensively really helped the team as well. I love the fact that she is getting recognition by the conference for doing something that she really has done all season.”

Tidd and her teammates certainly will have to bring the power this weekend. With a consistent top 15 ranking, a 30-10 overall record and a 9-6 ACC record, the Tigers are bound to be a tough matchup for the Irish. For comparison, the Irish are ranked 21, with a record of 30-7 overall and 9-3 in ACC. Nevertheless, Gumpf has faith that the team can show up and get the job done, capturing what would be the first win against Clemson in program history. 

“Clemson is a really good team,” Gumpf said. “They are led by a really strong pitcher in the circle and have a lot of power in their lineup. We have to be playing really good softball at Clemson. We’ve never been there before, so that is going to be something interesting for our program as well. It’s gonna be fun, it’s gonna be a huge challenge but a great opportunity that we are ready for.”

As the season winds down for the Irish, Gumpf has one goal: consistency. With a philosophy of “taking it game by game,” Gumpf prioritizes finishing out the regular season strong to ensure postseason success.  

“I just like where we are at, and I think we are playing very good softball,” Gumpf said. “Right now we are just looking for consistency and if we get that, we’re in business.” 

Tune into ACCNX as No. 21 Notre Dame takes on No. 14 Clemson away in McWhorter Stadium. Play will begin on Thursday, April 14 at 6 p.m., followed by subsequent games on Friday, April 15 at 6 p.m. and Sunday, April 16 at 1 p.m.