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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

Irish softball punishes Indiana with fourth run-rule victory of April

Notre Dame softball notched its second consecutive run-rule victory on Wednesday, dispatching Indiana 9-1 at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Possibly the Irish’s most complete performance of the year against power five opposition, Notre Dame excelled in all phases of the game. 

Graduate student Payton Tidd cruised on the mound, pitching a complete game with seven strikeouts. Tidd allowed just three hits in six innings of work. The offense did its part, scoring in each of the final four innings of action to slowly bury the Hoosiers. The defense behind Tidd was steady as well, conceding just one error. 

After the game, head coach Deanna Gumpf stressed the importance of all-around play in her team’s latest winning streak:

“I think [that consistency] is why the win follows,” said Gumpf. “When that happens, good things happen. And [the team] buys into it. They know when we do it well we’re tough. And I’m really proud of them, because they know the challenges, and they know how important it is, and they did a really good job.”

Notre Dame got the final run in its "walk-off" victory from an unlikely source. Gumpf opted to send junior infielder Cassidy Grimm to the plate as a pinch hitter for senior infielder Joley Mitchell, usually one of the team's top hitters. Grimm repaid her coach's confidence with a hard-hit single to right field, scoring freshman outfielder Mickey Winchell and clinching the victory for the Irish.

After the game, Gumpf remarked that the sort of timely hitting Grimm provided was just what she expected from her pinch hitter:

“Cassidy is a really good and consistent third baseman,” Gumpf said. “She’s just a baller. She’s so consistent in her game, and that’s what I’ve been preaching. That’s who I wanted in the game.”

Notre Dame will now look ahead to another weekend ACC series, this time against Virginia Tech. The Hokies have been one of the ACC’s top teams this year and currently sit at third in conference standings. 

Facing a major opportunity at home to keep climbing in the standings, Gumpf observed that the momentum her squad had established in their most recent midweek victories over Indiana and Michigan State should serve as an important boost.

“I’m really proud of the way we’ve shown up this week,” said Gumpf. “Virginia Tech is really good. [But] I have zero doubt that we’re gonna show up this weekend.”

Virginia Tech currently holds a 31-10 record and an 11-4 mark in conference play. But the Hokies will enter South Bend with a point to prove, with their most recent outing being an 11-0 demolition at the hands of No. 7/6 Tennessee. The Hokies have excelled on the road this spring, boasting a 19-6 record away from Blacksburg.

Notre Dame softball will be back in action at Melissa Cook Stadium on Friday against Virginia Tech. First pitch is currently set for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the ACC Network.