Apr 16, 2014, 2:43 PM EDT
Whether it is baseball or softball, a very small margin of error is allowed in order to ensure victory. A simple mistake on a routine play could be the difference between winning and losing. On Saturday, Notre Dame softball played the Florida State Seminoles in their first Atlantic Coast Conference home game and it was the error column on the box score that was the difference in the ball game.
It all began in the bottom of the second inning, with the Irish trailing 1-0. After Micaela Arizmendi was hit by a pitch, Laura Winter hit a grounder to the Florida State second baseman. However, she reached on a throwing error and Monica Torres (who was running for Arizmendi) advanced to second.
After Torres and Winter advanced advanced to third and second, respectively, on a ground-out, Florida State committed its second error of the inning. This time it was the Florida State shortstop to blame. Two runs scored and the Irish were threatening again with Chloe Saganowich on first and Megan Sorlie at the plate. After Sorlie advanced the runner to second by grounding into a fielder’s choice, Karley Wester singled to score Saganowich from second and increase Notre Dame’s lead to 3-1.
The following inning, Florida State committed yet another error. After the Seminoles tied up the score with two home runs in the top of the third inning, Notre Dame recaptured the lead off of the bats of Jenna Simon and Emilee Koerner.
With Koerner on second base, Katey Haus stepped up to the plate and hit a weak chopper to the shortstop. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, the ball had so much spin on it that it actually bounced off the shortstop’s glove. Koerner stayed on second and Haus was safe on first. Arizmendi stepped up again for her second trip to the plate, and on the first pitch she drove the ball back up the middle into center field, scoring Koerner and increasing the lead to 5-3.
The final Seminoles error came in the bottom of the sixth inning with the score deadlocked at 5-5. The bases were loaded with Haus up to bat for Notre Dame. After she worked the count to 1-2, Haus hit another grounder to the shortstop. The Florida State shortstop’s day went from bad to worse because an easy throw to first, which would have been the third and final out of the inning turned, was over calculated and the ball was thrown so high and to the right that the first baseman had to step off the bag in order to make sure that it would not have gone into her own dugout. This error not only cost the Seminoles three runs in the sixth, but it also cost them the game. Laura Winter would not let the Seminoles tie the score up a third time as she retired three of the four batters she faced in the last inning (walked one batter with two outs).
The difference in the game was certainly the Florida State errors. Both teams recorded ten hits in the game, but it was errors that not only extended innings for Notre Dame but they also scored five unearned runs because of them. Notre Dame’s defense played exceptionally well from what I saw in the first game.
Katey Haus had two ESPN “Top 10” plays in the field. The first came in the top of the fourth inning. A hard-hit, one-hopper was hit in Haus’ direction. She was able to, in a instant, trap the ball on the ground with an acrobatic dive and threw a “laser” to get the runner out at first. Her second play was even better than the first. Runners on first and second in the top of the sixth inning; a line drive was hit down the third base side. The runner on second took off for third thinking the ball was going to go into the outfield. In one movement, Haus snagged the ball out of the air and threw it over to second for the force out and the double play.
Notre Dame played great defense in their first ACC home game and the lack of mistakes on their part was the reason for the Irish opening the three-game series against Florida State with a win. Unfortunately, the Irish dropped their second game in nine innings by a score of 9-7. The rubber match in this series takes place tomorrow at 7 PM. Come out to support the Irish as they take on the Florida State Seminoles in this top 25 showdown. Also, this game will be shown on ESPNU if you need anymore reason to come.
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