Feb. 23, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. – The University of Notre Dame softball team picked up a pair of victories Saturday on its first day of play at the East Carolina Pirate Invitational at the ECU Softball Stadium. The Irish defeated host East Carolina 9-1 in five innings before taking down Liberty 10-2 in five frames.
Emilee Koerner was the offensive standout for Notre Dame (6-5), going a combined 5-for-6 (.833) at the plate with her first home run of 2013, seven RBI and four runs scored in the two games. Koerner added a double and a stolen base.
Katey Haus (against Liberty) and Laura Winter (against East Carolina) also hit their first home runs of the season, with Winter’s solo shot being the first of her career. Haus finished the day with five RBI.
Winter (2-4) was brilliant in the circle against the Pirates in game one, allowing one run on one hit in five full innings, walking one and striking out eight East Carolina batters on 73 pitches.
Brittany O’Donnell (4-1) added another quality start for Notre Dame in game two against Liberty, allowing two earned runs in five full innings, striking out five.
Notre Dame is scheduled to face Fairfield at 9 a.m. and East Carolina at 11 a.m. Sunday to close the Pirate Invitational.
–Game 1 vs. East Carolina–
The Irish exploded at the plate in the top of the first inning, as all nine Notre Dame hitters came to bat. Jenna Simon singled through the right side to lead off against East Carolina starter Sarah Christian (5-3), and later scored on a one-out double down the right field line from Emilee Koerner to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. After Koerner advanced to third base on a wild pitch and Laura Winter drew a full-count walk, Katey Haus smacked a double to the gap in left center to extend the Notre Dame advantage to 3-0. Lauren Stuhr followed two batters later with a double to right center to plate Haus and Amy Buntin (5-0). Stuhr advanced to third on the relay from the outfield and then scored on a throwing error by Pirate catcher Kai Clark to up the Irish lead to 6-0.
Koerner laced 2-2 offering from Morgan Eisenga over the left field wall for her first home run of the season in the top of the second, scoring Kelsey Thornton in the process to extend the Notre Dame lead to eight runs (8-0). Winter ripped a full-count pitch up and out to left center field for her first career home run, and the back-to-back big flies pushed the Irish cushion to 9-0.
East Carolina (6-5) broke through in the bottom of the third inning. With runners at the corners, Kristi Oshiro tagged a fly ball out to shallow right field off Winter, and the sacrifice fly allowed Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin to score from third base (9-1). Winter forced Alex Fieldhouse to foul out to Buntin behind the plate to end the frame.
Notre Dame held the Pirates at bay in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Winter struck out Clark looking and Casey Alcorn and Jordan Lewis swinging to retire the side. Winter sat down the side in order in the bottom of the fifth inning, striking out Kelsi Briggs and Meredith Mitchell swinging in consecutive at-bats to end the game.
–Game 2 vs. Liberty–
Liberty (2-5) threatened early in the contest against Irish starter Brittany O’Donnell, loading the bases on consecutive walks with one out in the top of the first inning. O’Donnell punched out Grace Norden looking for the second out, and Kelby Allen swinging to keep the Flames off the scoreboard.
Jenna Simon opened the Irish half of the first with a laser triple down the left field off Liberty starter Annah Jo Brittingham (1-2). Emilee Koerner continued her torrid pace at the plate with a single through the left side, scoring Simon to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
Hanna Nichols turned on the first pitch she saw from O’Donnell in the top of the second inning and sent it screaming over the wall in left field to put Liberty on the scoreboard (1-1). An RBI single from Holly Seiz scored Katie Zavodny to give the Flames a 2-1 lead. Seiz was put out trying to advance to second by Irish catcher Amy Buntin to end the frame.
Notre Dame clawed back in the bottom of the second inning. Megan Sorlie worked a 3-1 walk and Chloe Saganowich ripped a double off the wall in left field to move both runners into scoring position. An RBI groundout to first base by Micaela Arizmendi scored Sorlie and tied the game at 2-all.
The Irish broke the game open in the bottom of the third. Singles from Kelsey Thornton and Koerner set the table for Katey Haus. The sophomore infielder crushed a 1-2 pitch to opposite field, hitting the base of the scoreboard in right for a three-run shot that vaulted Notre Dame in front 5-2. Cassidy Whidden ripped a Brittingham offering off the base of the left field fence for a one-out double, chasing the Liberty starter from the game. Flames reliever Chandler Ball held the Irish at bay for the inning’s final two outs.
A leadoff single from Arizmendi and back-to-back infield hits from Simon and Thornton loaded the bases for Koerner in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Notre Dame left fielder sent the first pitch she saw up the middle for a two-run single, scoring Arizmendi and Simon (7-2). A stolen base for Koerner and a four-pitch walk issue to Haus loaded the bases again with nobody out. Buntin sent a two-run double past the shortstop Nordan to extend the Irish cushion to 9-2.
O’Donnell breezed through the top of the fifth inning, retiring the Flames in order. The senior right-hander sat down Zavodny and Sammi Shivock swinging during the perfect half.