Last week the Midwest let its temperatures flirt with the fifties in the annual Spring Tease that lets all of its residents remember why they live there with a little taste of good weather, before slamming us once again for the final snow storms and bitter cold days of winter. Notre Dame sports teams also gave fans their first glimpse of springtime action this weekend with the baseball, softball and lacrosse teams all opening up their schedules.
On Sunday the men’s lacrosse team battled No. 5 Duke in a rematch of last year’s national championship game. The match kicked off the regular season for NCAA lacrosse with a dominant 12-7 Irish win. Senior midfielder Zach Brenneman led the team with a career-high five points against the Blue Devils. No. 6 Notre Dame can expect to move up a couple of spots in the rankings after their strong start for next week when they take on Penn State on the road.
The Mik Aoki era started last Friday with a 2-1 loss to Michigan State in the opening round of the Big East/Big Ten Challenge. The Irish bast woke up on Saturday and Sunday scoring a combined 27 runs against Purdue and Penn State to pick up two out of three against their Big Ten foes. Notre Dame hung 19 runs on Purdue on Saturday and picked up an 8-5 win over the Nittany Lions on Sunday. Freshman Trey Mancini made a big splash by going 4-for-8 with a home run and a triple in his first two starts. He was hit by a pitch in his collegiate debut while pinch hitting during the Michigan State game.
Junior outfielder Alexa Maldanado was awarded the first Big East Player of the Week this year thanks to her heroic hitting in the UCF Invitational this weekend. Maldanado went 7-for-14 in the tourney with 6 RBI and 6 runs scored. Her team went undefeated giving up only eight runs in five games over the weekend. The Irish will continue to enjoy the artificial spring of the South next weekend at the College of Charleston Invite. They won’t play their first games in South Bend until March 25.