March 15, 2012
FULLERTON, Calif. – The Notre Dame softball team split a pair of games on day two of the elite Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., on Thursday, beating Iowa, 2-0, before falling to No. 19 Michigan, 2-1, on a walk-off single.
Senior Alexa Maldonado led the way for the Irish on the day, banging out four hits and scoring twice. Freshman Katey Haus had a pair of hits and junior Amy Buntin also had two hits, including the game-winning single in the victory over the Hawkeyes and Notre Dame’s lone RBI against the Wolverines.
The Irish shutdown Iowa in game one behind pitcher Laura Winter, and Buntin hit a two-run single in the third inning to give Notre Dame the 2-0 victory. Against the Wolverines, the Irish struck first, but pinch hitter Taylor Hasselbach hit a walk-off single to give Michigan the 2-1 victory.
Notre Dame continues its spring break trip on Friday when it matches up with No. 3 Washington at 9 a.m. PT. Fans can follow the game online via live stats or listen to the Washington audio broadcast. A link to the audio broadcast can be found online at UND.com.
Game One – Notre Dame 2, Iowa 0
The game was a pitcher’s duel for much of the contest, as Winter and Iowa starter Chelsea Lyon combined to allow just eight hits, while striking out 11 batters.
In the third inning, the Irish finally broke free. After a pair of singles by Jenna Simon and Maldonado and a well-placed grounder by Kelsey Thornton advanced the runners, Buntin put together a brilliant at-bat, fouling off seven pitches before cracking a two-RBI single up the middle to give the Irish the early 2-0 lead.
That would be all Winter would need, as she threw 3.2 perfect innings before allowing a single to Megan Blank. On the day she surrendered just two hits in hurling the complete-game shutout. The San Diego, Calif., native also added a single, the sixth time this season, and third consecutive game, she has added a hit on offense while pitching.
On the game, the Irish put together six hits, with the top of the lineup in Maldonado, Thornton and Buntin accounting for four of them.
Iowa only had one real chance to plate a run. In the sixth inning Melanie Gladden hit a double to right center and advanced to third on a ground out. However, with two outs Simon caught a sharp liner to end the threat.
Notre Dame improved its record to 11-8 with its third consecutive win and second consecutive shutout. The two straight shutouts was the first for the Irish since a pair of wins over BIG EAST foe South Florida last season.
Game Two – No. 17 Michigan 2, Notre Dame 1
A walk-off single by Hasselbach gave the Wolverines a 2-1 victory over the Irish in game two.
No. 17 Michigan got to that point after Amy Knapp hit a leadoff double down the right field line and was advanced to third on a sac bunt by Lauren Sweet.
Suffering the loss despite pitching a strong game was junior Brittany O’Donnell (5-4). The Avon, N.J., native gave up seven hits and two runs, while forcing the Wolverines into eight groundouts.
The Irish scored an early run in the first inning on a single to right field by Buntin. The single brought in Maldonado, who led off the game with a single up the middle.
Michigan tied the game up in the bottom of the second on a line-drive solo homer by Ashley Lane.
Notre Dame avoided disaster in the fourth inning as Michigan loaded the bases with one out. However, Miller caught a pop up and Koerner caught a ball in foul territory to end the threat.
The Irish had few offensive opportunities after the first inning though as Michigan starter Haylie Wagner (12-2) allowed only six hits while walking none. A double in the fourth by Koerner was the farthest they could get around the bases during the last six innings.
In the fifth Notre Dame had three consecutive fielder’s choice outs at second base to end the inning after a leadoff single by Haus.
Notre Dame fell to 11-9 with the loss.