March 15, 2013
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The University of Notre Dame softball team rebounded from a slow start Friday in its first game of the Highlander Classic, earning a 3-2 comeback victory in eight innings over Northern Illinois and a 12-0 shutout win in five innings over Iona at Amy S. Harrison Field.
The Irish (17-7) outhit opponents 21-9 on the day, with six such hits accounting for extra bases. Katey Haus led all Notre Dame batters with five hits, five RBI and eight total bases.
Allie Rhodes (2-0) spun a gem in game two against Iona, allowing one hit in five full innings pitched, walking two and striking out nine for her second career win. Laura Winter (9-5) pitched well in relief against Northern Illinois, throwing shutout softball in the final seven innings while striking out six Huskies.
Notre Dame will take on Iona at 9 a.m. and Northern Illinois at 11:15 a.m. Saturday to close its Highlander Classic schedule.
–Notre Dame vs. Northern Illinois–
Northern Illinois (7-16) got off to a fast start in the top of the first inning, as Nicole Gremillion laced a one-out double down the right field line, scoring Kaitlyn Barrett to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. Jennifer Barnett followed with an RBI single that scored Gremillion to extend the advantage to 2-0. Irish starter Brittany O’Donnell forced Shelby Miller to pop out to shortstop and struck out Jillian Mattor to escape the jam.
Notre Dame got moving quickly in the bottom of the first, as Emilee Koerner laid down a bunt single and Jenna Simon reached on an error by Huskie pitcher Emily Norton (2-9). After consecutive outs, Norton hit Cassidy Whidden to load the bases. Norton forced Kathryn Lux to pop out back to the circle to strand all three base runners.
Laura Winter entered in relief for Notre Dame in the top of the second inning and struck out the side, stranding Ashley Kopp at second base after a leadoff double.
The Irish sat the Huskies down in order in the top of the fourth, as Winter struck out Kopp and Madison Murphy swinging to end the half inning.
Notre Dame’s perseverance paid off in the bottom of the sixth inning. Amy Buntin singled to open the frame, before a pair of Irish outs followed. Lux was hit by a pitch to move Buntin into scoring position, and both runners moved over on a Norton wild pitch. Katey Haus fell behind 0-2 before inside-outing a single to right field, scoring Buntin and pinch runner Monica Torres to tie the game at 2-2.
After a scoreless seventh inning, Notre Dame utilized the international tiebreaker to its advantage. With Lauren Stuhr on second, a hot shot to shortstop by Winter was mishandled, and the error gave the Irish runners on the corners with nobody out. Pinch runner Whidden then stole second base, and Norton intentionally walked Lux to load the bases. Haus ripped a single through the left side to complete the walk-off win.
–Notre Dame vs. Iona–
The Irish offense exploded in the top of the first inning. Emilee Koerner turned on the second pitch she saw from Iona starter Christine Costello (0-5) and drove it over the right field wall, vaulting Notre Dame in front 1-0. Jenna Simon followed with a double to left center, advancing to third base on an Amy Buntin groundout. A wild pitch by Costello scored Simon for the second Irish run (2-0). Laura Winter and Katey Haus then left the yard on consecutive at-bats, upping the lead to 4-0. Lauren Stuhr laced a single to center field to chase Costello from the game.
Kathryn Lux reached on an error by Gaels shortstop Brianna Schauer, and Chloe Saganowich singled to score Stuhr (5-0). A wild pitch and illegal pitch by reliever Carly Argyle allowed Lux to score, and moved Saganowich to third base (6-0). In her second at-bat of the inning, Koerner worked a full-count walk before stealing second base. An illegal pitch scored Saganowich to up the Irish cushion to 7-0. Buntin followed with a two-run single two batters later to score Koerner and Simon, completing the nine-run half inning (9-0).
Starter Allie Rhodes cruised through the bottom of the second inning, retiring Iona (4-13) 1-2-3 in the frame. Schauer and Brianna King each grounded out, and Sarah Schultz struck out swinging to finish the perfect half for Rhodes.
The Irish loaded the bases in the top of the third inning after Koerner walked, Carly Piccinich recorded her first career hit and Cassidy Whidden reached on an error. An illegal pitch scored Koerner to up the Notre Dame lead to 10-0. A Haus single two batters later scored Whidden (11-0).
Rhodes surrendered her first hit of the game in the bottom of the third, but the damage was minimal, as the Irish southpaw struck out the side to retire the Gaels.
Singles from Piccinich and Megan Sorlie set the table for Whidden in the top of the fourth inning. The Notre Dame catcher answered with a single to the gap in left center, scoring Sorlie to tack on an additional run (12-0).