May 2, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT
Despite the ominous clouds that lingered over Melissa Cook Stadium, Notre Dame’s Strikeout Cancer jerseys shined bright. The jerseys and patches of orange that could be seen all over the stadium and fans in attendance served as a nice reminder that the Irish were playing for more than a game. They were playing for Tatum Gumpf, Coach Gumpf’s daughter, and everyone else who has been touched by leukemia. During the weekend, Maryland came into town for a three-game series. Notre Dame took the first two games on Sunday afternoon in a doubleheader. The Irish were in prime position to go for the sweep. Getting the sweep would be even better for Notre Dame Softball as the game was being aired lived on national television on ESPNU.
There were strong, swirling winds throughout the entire game. It was this wind that played just as big a factor as did Laura Winter’s five innings of work from the pitcher’s circle. I am not sure if “Mother Nature” is a Notre Dame fan, but it sure seemed like it today. The first evidence of “her” love for the blue and gold was in the first inning.
With two outs Emilee Koerner setted into the batter’s box. After working the count to 2-2, Koerner saw the pitch she wanted and connected. Yet, it seemed like she got a little on top of the pitch and it appeared as though the ball was going to be just a line drive caught by Maryland left fielder, Erin Pronobis, for the third and final out of the inning. However, the wind took control of the ball and “threw” the ball over the fence into the hedges as the Irish jumped out to an early 1-0 lead.
The following inning Maryland crushed the ball into left field on two separate occasions. However, Mother Nature would not let either clear the foul pole as “she” pushed both of the balls foul.
The final occurrence of Mother Nature making a play in the field happened in the bottom of the fifth inning. With the Irish up 6-1 and runners on second and third, Notre Dame was trying to hit the “mercy rule,” which is being up by eight runs on the opponent after five innings.
Again, Emilee Koerner stepped up to the plate hoping to get her teammates across the home plate using her bat. With a 1-2 count, she popped the ball up to deep center field… or so everyone thought, including Maryland’s center fielder. As the Terrapin center fielder was backing up to make a play on the ball, the wind blew against it making what seemed like a deep hit into a shallow pop-up. The center fielder was unable to make a play on the ball and a run scored off of Koerner’s double.
The following batter, Katey Haus hit a liner to shallow left center field. In this instance, the wind blew the ball out deeper than anticipated by the Maryland fielders and another run scored off of Haus’ double.
The wind was certainly playing tricks on the Maryland student-athletes Monday evening, luckily for the Irish, Mother Nature was kind to them as the Irish defeated the Terrapins 9-1 in five innings. #21 Notre Dame improved their record to 34-10 on the year.
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