Irish sweep Strikeout Cancer doubleheader
Following the games, graduate student Katie Marino and senior Abby Sweet elected to donate 10 inches of their hair towards wigs for kids fighting cancer.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (Notre Dame Athletics) - Notre Dame (28-12, 17-10 ACC) won both games of the doubleheader against Charlotte (27-15, 11-5 C-USA) Saturday, with the 3-0 and 11-6 wins extending the Irish’s win streak to 11-consecutive games, in addition to a 16-game win streak at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Saturday also marked the annual Strike Out Cancer day, which raises funds and awareness for childhood cancer patients. Over the past few days, the Irish have raised more than $20,000 for the cause.
Prior to Saturday’s doubleheader, Tatum Gumpf, daughter of Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf, and the initial inspiration for the Strike Out Cancer event, presented Ivaih, one of Notre Dame’s Fight For Life teammates, with an official Notre Dame Monogram Jacket.
Following the games, graduate student Katie Marino and senior Abby Sweet elected to donate 10 inches of their hair towards wigs for kids fighting cancer. Senior Alexis Holloway and Coach Gumpf did the honors and cut their hair.
On the field, junior Payton Tidd went the distance for the complete-game shutout in the first game, improving to 14-5 on the year, adding five strikeouts and allowing just four hits. Holloway started the second game, and senior Morgan Ryan entered in relief, pitching four innings and earning the win (2-1 on the season).
In the batter’s box, sophomore Leea Hanks led the way, totaling five hits through both games. Hanks went 4-4 in the second game Saturday, hitting her first home run inside Melissa Cook Stadium (third of her career), and scoring four runs while tallying two RBI.
Tidd and the Irish sat down the Charlotte side in the top of the first, and in the bottom half of the inning, junior Emma Clark forced a one-out error to reach second. Marino singled to score Clark and put the Irish on the board. Freshman Karina Gaskins singled immediately after to score Marino, and the Irish ended the first inning up 2-0.
Both squads went scoreless in the second inning, with the Irish adding a hit from freshman Cassidy Grimm. Charlotte noted its first hit in the third inning, but a double play cleared the bases and ended the inning. The Irish were unable to score in the third, and both Notre Dame and the 49ers also went scoreless in the fourth.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Gaskins walked, and junior Shelby Grimm pinch ran. Pushed to second on a Hanks groundout, Shelby Grimm stole third, and got home on an RBI single from senior Sarah Genz to go up 3-0.
With neither team scoring further in the sixth and seventh innings, Tidd earned the shutout win in the opening game of the doubleheader.
Holloway started on the mound for the Irish, and Charlotte came out hot, leading off with a single. After two outs, a double scored the first run, and the next batter singled to score another run, putting Charlotte up 2-0 heading to the bottom of the inning. Sweet responded with a leadoff double, making it home on a Clark single, and the Irish emerged from the first inning trailing Charlotte 2-1.
Holloway sat the 49ers down in order in the second, and in the bottom half, Hanks led off with a single, reaching third on the following Genz single. On a Holloway popup, Hanks was caught off base, and when Charlotte attempted to throw her out, an error allowed Hanks to score, tying the game at 2-2. Genz was also pushed to second. Graduate student Chelsea Purcell grounded out, allowing Genz to get to third. Cassidy Grimm delivered a double to score Genz, and the Irish took a 3-2 lead.
Charlotte responded in the third with a leadoff double, and with a walk, both runners advanced on a sac bunt. A single scored both runners, but the Irish were able to limit the damage as Shelby Grimm and Purcell caught a runner stealing, and Marino fielded the last groundout.
Marino led off with a solo home run in the third, and after an out, Hanks singled, which was followed by a Genz walk. Holloway walked to load the bases, and Purcell delivered a sac fly to score Hanks from third. Cassidy Grimm then tripled, the first triple of her career, to score Genz and Holloway. The third inning ended with the Irish up 7-4.
The 49ers scored two more in the fourth, as the leadoff batter walked and stole second. Another walk followed, and Ryan entered to pitch for the Irish. A subsequent double scored two runs, and the Irish took care of the next three outs to head to bat. Marino led off with a single, and Gaskins delivered a sac fly to push Marino to second. Hanks singled to score Marino, reaching second on the throw. Genz sent a triple, the second of her career, down the line to score Hanks, and the Irish extended the lead to 9-6.
Both squads were scoreless in the fifth, and in the sixth, Charlotte was also kept off the board. In the bottom of the sixth, the Irish started off with two groundouts. Hanks stepped up to the plate and homered, her first home run at Melissa Cook Stadium. Genz followed with a single, and freshman Carlli Kloss entered to pinch run. Ryan singled to push Kloss to third. Sophomore Miranda Johnson entered to pinch hit, and forced a Charlotte error to reach base and score Kloss. The Irish headed to the seventh with an 11-6 lead.
In the seventh, Ryan added a strikeout and Hanks and Cassidy Grimm took care of the outs to preserve the doubleheader sweep, winning Notre Dame’s 11th-consecutive game, and 16th-straight contest at home.
Notre Dame will take on its final series of the regular season, hosting Boston College May 7-9 for Senior Weekend.