March 9, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. – The University of Notre Dame softball team opened play Saturday at the Arizona State Diamond Devil Invitational with a 2-1 win over New Mexico State before ultimately falling to UC Davis 5-4 in the second game of the day at Farrington Stadium.
The Irish (13-6) had runners at first and second with two outs in the top of the seventh inning against UC Davis (10-12), and appeared to take the lead on a hard-hit ball off the bat of outfielder Emilee Koerner. Aggie left fielder Megan Guzman made a diving catch in the gap to take away the Notre Dame base hit and win the contest for UC Davis.
Laura Winter (6-4) shined in the circle in game one against New Mexico State (15-8), striking out 13 Aggie hitters in a complete game four-hitter. Winter added a double and a solo home run on the offensive side Saturday.
Notre Dame is scheduled to close the Diamond Devil Invitational Sunday at 4:30 p.m. (PT) against New Mexico State at Farrington Stadium.
–Notre Dame vs. New Mexico State–
Irish starter Laura Winter got into a rhythm early, striking out five of the first six batters she faced. Winter sat down Staci Rodriguez, Lacey Rother and Tehani Kaaihue on strikes to retire the side in the top of the second inning.
Winter helped her own cause in the bottom of the fourth inning, stroking a leadoff double to deep left field against Aggie starter Alex Newman (7-5). After Amy Buntin sacrificed pinch runner Carly Piccinich to third base, Katey Haus grooved a double of her own to left, scoring Piccinich to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. Haus ultimately scored on a groundout to shortstop by Kathryn Lux, pushing the Notre Dame advantage to 2-0.
New Mexico State struck for its first run in the top of the fifth, as Rother sent a 2-2 pitch from Winter deep and out to left, narrowing the gap to 2-1. Winter responded by striking out Emma Adams looking to end the frame.
The Irish kept the Aggies off the scoreboard again in the top of the sixth inning. Amber Olive fouled out to shortstop Chloe Saganowich, Malena Padilla flew out to Emilee Koerner in center field and Kelsey Dodd struck out swinging to retire the side.
Winter punched out the first two New Mexico State hitters before Rother and Kaaihue logged back-to-back singles. Tatum Reedy flew out to Kelsey Thornton in right field to end the game.
–Notre Dame vs. UC Davis–
The Irish broke through in the hit column against UC Davis starter Justine Vela (6-1) in the top of the sixth inning. Jenna Simon placed a well-executed bunt in between three UC Davis fielders to leg out an infield single, the first Notre Dame hit of the day. Lauren Stuhr delivered one batter later, ripping a double through the left side of the infield to score Simon all the way from first base, bringing the Irish within four runs (5-1). Emilee Koerner then blasted off on a 0-2 Vela offering, sending a long ball deep and gone to right center field to close the gap to 5-3. Laura Winter smashed a solo homer of her own two pitches later to chase Vela from the game (5-4). A double from Katey Haus off the center field fence brought the go-ahead run to the plate. UC Davis reliever Leah Munden withstood the charge, recording the final two outs of the frame to hold the Irish at bay.
After sitting the Aggies down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Notre Dame had one more opportunity at the plate in the top of the seventh inning. Kelsey Thornton and Simon got the Irish momentum rolling with consecutive one-out infield singles. Munden forced Stuhr to pop out to Chandler Wagner at second base for the inning’s second out, bringing Koerner to the plate. The Notre Dame outfielder slugged what looked to be a sure hit into the gap in left center field, only to be robbed by a diving Aggie outfielder Megan Guzman to end the game.
UC Davis struck first in the bottom of the second inning, as Kelly Schulze got behind a 3-2 pitch from Brittany O’Donnell (6-2) and sent a solo home run over the left field fence, vaulting the Aggies in front 1-0. O’Donnell retired the next three batters on groundouts, capped by a Christa Castello chopper to Haus at third base to end the inning.
The Aggies added a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to chase O’Donnell from the contest. Schulze was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score the first UC Davis run of the frame, and Wagner advanced home on an Irish error to push the Aggie lead to 3-0. A pair of wild pitches from reliever Allie Rhodes brought home the third and fourth UC Davis runs of the inning (5-0). Rhodes punched Krista Bava out looking to end the Aggie surge.
Stuhr worked a full-count walk against Vela in the top of the fourth to give Notre Dame its first base runner of the afternoon. Winter battled Vela all the way to a 3-2 count of her own before popping out to shortstop to halt the Irish rally.
Rhodes worked a 1-2-3 frame in the bottom of the fourth inning, making a nice play in the field on a Wagner bunt attempt to get the out at first base.