#34 Notre Dame Softball 2021 Preview

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Overall Rank: #34
Conference Rank: #5 ACC
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Notre Dame has been to the NCAA Tournament every year since Coach Deanna Gumpf took over the program in 2002. However, since joining the ACC, the Fighting Irish have occasionally struggled. In 2019 though Notre Dame had their best winning percentage in conference play since joining the ACC with an 18-6 record. This group should be safely in the NCAA Tournament, but repeating 2019’s success will be difficult without superstar hitters Cait Brooks and Ali Wester.
2019: 37-18, 18-6
2019 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Deanna Gumpf
Key Departed Players:
Ali Wester, OF, .440 BA, 18 RBI, 25 SB
Cait Brooks, IF, .416 BA, 20 HR, 57 RBI
Melissa Rochford, IF, .328 BA, 4 HR, 48 RBI
MK Bonamy, IF, .310 BA, 6 HR, 44 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Abby Sweet, OF/IF, .327 BA, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 18 SB
Katie Marino, IF, .344 BA, 10 HR, 43 RBI
Payton Tidd, P, 2.34 ERA, 25-9 W/L, 182.1 IP, 157 SO
Alexis Holloway, P, 3.23 ERA, 11-7 W/L, 119.1 IP, 94 SO
Even if the offense needs some time to adjust, Notre Dame is in great shape in the circle. Payton Tidd had a superb freshman campaign, going 25-9 with a 2.34 ERA and earning first-team All-ACC honors. Tidd will need to improve on her walk to strikeout ratio, but the year of experience should take care of that. Junior Alexis Holloway should again be a solid secondary option in the circle after posting a 3.23 ERA in 119.1 innings of work last season. At the plate, the Irish will need players like Abby Sweet and Katie Marino to emerge as All-Conference caliber players. Marino should be the top power hitting threat after belting ten homeruns as a junior. Sophomore Emma Clark will help keep the team’s batting average up, but Notre Dame ranked sixth in the nation with a team batting average of .330 last year. Replicating that number will be extremely difficult and Notre Dame may have to make the most of their opportunities on a regular basis if they are going to finish at the top of the ACC Atlantic Division.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament