Irish lose in first round of the NCAA softball regional tournament

NOW: Irish lose in first round of the NCAA softball regional tournament

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EVANSTON, Ill. -- The Notre Dame softball team lost their opening round matchup on Friday against McNeese State 11-1 in the Evanston Regional of the NCAA softball tournament. Luckily for the Irish, this portion of the playoffs has a double-elimination format.

Due to a mercy rule, the game was completed in under the normal seven innings of play when the Irish were losing by more than seven runs after the fifth inning.

The game got off to a rough start when the Irish allowed the McNeese State Cowgirls to score ten runs in the first inning alone.

“When the pitching is struggling, that’s when it’s time for the defense to step up. They didn’t do that, and that’s why it got ugly really fast,” said Deanna Gumpf, Notre Dame’s Head Softball Coach.

Coach Gumpf was also disappointed with the team’s inability to take advantage of getting meaningful at bats with runners in scoring position.

“That is not normal Notre Dame softball. We put ourselves in a very good position today to create a lot of runs. We didn’t have good at bats,  and we left a lot of runners on base,” said Gumpf.

With the double-elimination format of the regional tournament, the Irish will need to win four straight games on Saturday and Sunday to advance to the super regionals portion of the postseason.

“I think they feel it. There’s no coming back. We have to win ball games now. We don’t have another shot. This is it. When this is it, things are on the line. You're either going to step up or you’re not. And, I bet on us. I think we’re going to step up and we’re going to finish strong,” said Gumpf.

The Irish will faceoff against the loser of Friday's Northwestern versus Oakland game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

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