March 3, 2013
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The University of Notre Dame softball team captured its second straight tournament sweep, defeating LIU 5-0 and Maryland 5-3 Sunday on the final day of the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The Irish (12-5) have now won eight straight games, with five wins during the streak coming by five runs or more.
Brittany O’Donnell (6-1) was masterful in the circle in game one against LIU (2-17), scattering four hits in a shutout victory. The senior right-hander walked two Blackbird hitters and struck out eight.
Cassidy Whidden pinch hit for Kelsey Thornton in the top of the sixth inning against Maryland (4-10), with Notre Dame trailing 3-2. Whidden fought off 11 consecutive pitches before sending pitch 12 over the left field wall for the eventual game-winning home run.
The Irish travel to the ASU Diamond Devil Invitational March 9-10 in Phoenix, Ariz.
–Notre Dame vs. LIU–
The Irish struck in the top of the first after Kelsey Thornton and Lauren Stuhr led off the game with singles. Emilee Koerner sacrificed both runners into scoring position with a bunt up the first base line, and Laura Winter worked a full-count walk against Nicole Archer (0-2) to load the bases with one out. An RBI groundout by Katey Haus plated Thornton from third and gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
Brittany O’Donnell threw her third scoreless frame in the bottom half the third inning. O’Donnell forced Lauren Morizi to ground out to Jenna Simon at second base for the final out to keep the Blackbirds off the scoreboard.
O’Donnell held LIU at bay in the bottom of the fourth, forcing three straight groundouts to maintain the 1-0 Irish advantage. The Notre Dame right-hander kept cruising in the fifth inning, making a nice stop on a comebacker up the middle before striking out Celinna Cosio and Allison Blackman to stifle the Blackbird offense.
Simon ignited the Irish offense in the top of the sixth, pulling a 1-2 Archer offering against the slap shift for a leadoff triple. Amy Buntin followed with a fly ball to right field that allowed Simon to tag and score from third base (2-0). A Chloe Saganowich single and back-to-back walks drawn by Stuhr and Koerner loaded the bases for Winter. The Notre Dame designated player worked a four-pitch walk to score Saganowich and extend the Irish advantage to 3-0.
LIU loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning after Nichole Toven drew a 3-2 walk. O’Donnell hung in against Ariana Lopez, forcing a groundout to Saganowich at shortstop to strand all three runners on base.
Buntin blasted a 1-0 pitch from Heather White over the wall in right center field in the top of the seventh. The All-American catcher’s second home run of the season pushed the Notre Dame advantage to 5-0.
–Notre Dame vs. Maryland–
With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, pinch hitter Cassidy Whidden engaged in a spirited battle with Terrapin pitcher Brenna Nation (0-1) with runners at first and second. On the 12th pitch of the at-bat, Whidden launched a deep three-run home run over the left field fence to stun Maryland and take the lead back for the Irish at 5-3.
Laura Winter (5-4) retired the final six batters she faced to pick up her fourth straight victory.
The Terrapins struck first in the bottom of the first inning, as Melissa Mancuso delivered a sacrifice fly against Winter, scoring Juli Strange to give Maryland a 1-0 lead. Winter escaped the inning on a Nikki Maier fly out.
Winter helped her own cause in the top of the second, launching a double off the left field fence against Maryland starter Kaitlyn Schmeiser. A sacrifice bunt from Katey Haus moved Winter to third base. Buntin cashed in with the runner in scoring position, singling through the left side to score Winter and tie the game at 1-1.
Stuhr continued her torrid hitting weekend in the top of the third inning, launching her third home run of the weekend over the right field wall. Stuhr’s long ball pushed the Irish in front 2-1.
A single from Bridget Hawvermale was all Maryland could muster in the bottom half of the third inning. Strange and Sara Acosta struck out, and Mancuso popped up to Winter to the right of the circle.
Lindsey Schmeiser vaulted the Terrapins in front in the bottom of the fourth, drilling a two run home run over the center field fence (3-2). Winter forced Corey Schwartz to ground out to third base to close the frame.