March 3, 2012
BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Seven innings were not enough to determine a winner during Saturday’s non-conference softball bout between Notre Dame and Ohio State at the Diamond 9 Events Citrus Classic. Luckily for the Irish, eight innings were plenty.
Kelsey Thornton smacked an infield single to plate the go-ahead which sealed the deal in Notre Dame’s 3-1 win over the Buckeyes (11-6) just hours after the Irish blanked LIU Brooklyn, 5-0.
The two wins put Notre Dame (6-5) over the .500 mark for the first time on the season heading into the final day of action at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. The Irish face both Fordham and Virginia Tech beginning with a 9:00 a.m. (ET) game on Sunday against the Rams.
Singles by Katey Haus and Lauren Stuhr sandwiched a successful infield grounder by Kasey O’Connor to setup Notre Dame’s scoring jaunt in the second inning. Each of the three scored on Chloe Saganowich’s clean triple to right-center. Saganowich scored on a single to right by Alexa Maldonado, who finished 3-for-4 with a double and stolen base.
The Irish lead bumped to 5-0 in the third when O’Connor doubled to left to score Haus. Haus tallied two hits and scored twice in the contest.
Brittany O’Donnell (3-2) tossed the first 5.0 innings and held LIU Brooklyn (2-16) to two hits over that stretch. Jackie Bowe gave up one hit and a walk while loading the bases in the seventh before O’Donnell was sent in to clean up the win by retiring the next three batters.
Notre Dame out-hit LIU Brooklyn, 9-3, in the shutout effort. Both teams committed three errors and the Blackbirds left nine runners on base.
Sarah Reynolds (1-9) gave up four earned runs in the loss.
Pitching ruled the second game of the day as Laura Winter (3-3) and Mikayla Endicott (7-4) combined for 19 strikeouts, three earned runs, three walks and 10 hits in a combined 16.0 innings of work.
Ohio State needed one hit – a single from Danielle LeBeau – to get on the board in the bottom of the first. The single scored Alicia Herron, who was walked and stole second when LeBeau stepped to the plate.
Winter left the Buckeyes hitless in the second, third and fourth innings and received a run from the offense in the third. Winter helped herself with a leadoff single and pinch-runner Monica Torres replaced the pitcher to score on Thornton’s single down the leftfield line.
The Buckeyes left a runner stranded in each of the next three innings and were unable to score Melaina Saafield from third with no outs in the eighth when Winter came through with a pair of strikeouts.
Notre Dame held a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single by Thornton and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Amy Buntin in the visitor’s half of the extra frame.