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Saturday, May 25, 2024
The Observer

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Notre Dame softball prepares to face the Clemson Tigers

Irish seek to snap four-game losing streak against the Tigers

Slumping through a four-game losing streak, the Irish, who are now 23-18 overall and 7-11 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, look ahead to their penultimate weekend series against the Clemson Tigers. Clemson is 29-14 overall and 11-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The last time these two teams faced each other in a regular season series was April 14-16 in 2022. The teams played three games over the weekend with Notre Dame losing two games and winning one over the Tigers. 

Game One

After giving up two runs in the seventh inning, the Irish took the 3-2 loss in the series opener against the Tigers in 2022. 

After the Tigers walked right fielder Emma Clark and beaned center fielder Abby Sweet in the first inning, a single from senior first baseman Karina Gaskins allowed Clark to score the first run of the game and advanced Sweet to third base. Junior Emily Tran then came in to pinch-run for Gaskins. After Tran's steal attempt forced a throw to second, Sweet stole home, tallying the second run of the game for the Irish. However, the Tigers managed to put a run on the board for themselves in the bottom of the inning. Both teams played strong defense with neither offense scoring in the second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth inning, but the Tigers managed two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to make the final score 3-2. 

Payton Tidd started in the circle for the Irish, throwing 6.1 innings. She allowed six hits, two earned runs and suffered the loss for the Irish. Alexis Holloway finished out the game for the Irish, allowing one hit and recording one out. 

Game Two

A no-hitter from Alexis Holloway paved the way for a 4-0 Irish victory over Clemson. 

With a tied score of 0-0 for the first three innings of the game, the Irish put the first points on the board in the fourth inning with Clark, Sweet and Gaskins all hitting doubles to give the Irish a 2-0 lead over the Tigers. Not letting their momentum go, the Irish added on two more runs in the fifth inning. With hits from Sweet, shortstop Brooke Marquez and left fielder Leea Hanks, the Irish pulled ahead with a 4-0 lead. The Tigers were not able to respond in the next two innings, and the Irish took the final 4-0 win. 

Holloway threw a complete game for the Irish and earned her second no-hitter of the 2021-2022 season. Holloway struck out six, gave up three walks and hit one batter over the seven innings. 

Game Three

Unfortunately, the finale did not end in Notre Dame's favor. The Irish took another close loss of 2-1 against the Tigers to lose the 2022 series.

Notre Dame jumped ahead early, putting the first run on the board in the first inning, but Clemson was quick to respond, adding a run of their own in the second inning to tie the score at 1-1. Neither team scored in the third, fourth, fifth or sixth inning, but the Tigers drove in one more run in the seventh inning, making the final score 2-1. 

Offensively, the Irish were led by junior designated player Jane Kronenberger, who hit 3-for-4 in the game. Alongside her, Gaskins and Clark contributed offensively with two-hit efforts. Second baseman Miranda Johnson, third baseman Joley Mitchell, senior catcher Carlli Kloss, Hanks and Sweet also added hits for the Irish.  

Junior Shannon Becker started the game on the mound for the Irish. Becker threw 6.2 innings, striking out three. Tidd relieved Becker in the seventh inning, allowing just one hit. 

Looking Ahead

Looking forward, the Irish now prepare to face off once again against the Tigers, who are coming off a 4-0 win over Winthrop. 

Offensively, Valerie Cagle leads the Tigers in the box with a batting average of .364, but is followed closely by teammate McKenzie Clark, who has a batting average of .359. 

The Irish also need to watch out for Cagle in the circle. She has a total of 84 strikeouts so far this season and is tied with Millie Thompson for the second-most pitching appearances (20) on the team.