Feb. 21, 2014
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – In a game that endured the widest range of emotions possible for both teams, the University of Notre Dame outlasted UC Davis 12-11 Friday on the second day of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex. UC Davis rallied from an early 10-3 deficit, including an 11-6 hole in the top of the seventh inning, only for the Irish to respond in the bottom of the frame with a game-winning fielder’s choice for the victory.
Notre Dame (9-1) won its eighth consecutive game, setting season-highs in hits (19), doubles (7) and RBI (12). The Irish also claimed their first seven inning walk-off win of the season with Friday’s defeat of the Aggies.
Senior Lauren Stuhr crushed a 3-2 Andrea Reynolds (1-4) offering through the box for a base hit in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring sophomore Micaela Arizmendi from second base to put Notre Dame in front 11-6.
But UC Davis would not go away, as a Kelly Zboralske double with one out set the table for a Jasmine Lee RBI single, bringing the Aggies within 11-7 in the top of the seventh. A Chandler Wagner double to left center further close the gap to 11-8. A three-run home run by Caitlin Voss tied the game at 11-11 to send it to the home half of the seventh inning.
Notre Dame pushed runners to second and third with one out in the bottom of the seventh after a Laura Winter groundout down the third base line. Junior Cassidy Whidden hit a chopper to shortstop as the next batter at the plate, and a wide throw home allowed freshman Karley Wester to score for the walk-off win.
Junior All-American Emilee Koerner hit her third leadoff home run of the season, crushing the second pitch she saw from Marissa Chapa deep and gone over the right field fence. The Irish center fielder’s fifth homer of the year gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. A single up the middle by junior Katey Haus and an RBI double in the left center field gap from Winter scored Haus and chased Chapa from the game (2-0). A two-out double to right center off the bat of Arizmendi scored Winter from second base and made it 3-0 Notre Dame.
UC Davis (4-11) began to claw back in the top of the second inning, as a solo home run cut the Notre Dame lead to 3-1. A dropped third out and RBI single for the Aggies quickly squared the contest at 3-3. Irish starter Rachel Nasland forced Christa Castello to ground out to Arizmendi at first base to end the UC Davis surge.
Koerner reached with a two-out single in the bottom of the second, followed by Wester reaching on an infield single. A wild pitch from UC Davis pitcher Dana Cruse moved both runners into scoring position, when Haus hit her second double of the game to clear the bases and put Notre Dame back in front 5-3. Back-to-back RBI doubles from Winter and Whidden chased Cruse at 7-3. An RBI single to left field by Arizmendi scored a charging Whidden from second for the fifth Notre Dame run of the frame (8-3). An error down Aggie third baseman Zboralske on a grounder off the bat of Stuhr allowed Arizmendi to score from second base and extend the lead to 9-3.
UC Davis picked up a leadoff single off the bat of Brianna Warner in the top of the third inning, but Nasland regrouped by retiring the remainder of the side in order. The Irish right-hander forced a fly out to Wester in left field, a foul out to Whidden behind the plate and a pop up to junior Jenna Simon at second base.
The Irish continued the offensive barrage in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with nobody out against UC Davis reliever Reynolds, and a sacrifice fly from sophomore Megan Sorlie in a pinch-hit appearance pushed Koerner across to put Notre Dame into double digits (10-3).
A sacrifice bunt attempt by Chandler Wagner in the top of the fourth inning moved Lee over to second base, but Lee dug for third base and was thrown out at third by sophomore Carly Piccinich to a covering Nasland for the double play. An error at first base allowed two UC Davis runners to score, bringing the Aggies within five runs at 10-5. Winter (5-1) shifted to the circle from the DP spot and coaxed a Warner fly out to left field to end the threat.
Winter and the Irish retired the side in the top of the fifth, forcing an Amy Nunez groundout to short, a Zboralske groundout to shortstop and a Lauryn Sanders strikeout looking to retire the UC Davis side in the fifth.
Winter tied two-time All-American Jennifer Sharron (’01) for third place on the program’s all-time wins list with 88 career victories. She struck out three batters in 3.1 innings of relief.
UC Davis kept clawing back in the top of the sixth inning with an RBI single up the middle by Castello brought the Aggies within four runs at 10-6. Winter battled back from a 3-2 count against Warner, forcing a swinging strike three to strand a pair of UC Davis runners on the bases.
Notre Dame returns to action Saturday at noon (PT) against California on day three of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
— Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant