May 9, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – The University of Notre Dame softball team struck for three runs in the bottom of the second inning and did not relent, shutting out Seton Hall 6-0 Thursday in the second game of the 2013 BIG EAST Championship at the USF Softball Stadium.
The No. 1 Irish (42-12) won their 16th in the last 18 games, and moved to 34-18 all-time in BIG EAST Championship play.
BIG EAST Player of the Year Laura Winter (28-9) mowed through the Seton Hall order in the opening two innings, retiring the first six Pirate batters she faced. Winter collected strikeouts of Yasmin Harrell and Alex Rabbetts to highlight the scoreless frames.
The Irish got on the board in the bottom of the second inning, as Chloe Saganowich ripped the first pitch she saw from Jen Metzger (4-10) up the middle for an RBI single, scoring Cassidy Whidden from third base to put Notre Dame in front 1-0. After Kelsey Thornton laid down a sacrifice bunt, Seton Hall third baseman Meredith Henze inadvertently threw the ball wide of first base into the right field corner, allowing both runners to come all the way around to score and make it 3-0.
The Pirates managed only an infield single in the top half of the third, as Henze legged out a ground ball to the left side to narrowly beat the throw from Saganowich at shortstop. Winter forced Harrell to ground out back to the circle to end the Seton Hall ups.
Saganowich launched a one-out solo home run deep and gone over the high fence in left field in the bottom of the fourth inning, upping the Irish lead to 4-0.
It was three-up, three-down for Seton Hall in the top of the fifth, as Winter forced Coltey Sheldon to foul out to Amy Buntin behind the plate, struck out Sara Haefeli swinging and got Henze to ground out to Jenna Simon at second base.
Lauren Stuhr made a great diving play in left field on a well-hit ball by Maria DeLuca in the top of the sixth inning, laying out full extension to rob the Seton Hall second baseman of a hit and strand Harrell on base.
Saganowich kept her hit parade rolling in the bottom of the sixth inning, grooving a one-out single to right field to advance Stuhr all the way to third base. A stolen base by pinch runner Monica Torres gave the Irish a pair of runners in scoring position with nobody out. An RBI ground ball to shortstop by pinch hitter Jackie Bowe pushed Stuhr in from third (5-0). A sacrifice fly by Emilee Koerner to right field scored Torres to extend the cushion to 6-0.
Saganowich paced all Notre Dame hitters with a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate, driving in two runs and scoring two more. Buntin added a pair of base hits to anchor the Irish attack.
Winter retired the side for a final time in the top of the seventh, striking out Rabbetts swinging and inducing Danielle DeStaso and Sheldon to fly out to Stuhr in left field.
Winter yielded three singles in a complete game shutout, walking none and striking out eight Seton Hall batters on 85 pitches.
No. 1 Notre Dame is set to meet No. 4 DePaul Friday at 4 p.m. in the semifinal round of the BIG EAST Championship.