March 24, 2013
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – The University of Notre Dame softball team completed an opening conference weekend sweep Sunday, downing Seton Hall 10-2 in five innings at Mike Sheppard, Sr. Field.
The Irish (22-7, 3-0 BIG EAST) outscored the Pirates 30-5 during the three-game set, batting a combined .380 for the weekend. Notre Dame has now defeated Seton Hall (10-14, 0-3 BIG EAST) 14 straight times dating back to 2006.
Emilee Koerner wasted little time in the box against Pirate starter Danielle DeStaso (8-6), turning on the first pitch of the game and driving it over wall in left center field for a leadoff home run. A slap single by Jenna Simon, a stolen base by Simon and an Amy Buntin run-scoring single pushed the Notre Dame lead to 2-0. Laura Winter then blasted a 0-1 DeStaso offering over the fence in right center to up the Irish advantage to 4-0.
Winter (12-5) worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the first inning in the circle, forcing a Yasmin Harrell groundout to shortstop, striking out Coltey Sheldon swinging and forcing DeStaso to fly out to center field to close the frame.
Koerner blasted her second home run in the top of the second, taking Casey Moses deep and gone to opposite field to increase the Notre Dame cushion to 5-0. An RBI groundout by Winter with one out scored Simon from third base (6-0).
Koerner led all batters with a 4-for-4 performance at the plate, driving in three runs. The Notre Dame sophomore extended her consecutive game on-base streak to 29 games, and increased her season batting average to .543. Lauren Stuhr added two hits to balance the Irish offensive attack.
Brittany Hammer connected for a two-run home run of her own in the bottom of the second inning, scoring Maria DeLuca from first to close the Pirate deficit to 6-2. Winter responded by striking out the side to halt the Seton Hall surge.
Winter allowed four hits in a complete game effort, walking none with 10 strikeouts.
A fielding error by Moses allowed Kathryn Lux to score from third base in the top of the third, bumping the Notre Dame lead to 7-2.
The Irish added three runs in the top of the fourth inning. A Moses wild pitch allowed both Stuhr and Lux to score, upping the Notre Dame advantage to 9-2. An RBI double from Koerner one batter later plated Kelsey Thornton to cap the Irish scoring in the frame (10-2).
Winter allowed a lone Pirate hit in the bottom of the fourth, striking out the Seton Hall side to maintain the 10-2 Irish advantage. Notre Dame retired the Pirates in order in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game.
The Irish travel to Western Michigan for a non-conference midweek tilt Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Notre Dame is slated to open its home schedule against Green Bay Thursday at 6 p.m. inside Melissa Cook Stadium.