Feb. 24, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. – The University of Notre Dame softball team capped an undefeated weekend Sunday at the East Carolina Pirate Invitational, downing Fairfield 5-4 and East Carolina 6-0 at the ECU Softball Stadium.
Emilee Koerner tied the game against Fairfield (2-2) in the bottom of the seventh, smashing a laser shot off reliever Lauren Falkanger (0-1) over the wall in right center field that evened the score at 4-4. Laura Winter worked a full-count from Falkanger before launching her second home run of the game up and out to left field, giving the Irish the walk-off victory.
Notre Dame (8-5) continued the momentum in the second game of the day against East Carolina (6-6), scoring five runs in the top of the first inning. Allie Rhodes (1-0) threw five scoreless innings of relief to earn her first career collegiate win.
Koerner finished the four-game tournament with a .786 batting average (11-for-14), two doubles, one triple, two home runs, a stolen base, nine RBI and six runs scored. Winter hit her first three career home runs and added four RBI during the Irish sweep.
Notre Dame returns to the field March 2-3 at the Citrus Classic in Buena Vista, Fla.
–Game 1 vs. Fairfield–
Emilee Koerner and Laura Winter each picked up where they left off Saturday in the bottom of the first inning against the Stags. Koerner tagged a 2-0 pitch from starter Rebecca Trott into the gap in left center field for a two-out triple to start the Irish offense. Winter saw two pitches before blasting her second home run in as many days over the wall in left field, putting Notre Dame on the scoreboard first at 2-0.
Winter struck out the first three batters she faced before Lauren Liseth hit her fourth home run of the weekend in the top of the second, bringing Fairfield back within one run (2-1). Winter answered by striking out Nicole Capra and Rae Ball before Lauren Filicia grounded out to Jenna Simon at second base to end the inning.
A lone single was the damage against Winter in the top of the third inning, as the Irish right-hander struck Brianna Levick out looking and Nikki Osofsky swinging to maintain Notre Dame’s 2-1 lead.
Fairfield threatened in the top of the fourth, as Kristen Filicia singled through the left side to lead off the inning and then stole second base. Liseth worked a full-count walk before Capra moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Ball made the Irish pay with a two-run single through the left side to give the Stags a 3-2 lead. An RBI single from Lauren Filicia made it 4-2 in favor of Fairfield.
Notre Dame got momentum rolling in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Kelsey Thornton was hit by the first pitch from Falkanger, and Koerner reached first base on a bunt single. A sacrifice bunt by Winter moved both runners into scoring position. A Katey Haus sacrifice fly plated Thornton to bring the Irish within one run (4-3).
Winter got back in the groove in the circle in the top half of the sixth, posting a 1-2-3 inning. Lauren Filicia grounded out to shortstop, Kimi Kurata struck out swinging and Osofsky popped up to Chloe Saganowich at shortstop for the final out.
–Game 2 vs. East Carolina–
Notre Dame kept the offense in high gear in the top of the first inning against East Carolina. Kelsey Thornton reached on an error by Pirate first baseman Cicely Lopez, and then advanced to second on a stolen base. Emilee Koerner followed with a well-placed single to left field, scoring Thornton and giving the Irish a 1-0 lead. After Laura Winter reached on a fielder’s choice, East Carolina starter Mary Beth Smith (1-1) then walked Katey Haus and hit Lauren Stuhr with a pitch to load the bases for Amy Buntin. Buntin drove a two-run single back through the box, scoring Winter and Haus to up the Notre Dame advantage to 3-0. Casey Africano cleared the bases with a double down the right field line, upping the cushion to five (5-0).
East Carolina got the momentum rolling in the bottom of the second, as Kai Clark and Lopez notched consecutive singles off Notre Dame starter Brittany O’Donnell. O’Donnell got Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin swinging on a 2-2 offering to keep the Pirates off the scoreboard.
Irish reliever Allie Rhodes ran into trouble in the bottom of the third inning, allowing a single to Alex Fieldhouse, a double to Jordan Lewis and a walk to Casey Alcorn to load the bases. Haus made a great stab on a line drive to third to take a hit away from Jasmine Robbins, getting Notre Dame out of the jam.
Cassidy Whidden stole a pair of bases after reaching on a two-out fielder’s choice in the top of the fifth inning, and Africano drew a 3-2 walk to give Notre Dame a pair on the corners with two away. Smith forced Chloe Saganowich to fly out to left field to strand the Irish runners.
Rhodes picked up the first two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, striking out Alcorn looking and popping Robbins up to shortstop. Clark kept the stanza alive with a double, and Lopez added a single to give the Pirates runners on the corners with two outs. Pinch hitter Kelsi Briggs grounded out to short to strand the East Carolina runners.
Whidden launched a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right center to extend the Irish advantage to 6-0 in the top of the seventh inning.
Notre Dame retired the Pirates in order in the bottom of the seventh inning to close out the win. Saganowich made a pair of great plays deep in the hole at shortstop to rob Jill Jelnick and Fieldhouse of base hits to secure the Irish victory.