March 2, 2014
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The University of Notre Dame softball team extended its winning streak to five games, outlasting a feisty effort from Omaha on Sunday in the final game of the 2014 Diamond 9 Citrus Classic. Freshman Karley Wester broke a 3-all tie with a single through the left side, scoring junior Jenna Simon for the game-winning run. The No. 23 Irish would tack on an insurance tally later in the frame, hanging on to defeat the Mavericks 5-3 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Notre Dame (15-3) has now won nine straight games at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic, after sweeping the event slate the past two years at the tournament. The Irish outscored their five opponents 28-9 during the weekend, outhitting the opposition 43-25.
Senior pitcher Laura Winter tied a career-high with 15 strikeouts in a complete game effort, walking no Omaha batters during her seven innings in the circle. Winter tied Notre Dame great Brittney Bargar (’09) for second place on the school’s all-time wins list with 92 career victories.
Junior All-American Emilee Koerner hit a high chopper back to the circle on the second pitch of the game from Omaha starter Dana Elsasser (9-3) for a leadoff single. Junior Katey Haus followed two batters later with a single through the left side to move Koerner into scoring position at second base. On a first pitch swinging, sophomore Micaela Arizmendi knocked a base hit through the box, plating Koerner to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
Haus made the most of runners at second and third with two away in the top of the second, grooving the first pitch she saw from Elsasser into the gap in right center field. The two RBI single plated senior captain Chloe Saganowich and Koerner to up the Irish advantage to 3-0.
Omaha (12-7) got back into the contest in the bottom of the second inning, as Mara Eeman hit a high solo home run over the left field wall to bring the Mavericks within two runs at 3-1. Winter (9-2) struck out Lizzie Noble, Nicole Warren and Tara Trede during the half to thwart the Omaha offense.
A pair of runs for the Mavericks in the bottom of the third tied the ballgame, as Sydney Hames drilled a double to the gap in left center to score both Amber Lutmer and Lia Mancuso (3-3). Winter struck out both Noble and Eeman to keep the go ahead run stranded at third base.
Winter retired seven consecutive batters (five on strikes) before Lutmer ended the streak with a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth inning. A Hames fly out to Wester in left field ended the Mavericks half in the fifth.
Back-to-back singles for Simon and Koerner gave Notre Dame runners on the corners against Elsasser to open the top of the sixth inning. A base knock through the left side from Wester scored Simon to vault the Irish in front 4-3. Following an Omaha passed ball and a fielder’s choice, Arizmendi hit a ball to shortstop that scored Wester to shift the lead to two runs (5-3).
Winter continued to roll in the bottom of the sixth, retiring Omaha in order in the Maverick half of the inning. Noble and Eeeman opened the half with swinging strikeouts, and Warren popped up to Saganowich at shortstop to end the inning. A strikeout swinging of Campbell Ditto with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning tied Winter’s career mark and end the game.
— Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant