April 30, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team capitalized on a three-run fourth inning, highlighted by a home run from Chloe Saganowich and the first double of the season for Jackie Bowe, to defeat Eastern Michigan 5-3 on a beautiful Tuesday night at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Notre Dame (38-11) has now won 12 of its last 13 contests, outhitting Eastern Michigan by an 11-5 margin during the victory.
Emilee Koerner led off the bottom of the first inning with a seeing-eye single through the left side against Eagle pitcher Lauren Wells (1-18). Laura Winter put the first run on the board three batters later, ripping a single of her own to left field to plate Koerner from second and put Notre Dame in front 1-0.
Eastern Michigan (15-30-1) answered in the top of the fourth inning, as a solo home run off the bat of Amanda Stanton streaked over the left field wall to pull the Eagles within one run at 2-1. Winter (24-9)
responded by striking out Courtney Loe swinging on a 0-2 offering to end the Eastern Michigan half.
The Notre Dame offense heated up in the bottom of the fourth, sparked by a leadoff double into the left field corner by Winter. A sacrifice bunt by Amy Buntin moved pinch runner Carly Piccinich to third base. Cassidy Whidden drove a 1-1 pitch from Wells through the left side for an RBI single, plating Piccinich from third (3-1). Saganowich crushed her second home run of the season into the left field bleachers one batter later, and the solo shot extended the Irish advantage to 4-1. Bowe roped her second career double to right center field with two outs in the inning before moving to third base on a Wells wild pitch. An infield single by Thornton scored Bowe to give Notre Dame a 5-1 lead and chase Wells from the game.
Koerner, Winter, Bowe and Thornton tied for the Irish team lead with two hits apiece, with Winter and Thornton chipping in one RBI each. Bowe set a career-high with two doubles in a single game.
Winter pitched a scoreless top of the fifth inning, allowing a lone hit on a double to the left center gap by Eastern Michigan’s Abby Davidson. Katy Blaharski grounded out to Katey Haus at third base to strand the Eagle runner in scoring position.
Winter allowed one run on four hits in seven innings, walking two and striking out eight to earn the victory.
A pair of Notre Dame fielding errors and an RBI single up the middle by Nellie Coquillard brought Eastern Michigan within three runs (5-2) in the top of the sixth inning. A Loe RBI groundout to first base two batters later scored pinch runner Mady Hostetler and made it a 5-3 ballgame. Wells grounded out to Haus at third to end the Eagle half of the sixth.
Winter struck out a pair of batters in the seventh, freezing both Davidson and Jenn Lucas looking. Amanda Herron grounded out to Saganowich at shortstop to end the game.
Notre Dame returns to action Wednesday at 4 p.m. against Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, Mich.