Emilee Koerner became the 14th Notre Dame player of the year recipient in program history after being tabbed the 2015 ACC Player of the Year on Thursday

#24 Irish Split Senior Day Series As Koerner, Wester Tie Program Records

April 26, 2015

NC 7, #24 ND 3 (8) Get Acrobat Reader

#24 ND 17, NC 9 (5) Get Acrobat Reader

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — A heartbreaking defeat to a battle-tested North Carolina in game one of Sunday’s Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) doubleheader threw a brief wrench into the Senior Day festivities for the University of Notre Dame softball team. The Irish responded the only way they collectively know how, scoring a season-high 17 runs after bashing 18 hits in the nightcap to split the final ACC series of the season, a 7-3 defeat in eight innings and a 17-9 win in five innings against North Carolina at Melissa Cook Stadium.

No. 24 Notre Dame (39-12, 17-6 ACC) won 17 of its last 18 regular season ACC contests, outscoring league opponents by a combined 157-42 run count in those games. The Irish established a new program watermark in ACC play with their 17 wins, improving to 33-11 (.750) all-time in ACC games.

Senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner went a combined 5-for-9 (.556) with two doubles, a grand slam, seven RBI, a stolen base and three runs scored during her final regular season home games. Her seven RBI in the game two victory tied the Notre Dame single-game program record also shared by Chloe Saganowich (’14), Christine Lux (’10, twice) and Meagan Ruthrauff (’06).

Koerner finished ACC play with a conference-high .493 batting average, eight doubles, five home runs, 26 RBI and a remarkable 28 runs scored in 23 starts. She had multiple hits in 11 of her 23 league games played.

Junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi chipped in four hits during the Sunday doubleheader against North Carolina (35-13, 16-5 ACC), ripping three doubles and adding three RBI. Senior Katey Haus and sophomore All-American and 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Top 26 Finalist Karley Wester chipped in three RBI apiece. Wester scored a team-high four runs during the second game of the series, tying the single-game program mark shared by six other players.

Notre Dame closes its 2015 regular season schedule on Tuesday at 4 p.m. (ET) against Michigan State at Secchia Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan.

For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.

Game 1 — North Carolina 7, #24 Notre Dame 3 (eight innings)

North Carolina loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the first inning, with a single and a pair of walks getting the Tar Heel offense moving. Junior Allie Rhodes worked out of the jam beautifully, grounding Amber Parrish into a fielder’s choice that put Taylor Wike out at home, Jenna Kelly struck out swinging and Kendra Lynch grounded out to senior co-captain Jenna Simon at second base to strand all three North Carolina runners.

Rhodes again tiptoed around danger in the top of the second, battling out of runners on the corners with two away to force Kiwi Mateen to foul out to senior Katey Haus near third base to end the threat.

Notre Dame got on the board in the bottom of the second inning after freshman Morgan Reed made it all the way to third base on an error by the North Carolina right fielder Lynch. Freshman Sara White cashed in on the good fortune, sitting on a 1-2 pitch from Sydney Matzko and driving an RBI single up the middle to score Reed and make it 1-0 Irish. After Notre Dame loaded the bases against Matzko with two outs, sophomore All-American and 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Top 26 Finalist Karley Wester drew a walk to score White and make it 2-0.

Kristen Brown broke through for North Carolina in the top of the third, crushing a solo home run off the scoreboard in left field to trim the Tar Heels deficit to 2-1. Rhodes stemmed the North Carolina tide from there, striking out Lynch looking and Darby Rosen swinging to strand two runners on base.

North Carolina loaded the bases once more in the top of the fourth inning after Parrish walked with two outs. Rhodes remained undeterred, striking Kelly out chasing a 1-2 pitch to turn the Tar Heels away again.

Rosen looked to rope a two-out double off the wall in left field in the top of the fifth, but Wester came up throwing on the hop to fire it to a waiting Simon at second base to retire Rosen trying to stretch for extra bases to end the inning.

North Carolina kept the pressure on in its half of the sixth inning, but freshman Katie Beriont responded to the challenge in kind. Dani Garcielita struck out looking, Mateen struck out swinging and Kelly watched a 3-2 pitch catch the inside corner for strike three to leave the bases loaded once again for the Tar Heels.

Notre Dame scratched out an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth against North Carolina reliever Lynch. Wester drew her second walk of the day, advancing all the way to third base on a single through the right side by senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner. Haus smashed an RBI single past the Tar Heel third baseman Rosen, scoring Wester to push the Irish in front 3-1.

A two-run pinch hit double by North Carolina’s Jill Ferrero found its way to the wall in right center with two outs in the top of the seventh, scoring two Tar Heels to tie the game at 3-3. North Carolina’s Taylor Wike won the game with a two-out grand slam in the top of the eighth inning.

Game 2 — #24 Notre Dame 17, North Carolina 9 (five innings)

Sophomore Rachel Nasland worked around a two-out walk issued to Kristen Brown in the top of the first inning, forcing an Amber Parrish ground ball to second base that retired Brown for the final out of the frame.

Sophomore All-American and 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Top 26 Finalist Karley Wester led off the Notre Dame first with an infield single against North Carolina starter Kaylee Carlson (16-8). Senior co-captain and two-time All-American Emilee Koerner followed with a single, moving Wester to third base. After Koerner safely stole second base, senior Katey Haus connected on a two-run single up the middle, scoring both runs to put the Irish in front 2-0.

Junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi kept the momentum rolling with a double to left center, scoring Haus to make it 3-0 Notre Dame. Freshman Morgan Reed sacrificed Arizmendi to third base and senior Cassidy Whidden to second base with the inning’s first out. Freshman Sara White delivered an RBI single through the left side, scoring Arizmendi (4-0). A single back to the circle by junior Megan Sorlie pushed the Notre Dame lead to 5-0.

Senior co-captain Jenna Simon deposited a single into right center field against North Carolina reliever Lauren Fuller, when Wester was promptly hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score White (6-0). Koerner made a splash in her second at-bat of the inning, crushing the second pitch she saw from Fuller deep and gone over the right field wall for the bases-clearing grand slam and a 10-0 Irish lead.

North Carolina would add five runs of its own in the top of the second inning to trim the deficit to 10-5, punctuated by a Parrish RBI single with two outs. Junior Allie Rhodes (18-4) shook off the single and struck out Jenna Kelly swinging to squash the Tar Heel rally.

After North Carolina pulled within four runs at 10-6 entering the bottom of the third frame, Notre Dame would add two insurance runs. Haus and Arizmendi hit back-to-back doubles, with Arizmendi’s scoring Haus to put the Irish in front 11-6. A Reed RBI single later in the inning brought Arizmendi around to score (12-6).

Notre Dame looked to bust the game wide open by continuing its offensive onslaught in the bottom of the fourth. Koerner smacked a two-run double to left center field, scoring both Sorlie and Wester to up the Irish edge to 14-6. Arizmendi followed with her second straight double two batters later, plating Koerner (15-6).

The Tar Heels kept the game going in the top of the fifth inning, scoring three runs thanks to RBI hits from Parrish, Kati Causey and Taylor Wike to close the Notre Dame margin down to 15-9.

Notre Dame put the game away in the bottom of the fifth with two runs on three hits to close the victory. Wester singled through the left side with two outs following a Tar Heel double play, scoring Sara White from third base (16-9). Koerner walked off with the Senior Day win after ripping her second double of the game to right center, scoring a speeding Wester from first base.