April 20, 2013
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The University of Notre Dame softball team took both games of a Saturday doubleheader against Pittsburgh at Vartabedian Field, pulling ahead in the last inning of game one to win 7-1 and cruising comfortably to a six-inning, 10-2 victory in the nightcap.
Laura Winter (20-8) led the way for the Irish (32-10, 12-1 BIG EAST), recording a win while allowing only one earned run and striking out 13 batters, one shy of her season-high against Oklahoma Feb. 17. Winter added a huge day at the plate, contributing two home runs in the second game and finishing the day with three hits and four RBI. It was the second time Winter has recorded multiple homers in a single game this season (Fairfield, Feb. 24).
Brittany O’Donnell (10-2) allowed two earned runs in her six innings of work in game two, striking out four on the way to recording the third consecutive double-digit win season of her Notre Dame career.
Katey Haus, Jenna Simon, and Amy Buntin all finished with three hits apiece on the day, while Emilee Koerner tied a program record in game one by taking a base on balls in each of her four plate appearances. The last Notre Dame player to record such a feat was Irish slugger Heather Johnson, who earned four free passes in a contest against USF on April 27, 2011.
Notre Dame and Pittsburgh will meet in the series finale Sunday at noon at Vartabedian Field.
The Irish offense showed life in the top of the second inning, with Katey Haus roping a leadoff single into right field off Pittsburgh starter Savannah King (8-13). Amy Buntin advanced the runner with a sacrifice bunt to move Haus into scoring position, and King walked Lauren Stuhr to put two runners on base for the Irish. After Micaela Arizmendi grounded into a fielder’s choice that picked off Haus as the lead runner, Jenna Simon stepped up to the plate and chopped a single over the pitcher into shallow center to score Stuhr and put the first run on the board (1-0).
After allowing a hit in the opening frame, starting pitcher Laura Winter struck out five of the next six batters, including punching out the side in the bottom of the second.
The Panthers (16-26, 5-11 BIG EAST) knotted things up in the bottom of the third after Cari Throckmorton drilled a ground ball up the middle of the field to score a runner from third base (1-1).
The Irish threatened to take the lead in the top of the fourth after a single by Haus led off the inning and a base-earning bunt laid down by Buntin put two runners on for Notre Dame. A sacrifice bunt by Stuhr moved both runners into scoring position, but the Panthers emerged unscathed after recording two outs to close out the inning.
The game remained a draw until the top of the seventh. Simon earned a leadoff single after an infield grounder to the left side before advancing into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Kelsey Thornton. Emilee Koerner then picked up her program record-tying fourth walk of the game, setting up Winter’s go-ahead RBI single that gave Notre Dame a 2-1 advantage. Buntin caromed a shot off the glove and leg of the second baseman that was awarded an error, scoring Koerner and pinch runner Monica Torres (4-1). A two-run double by Stuhr and an Arizmendi RBI single rounded out the six-run showing for the Irish in the last frame to open the Notre Dame cushion to 7-1.
Winter forced a line drive directly to Koerner in center field, followed by two more strikeouts to close out a one-run, complete game showing in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Laura Winter crushed a solo home run deep over the left field fence to notch her 10th homer of the season in the top of the second inning, giving Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
Brittany O’Donnell moved through the first two frames efficiently, allowing only one hit and no runs to Panther batters.
Cassidy Whidden reached base after being hit by a pitch in the top of the third, and proceeded to steal second. A mishandled throw at shortstop after a grounder by Jenna Simon led to Whidden scoring an unearned run (2-0).
Pittsburgh evened the score in the bottom of the third after a two-run shot over the right field wall by Tori Nirschl.
Whidden picked up her second run of the day during the fourth inning after sneaking a fly ball over the left field fence, scoring herself and Amy Buntin, who had reached earlier in the inning on an error, to vault the Irish back in front 4-2.
Notre Dame posted another two runs in the top of the fifth. Simon led off with a single that just evaded the shortstop’s outstretched glove to left center field. Kelsey Thornton advanced Simon on a sacrifice bunt, and Winter joined her on base after drawing a walk. Katey Haus ripped a single to center field on a full-count to score Simon (5-2). Buntin then singled up the middle, netting the second RBI of the inning by bringing home Winter to make it 6-2 in favor of the Irish.
Emilee Koerner picked up her first hit of the day with a two-run single to center field in the top of the sixth inning (8-2), and Winter cleaned up the inning with her second home run of the game, a two-run shot over the right field wall, for the day’s final scoring (10-2).