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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame softball looks to continue strong play on the road at Boston College

Irish junior pitcher Payton Tidd winds up to throw during Notre Dame's 5-3 loss to Louisville on Mar. 24, 2019 at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Irish junior pitcher Payton Tidd winds up to throw during Notre Dame's 5-3 loss to Louisville on Mar. 24, 2019 at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Notre Dame softball will look to continue their recent momentum this weekend in a road series against Boston College.

After an up-and-down start to conference play, the Irish have hit their stride in the last month. Series wins over Louisville and Virginia Tech have shown that Notre Dame can compete with the top half of the ACC. 

The Virginia Tech series, in particular, was an important moment for the Irish. Notre Dame entered the series with one ranked win on the season. They finished the weekend with two more.

The Irish offense was excellent in Notre Dame’s dispatching of the Hokies. Racking up 24 runs in three games, they buried Virginia Tech in an avalanche of hitting. This outburst came to a head in game three of the series, when Notre Dame racked up 11 runs and forced an early ending to the game.

It’s not the first series in which the Irish offense has played a major role in the team’s success. Notre Dame currently leads the ACC in total runs scored in conference play, with 109 in 18 games. This marks an uptick in production from the start of the season, as evidenced by the fact that they are only fourth in the conference in total runs scored.

Against Boston College, the Irish will face a team whose offense has trended in the opposite direction since the start of conference play. The Eagles have managed just 34 runs in their 15 conference games — good for last in the ACC. 

In spite of their offensive struggles, the Eagles have remained competitive in conference play. Boston College fell to third place Duke last weekend in a sweep, but the Blue Devils were anything but dominant. All three games saw a final score margin of three runs or fewer. 

Such score lines have been a common theme for Eagles games in ACC play this spring. Boston College doesn’t score much, but they do excel at limiting opposing offenses. Both of the Eagles’ conference wins have come in games where their opponent scored three runs or fewer. While Boston College currently sits at the bottom of the ACC standings, they’re only fourth-worst in the conference in terms of runs allowed. Notably, the Eagles’ 85 runs allowed in conference play are only three more than Notre Dame’s 82.

In the circle, the Irish will all but certainly lean on Payton Tidd. The graduate student has been the starting pitcher for four of the teams’ last six wins. A veteran leader who has a remarkable knack for getting out of jams and through innings, Tidd ranks fifth in the ACC in total innings pitched and sixth in complete games. Her ability to work her way through games has proven essential in allowing underclassmen pitchers Shannon Becker and Micaela Kastor to rest, a marked improvement to the consistent bullpen rotation the staff had to utilize earlier in the season.

Notre Dame softball will be back in action against Boston College on Friday in Chestnut Hill. First pitch is set for 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ACC Network.