Notre Dame Softball: Irish fall to McNeese in NCAA elimination game

Justin Frommer
ND Insider

Notre Dame softball lost to McNeese, 3-1, late Saturday night in an NCAA Tournament elimination game in Evanston, Ill.

The Irish survived Oakland, 16-1, in Saturday's first elimination game. Notre Dame finished its season 40-12.

Freshman Shannon Becker threw 5.1 innings against McNeese, giving up seven hits and three runs. Alexis Holloway came on with the bases loaded in the sixth, got lineout in her final appearance for Notre Dame.

Sophomore Joley Mitchell went 2-for-3 for the Irish.

ND tops Oakland

Notre Dame was on the brink of elimination. It left nothing up to chance, beating Oakland 16-1 in five innings to win its first of two Saturday elimination games.

Notre Dame head softball coach Deanna Gumpf, center, has led the Irish to the NCAA Tournament in each of her 23 seasons. This year Notre Dame looks to advance to its first ever Super Regional.

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The Irish will get their rematch later tonight against McNeese (first pitch around 10:15 p.m.), who beat Notre Dame 11-1 on Friday, with a chance to move on to tomorrow's Evanston Regional final against No. 9 Northwestern. If it gets there, Notre Dame would have to beat the Wildcats twice to reach its first super regional in program history. 

Notre Dame's bats got off to a quick start against the Grizzlies, scoring two runs in the first inning, six in the second and three in the third, finishing Saturday's game, which  was delayed around two hours due to rain, with 17 hits. 

Joley Mitchell drove in a team-high four runs, doubling in two runs in the second inning to put Notre Dame up 6-0 and hitting a two-run homer in the fifth to extend Notre Dame's lead to 16-1.

Leea Hanks and Jane Kronenberger each drove in three runs, while Karina Gaskins added two RBI.

Gaskins doubled in the first inning to put Notre Dame up 1-0 and drove in a run in the second on a single to put the Irish up 4-0. 

Hanks singled in a run in the second and hit a two-run homer in the third, while Kronenberger singled in a run in the first and two more in the fifth to put the Irish up 14-1. 

Emma Clark (one) and Miranda Johnson (two) also drove in runs for the Irish. Brooke Marquez also homered in the win.

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Oakland, who was eliminated with its loss, scored its lone run on a homer in the fourth inning, while trailing 11-0. 

Notre Dame pitchers Payton Tidd and Alexis Holloway rebounded from yesterday's poor outings, giving up just three hits, one earned run and combining for five strikeouts (all by Tidd) to complement Notre Dame's offense. 

Check back for other Notre Dame softball action from Saturday night.