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Irish secure series after sweep of doubleheader, 8-0, 7-6

Published: Mar. 27, 2021 at 11:04 PM EDT
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NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame swept the doubleheader Saturday vs. NC State, run-ruling the Wolfpack 8-0 in the five-inning first game, and emerging victorious in the 7-6 second game to secure a series win heading into Sunday’s series finale.

Senior Morgan Ryan (1-1) earned the win in the first-game shutout, as she pitched all 5.0 innings, while junior Payton Tidd (8-4) also pitched a complete game, going seven innings to get the second win of the day.

Notre Dame remained successful hitting, batting .476 in the first game and .326 in the second game as a lineup. They were led by sophomore Leea Hanks with four hits over the two outings. Sophomore Brooke Marquez homered in the first game (fourth inning), her first home run of the season and second of her career. Junior Quinn Biggio also went yard, sending her two-run shot in the fourth inning of the second game.

The Irish also took advantage of several Wolfpack miscues, including a total of 11 HBP issued by NC State pitchers.

Senior Abby Sweet extended her on-base streak to 42 games, while taking HBPs a whopping six times over the course of the day, including four in a singular game. Sweet, entering the second game with a 16-game hit streak, was hit by a pitch on every at-bat of the game (four total).  Entering this weekend, no Division I player had taken more than three HBP in a single game this season. She added a hit and three RBI total on the day.

Graduate student Chelsea Purcell was the player of the day on defense for the Irish, turning two double plays and making multiple quick plays on the third-base corner to save hits. On the day, she totaled six putouts and two assists, also adding three runs and three HBP at the plate.

GAME ONE

With Ryan starting in the circle, Notre Dame took care of the first two batters, and after allowing a single, retired the third batter to keep NC State scoreless. The Irish went three up, three down in the bottom of the first, as did NC State in the top of the second.

Notre Dame opened it up in the second inning, as freshman Karina Gaskins led off with a single. Freshman Cassidy Grimm entered to pinch run, and as Tidd doubled, Grimm scored. Hanks stepped up to the plate and singled, pushing Tidd to third, and Hanks stole second. Purcell took her first HBP of the day to load the bases. After NC State turned a double play,  junior Shelby Grimm walked to again load the bases. A Sweet single scored both Hanks and Purcell, and the Irish ended the second up 3-0.

Both teams went scoreless in the third, as Ryan hurled two strikeouts. In the fourth, Ryan and the Irish sat NC State down in order, and headed to the plate. With two outs, Marquez sent her solo shot outside the walls to score. Shelby Grimm returned to the plate and took a HBP, stealing second on the Sweet at-bat. Sweet was then hit by a pitch. Junior Emma Clark singled to advance both runners one base, and due to an NC State error, Shelby Grimm sped home to score. The fourth inning ended with the Irish up 5-0.

Graduate student Katie Marino took care of the first grounder of the fifth, and while NC State singled, the Irish turned a double play on the next batter, as Purcell made an impressive grab on a lineout before dishing the ball to Gaskins at first.

The Irish returned to the batter’s box, and Tidd drew a walk with one out. Hanks singled on a well-placed bunt, and Purcell was hit by yet another pitch to load the bases. Marquez singled to bring Tidd home, and Biggio followed with a single to score Hanks. With Shelby Grimm entering to pinch-run for Biggio, Sweet was hit by another pitch, which brought in Purcell to seal the five-inning Irish win at 8-0.

In Game One, Notre Dame out-hit NC State 10-3.

GAME TWO

To start off the second game, NC State reached base on an error before Purcell turned her second double play of the day to get both runners out. After NC State singled, the Wolfpack homered to score two. Tidd struck out the final batter to end the top of the inning with the Irish down 2-0.

Sweet led off with a HBP, her third of the day and first of the game, but was called out on a subsequent Clark fielder’s choice ball. Clark then stole second, taking third on an NC State throwing error. Marino delivered a fielder’s choice, and while NC State attempted to tag Clark out at home, they were unsuccessful, and Clark scored. The inning ended with the Irish down just one, at 2-1.

Both teams were scoreless in the second and third innings, as Marquez turned a double play in the second, and Tidd posted three strikeouts. In the fourth, with two runners on, Tidd and the Irish were able to strand the runners on base with a quick lineout to Purcell and an impressive foul catch by Hanks.

In the fourth, the Irish came alive, as Hanks led off with a bunt single, then stealing second. On a 15-pitch at-bat, Biggio made it worth her while as she homered to score both. Purcell took her third HBP of the day, as sophomore Miranda Johnson was hit by a pitch immediately after. Sweet again was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Clark delivered a single to score Purcell and Johnson, as Sweet made it to third and Clark to second on the throw. Marino walked to load the bases, and while Sweet was later tagged out on a Tidd fielder’s choice ball, Hanks delivered a single, her second of the inning, to score Clark and Marino. Able to bat all the way through the lineup in the fourth inning alone, the Irish headed to the fifth up 7-2.

While both teams were scoreless in the fifth, in the top of the sixth, the leadoff batter for NC State walked, and with two outs, the Wolfpack sent a home run to score two. Tidd limited the damage to that, and while the Irish were unable to score, they entered the final inning up 7-4.

In the seventh, NC State reached on an error before another two-run homer to put the score at 7-6. Sweet made the first out on a fly ball, as Marquez grabbed the second, a lineout. On the next batter, Tidd delivered a swinging strikeout to preserve the win.

UP NEXT

The series finale between the two teams will take place Sunday at Noon ET. The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.