Freshman Jenna Simon

Late Home Runs Spell Defeat For Irish In League Series Rubber Match

April 15, 2012

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Syracuse belted a solo home run in each of the final two frames in the rubber match of a three-game BIG EAST Conference softball series between the Orange and Notre Dame which concluded Sunday at Melissa Cook Stadium to steal a 3-2 win in eight innings.

The Irish (21-13 overall, 5-3 BIG EAST) gave Syracuse (30-10, 7-2) as much as it could handle and overcame 10 Orange hits to hold a 2-1 lead through six innings of action until two swift swings of the bat changed the outcome in favor of the visitors.

Notre Dame’s defense stood strong to help strand eight runners while its offense mustered a pair of hits off Jenna Caira (19-4), who gave up one earned run in 8.0 innings.

Amy Buntin and Chloe Saganowich each singled for Notre Dame as the Irish continue their 11-game homestand at 5 p.m. (ET) Wednesday against Valparaiso.

Syracuse left the bases loaded in first after smacking three singles but did not get on the board until the top of the second when Veronica Grant doubled home Morgan Nandin for the first run of the game.

Notre Dame’s counterpunch in the bottom of the second started with a Dani Miller walk. Katey Haus reached on one of three Orange errors in the game. Lauren Stuhr drew the second of three free passes issued by Caira on the day to load the bases for Saganowich, who delivered with an RBI single to left.

Laura Winter (14-8) did not permit an Orange player to reach base in the fourth and fifth innings and fanned three Syracuse sluggers without a walk.

After Syracuse left runners on the corners in the sixth, the Irish resorted to their short game to take a 2-1 lead. Buntin cranked a clean single up the middle, moved to second on wild pitch and Miller’s sacrifice bunt moved Buntin to third with one out. Haus shot a fielder’s choice to third that was thrown home in an effort to catch Buntin, who broke up the play to find the plate.

Syracuse stayed alive as its top of the lineup came through in the seventh when Grant homered to left-center, her third hit of the game and seventh of the three-game series to force extra innings.

Julie Wambold fired a one-out homer off the foul pole in left field in the top of the eighth to give Syracuse its 3-2 lead.

Notre Dame had the tying run on first when Emilee Koerner was plunked by Caira with one out. Caira relieved the next two Irish batters to end the contest.

Carey-Leigh Wambold had three hits for Syracuse with Morgan adding two.