March 16, 2013
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The University of Notre Dame softball team capped a perfect record at the UC Riverside Highlander Classic Saturday, posting a 12-4 win in six innings over Iona and a 2-0 victory over Northern Illinois in eight innings at Amy S. Harrison Field.
The Irish (19-7) have won 15 of the last 17 games, and finished the spring break tournament schedule with a 7-2 mark.
The Irish offense set season-highs in hits (13) and doubles (7) in the win over Iona (4-15). It was the second straight run-rule decision of the weekend against the Gaels after Notre Dame logged a 12-0 victory in five innings on Friday.
Laura Winter (10-5) allowed one hit in eight innings pitched against Northern Illinois (8-17), walking one and striking out five to claim her ninth win in 10 decisions.
Katey Haus enjoyed a fiery four-game stretch at the plate, batting a team-high .571 (8-for-14) with two doubles, a home run, nine RBI and a .929 slugging percentage for the weekend. Haus was 3-for-6 with four RBI alone in Saturday’s games. Emilee Koerner added five extra base hits and scored a Notre Dame-best five runs during the Highlander Classic.
The Irish open BIG EAST play at Seton Hall March 23-24 in South Orange, N.J.
–Notre Dame vs. Iona–
The Irish wasted little time getting the offense rolling in the bottom of the first inning. Emilee Koerner walked on five pitches, and Jenna Simon placed a perfect single up the middle off Gael starter Jordan Courage (1-4). Both runners moved up on successful stolen bases, and a throwing error by Iona catcher Katie Jansson scored Koerner and gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. Amy Buntin followed with a 0-1 single to right field to score Simon and up the advantage to 2-0. Katey Haus capped the Irish scoring in the frame with an RBI double to the gap in right center, plating Buntin from second base (3-0).
Iona placed two runners in the top of the second after an error in the field and a walk drawn by Brianna Schauer. Notre Dame starter Allie Rhodes forced Sydney Dimon to pop up back to the circle to strand both Gael runners.
Jansson blasted a two-run double off the right field wall in the top of the third, drawing Iona within one run (3-2). A single by Brianna King moved Jansson to third and chased Rhodes from the game. Reliever Brittany O’Donnell (7-2) induced a Schauer ground out to shortstop to get out of the inning.
Laura Winter blasted the first pitch she saw from Courage deep and gone to right in the bottom of the third inning, upping the Irish lead to 4-2. Back-to-back doubles from Lauren Stuhr and Haus extended the Notre Dame cushion to 5-2. A perfectly placed squeeze bunt by Chloe Saganowich scored pinch runner Carly Piccinich from third to keep the Irish half rolling (6-2).
Notre Dame turned its second double play of the season in the top of the fourth, as Haus made a nice stab in the field to start the 5-4-3 twin killing. O’Donnell forced Jodi Petersen to foul out to Kathryn Lux at first base to end the half of the inning.
Christine Costello knocked a two-run double to the gap in left center in the top of the fifth inning, scoring Allison Hand and Beth Kann to bring the Gaels within two runs at 6-4. An O’Donnell strikeout and another great play at third base by Haus stranded Costello at third base.
Haus continued her phenomenal weekend at the plate, lacing a single up the middle to score Jackie Bowe and Stuhr, putting Notre Dame in front 8-4 in the bottom of the fifth. A hard single up the middle from Lux brought Haus around from second base (9-4). A double to right center by pinch hitter Cassidy Whidden extended the Irish advantage to six runs (10-4). A double by Koerner and an illegal pitch with Casey Africano at the plate scored the fifth Notre Dame run of the frame and made it 11-4.
Iona went three-up, three-down against O’Donnell in the top of the sixth inning. Sarah Schultz struck out swinging, Dimon flied out to center and Petersen grounded out to second base.
–Notre Dame vs. Northern Illinois–
Laura Winter cruised through the bottom half of the first inning, retiring the Northern Illinois side in order. Bryanna Phelan lined out to center field, Shelby Miller grounded out to second base and Nicole Gremillion grounded out in front of the plate to end the opening frame.
The Huskies went three-up, three-down once more in the top of the second. Jennifer Barnett lined a 2-2 Winter offering to center field, but Emilee Koerner made a great diving stab to rob the Northern Illinois first baseman of a hit.
Phelan reached on a Notre Dame error in the bottom of the fourth inning, and moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Miller. Chloe Saganowich made a great play in the field on a Gremillion ground ball to short, gunning down Phelan at the plate to keep Northern Illinois off the scoreboard. Winter punched out Amanda Sheppard looking to end the stanza.
Erika Oswald’s one-out double in the bottom of the fifth inning against Winter was the first Husky hit of the game. Murielle Vansach grounded out to Jenna Simon at second base to strand Oswald.
Koerner put Notre Dame in front in the top of the eighth on a hard-hit ball that bounced off the glove of Northern Illinois center fielder Phelan. Megan Sorlie and Kelsey Thornton scored on the two-run triple to give the Irish a 2-0 lead
Winter worked a perfect bottom of the eighth inning, striking out Oswald swinging, popping pinch hitter Emily Woller up to shortstop and inducing a Jessica Sturm fly out to center field to end the game.