Sep 16, 2013, 12:07 PM EDT
Notre Dame Softball kicked off their 2013 “fall ball” season this afternoon against Illinois State University. Free substitutions and different runner situations to start off each inning are some of the different rules for these “fall ball” games. In this nineinning exhibition game, Notre Dame fell to the Redbirds 21-14. However, the big story of the game came in the fourth inning when freshman, Kimmy Sullivan was put in the game at first base.
If the freshman from Greenwood, Ind., was nervous about her first game with the Irish, she hid it very well. Being placed on third base as a runner in the beginning of the second inning, she scored off an Emilee Koerner RBI groundout. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Sullivan stepped into the batters box for her first-ever collegiate at-bat. The freshman was introduced to the crowd as Kimmy “Gibbler” Sullivan by the PA announcer at Melissa Cook Stadium as a joke referring to the Full House character. Sullivan took the nickname in stride and later in the at-bat, ripped a line drive double into deep left-center, plating a run.
Later in the sixth inning, Sullivan was moved over to third base where she demonstrated her defensive skills. With a runner on second base, Notre Dame was trying to get through the half-inning with not giving up any runs as they had just tied the game up at 8-8 the previous inning. However, the Redbirds tried to test their luck by sending the runner on second with the hopes of a stolen base. Unfortunately for them, catcher Casey Africano threw a rocket down the third base line. Sullivan then made an amazingly acrobatic play as she reached across her body to get the tag down at third, tagging the runner out.
The Redbirds were able to manufacture a run later on in the sixth inning, but that one-run lead was not there for long. “Gibbler” led off with a runner placed at second to begin the next inning. She wasted no time when she saw the pitch she wanted and crushed a two-run homer over the left-center field wall. The home run was one that could be heard around the campus as it pinged off the scoreboard in left-center field. The team showed their appreciation for Sullivan’s efforts with high-fives and congratulations waiting for her when she got back to the dugout.
Kimmy Sullivan ended the game with three RBIs and a run scored. Although it was only the first game of the fall season, this freshman definitely proved she deserves to be a part of the Irish softball team. This was a great start to her collegiate career and I look forward to seeing what else she has to offer.
The Irish are back in action during their “fall ball” slate next Sunday at Melissa Cook Stadium as they take on Purdue and Butler at 12:00 PM and 4:30 PM, respectively.
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