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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

Irish softball prepares for crucial series against Florida State

Max Petrosky/The Observer
Max Petrosky/The Observer

This weekend, Notre Dame softball will look to win their fourth consecutive ACC series as they welcome Florida State to South Bend.

The matchup with the Seminoles is about as pivotal as they come for the Irish. Notre Dame currently sits precariously on the NCAA Tournament bubble. recently listed the Irish as one of the last teams in their projected national tournament field.

Notre Dame needs a statement win. The Irish are currently 3-5 against teams in the RPI top 25. That 37.5% winning percentage is good as far as bubble teams go. But it’s not nearly enough to make up for slip-ups like a series loss to Pittsburgh, as well as a middling strength of schedule. 

Florida State currently ranks fifth in RPI. They’re a consensus top-five team across national polls as well. They’ll enter Melissa Cook Stadium on the heels of a six-game winning streak that has included four ranked wins. They’ve won 13 of 14 games so far in April, including a road sweep of a Clemson team ranked No. 6 nationally.

If a statement win will help Notre Dame guarantee an NCAA Tournament berth, the Seminoles present a perfect opportunity. But Florida State is as highly ranked as they are for a reason. They’re excellent in all phases of the game.

The Seminoles’ electric offense ranks as one of the best in the conference. They’ve totaled exactly 300 runs on the year and are one of just two ACC teams to reach that mark. Power hitting has been a hallmark of Florida State’s offensive success. They rank first in the ACC in doubles, second in triples and fourth in team slugging percentage. The Seminoles are also smart about getting on base. Florida State has drawn 203 walks on the year. No other team in the ACC has more than 191.

Supplementing a strong Seminole offense is quality pitching in the circle. Florida State’s staff boasts a team ERA of 1.66, good for second best in the conference. Anchoring the Seminole staff is the one-two punch of Makenna Reid and Kathryn Sandercock. The pairing boasts 10-0 and 17-3 records, respectively, and pristine ERAs that come within one-tenth of a point of one another. Reid’s is 1.01, second in the ACC. Sandercock comes in at fourth at 1.07. Rounding out the primary rotation is Allison Royalty. Royalty hasn't been nearly as dominant as Reid or Sandercock but still boasts an impressive 7-1 record with a 2.03 ERA.

Notre Dame softball will be back in action Friday against Florida State. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ACC Network.