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Friday, June 21, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame handles Miami (OH) 11-3 in home opener

Notre Dame softball extended their winning streak to six games Tuesday, dispatching Miami (OH) 11-3 in five innings. 

The Irish bats got going early, plating three runs in the first inning alone. After two quick outs, junior infielder Karina Gaskins slapped a double down the third base line. A walk by graduate student infielder Lexi Orozco brought up senior infielder Joley Mitchell, who brought home Gaskins with a hard-hit single to left field. Another single by graduate student pitcher Payton Tidd then brought in Orozco and Mitchell.

Tidd, who also started on the mound for the Irish, got off to a shaky start in the second. A two-run Jenna Golembiewski home run brought the RedHawks within a run. But she quickly found her groove, not allowing another run for the rest of her four-inning outing.

After being blanked in the bottom of the second, Notre Dame responded to the RedHawks homer in the third inning through another run-scoring Mitchell single. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Mitchell drove the ball into left field and senior outfielder Leea Hanks and Gaskins raced home, pushing the Irish lead back to three.

The runs would keep coming for Notre Dame in the fourth. Sophomore infielder Jane Kronenberger's single and junior catcher Carli Kloss' double put a pair of runners in scoring position with just one out. But Hanks would do more than just bring the two runners in, belting a three-run home run over the right-center field wall to give the Irish an 8-2 lead.

Head coach Deanna Gumpf opted to pull Tidd after four innings. Sophomore Shannon Becker came in to pitch what would become the final inning of the contest. Becker struggled early, conceding two singles and a run off of a fielder's choice. But facing a bases-loaded jam with one out, Becker buckled down. Working a strikeout and then a flyout, Becker escaped her one inning of work largely unscathed.

In the bottom half of the fifth, the Irish poured it on, forcing the run rule into effect. Mitchell led off and wasted no time belting a solo home run over the center field fence, collecting her fourth RBI of the day. Singles by Tidd and freshman outfielder Mickey Winchell would bring up the top of the order with two outs. The top of the order would be the last hitters Miami saw. Consecutive singles by Kloss and Hanks would end the game by run rule.

The win sets the Irish up nicely for their second game in as many days against Western Michigan Wednesday. With Tidd throwing just 49 pitches and Becker 26, both could feasibly be options on the mound again. With Western Michigan currently holding a 6-11 record, it would also be no surprise if Gumpf took the opportunity to give breakout freshman Micaela Kastor another appearance in the circle.

Notre Dame softball will be back in action against Western Michigan on Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium in South Bend. The first pitch is slated for 5 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on ACC Network Extra.