Sophomore Laura Winter

Longballs Lift Irish Over No. 24 North Carolina, 9-3

Feb. 26, 2012

Game 1: Box Score | Box Score Get Acrobat Reader
Game 2: Box Score | Box Score Get Acrobat Reader

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Notre Dame tagged No. 24 North Carolina for 12 hits – including three home runs – during Sunday’s 9-3 rout of the Tar Heels to end the Carolina Classic at Anderson Stadium. The win helped offset a 9-1 non-conference softball loss to Minnesota to start the day for the Irish (4-5).

Dani Miller and Alexa Maldonado each homered for the fourth time on the season and Amy Buntin added a dinger as the Irish (4-5) finished the weekend with a 3-1 record.

Next up for Notre Dame is a four-game showing at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic (March 3-4) held at the ESPN Wide World Sports in Buena Vista, Fla.

-Game 1-

Each of the first five batters in the Minnesota (8-2) lineup scored in the first inning as the Gophers shelved five hits off of Irish starter Brittany O’Donnell (2-2).

Jackie Bowe blanked the Gophers in the top of the second and Notre Dame got on the board in the bottom half on Kristina Wright’s RBI single to right. Wright scored pinch runner Jenna Simon on the play, who replaced Miller after an inning-opening single.

Sarah Moulton (7-1) left two Irish runners in scoring position with one of her 10 strikeouts to end the Notre Dame scoring threat in the fourth inning.

Minnesota loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth and the Irish were seemingly out of the jam when Bowe induced a Kaitlyn Richardson grounder to shortstop which got lost in the mix between Chloe Saganowich and Kasey O’Connor. The Gophers scored once on the play and twice more on the next play, a bloop single to right to take an 8-1 lead.

The Gophers loaded the bases again in the seventh and Richardson came through with a sacrifice fly to center for the final run of the game.

Bree Blanchette and Madie Eckstrom each had three hits for the Gophers with Eckstrom adding three RBI. Minnesota left 10 runners on base.

Moulton gave up four hits for the complete-game win and fanned three Irish batters in the seventh.

O’Donnell left the circle with the loss soon after allowing five earned runs on five hits in the opening frame. One of Bowe’s four runs allowed over the next 6.0 innings was of the earned variety.

-Game 2-

Maldonado ripped a double to right-center in the top of the first and moved to second on Kelsey Thornton’s infield single. Thornton stole second and Buntin drew a walk to load the bases for Miller. Miller jacked her fourth home run of the season and fourth grand slam of her career to put the Irish on top, 4-0.

Maldonado’s second hit of the game carried over the fence in left, followed by a Thornton single and a Buntin double in the next inning.

Miller and Emilee Koerner singled in runs as the Irish rolled their lead to 7-0.

Tar Heel (9-2) runners stood on first and second in the fourth with no outs when Laura Winter (2-3) blew by the next two with a pair of strikeouts. Winter kept North Carolina hitless until Jordan Scarboro’s two-out, three-run homer brought the host squad within striking distance at 7-3.

Winter was sharp with eight strikeouts and one walk in 7.0 frames. She allowed only three hits while facing 27 batters.

The first toss of the sixth was sent over the fence by Buntin, who trotted around the ring for Notre Dame’s eighth run. Miller scored on a wild pitch by Constance Orr to wrap up the scoring.

Miller and Koerner finished with three hits apiece and Miller’s five RBI led all players.

Tar Heel Starter Lori Spingola (7-2) suffered her second loss in as many days to the Irish in a short outing which lasted 1.1 innings during which Notre Dame notched seven earned runs on six hits.

Ashley Bone tossed the next 3.2 innings and gave up six more hits and two earned runs.

The Irish totaled 12 hits and left 10 runners on base.