LOS ANGELES -- A two-run deficit entering the top of the seventh inning could not thwart Notre Dame on Friday. Facing one of the top pitchers in the NCAA, the Irish rallied with a remarkable six runs in the top of the seventh to beat No. 7 UCLA 8-4 to close day one of the So Cal Collegiate Classic at Easton Field.
No. 22 Notre Dame (2-0) earned its first win in nine tries against UCLA (2-1) all-time. The Irish outhit the Bruins 10-6 during the contest, while both teams combined for seven errors on the night. Notre Dame won its season opening contest against Utah 3-1 earlier in the day at Easton Stadium.
"The thing that we kept going back to with the girls was that we just had to make contact with the ball, let [UCLA's Ally Carda's] speed do the rest," Notre Dame coach Deanna Gumpfsaid. "That's what we tried to focus on, and we had a lot of opportunities early, we just didn't let that happen. We started chasing her great pitches out of the zone, but what we kept preaching all along was keep making contact, she will do the rest of the work for us. That was how we approached it and the girls did a great job, they made them make mistakes."
Freshman Sara White claimed the game-winning RBI by drawing a bases loaded walk in the top of the seventh, while sophomore Kimmy Sullivan chipped in two insurance RBI during the six-run Notre Dame frame against the All-American Carda (2-1).
"Those are two girls who are working their tails off to get into the starting lineup, and to see good things happen for them especially after their at-bats before that was even sweeter," Gumpf said. "It was even more important that they got it done then."
Sophomore pitcher Rachel Nasland was extremely effective in her first start of 2015, surrendering five hits in 5.2 innings, striking out seven UCLA batters. A total of 76 of Nasland's 117 pitches were officially credited as strikes.
Freshman Katie Beriont (1-0) earned the win in her first career collegiate appearance, working 1.1 innings of shutout relief. She faced UCLA's number two through seven hitters, surrendering only one hit and one walk, striking out one Bruin hitter.
"It's just what I wanted for Katie," Gumpf said. "She's had such a good preseason, and to know what she's capable of doing and getting her out there to shut down this team's hitters, it was awesome."
The celebration time and rest will be short-lived for Notre Dame, as the Irish return to the diamond for day two of the So Cal Collegiate Classic on Saturday at Cal State Fullerton.