March 11, 2012
LAKEWOOD, Calif. – The Notre Dame softball team dropped a pair of games on the final day of the Long Beach Invitational on Sunday, losing to Charleston Southern, 5-2, and UNLV, 3-2, at the 49er Softball Complex.
Against the Buccaneers, the Irish couldn’t rally from a five-run deficit, as they managed just two runs on four hits. In a nine-inning thriller against the Runnin Rebels, Notre Dame allowed a two-run homer in the top of the ninth and could only produce one run in the bottom half of the inning to lose its second one-run game of the season.
Against UNLV, starting pitcher Laura Winter tied her career high with 13 strikeouts. She also sat down 13 batters against Penn State last season.
With the losses, the Irish drop to .500 on the year at 8-8. They continue their California trip on Tuesday when they meet Loyola Marymount for one game at 1 p.m. (PT) in Los Angeles.
Game 1 – Charleston Southern 5, Notre Dame 2
Charleston Southern pitcher Morgan Dowdy hurled five scoreless innings, giving up only a pair of runs on four hits, as the Buccaneers knocked off the Irish, 5-2, in game one. CSU did all its damage off Notre Dame starter Brittany O’Donnell, as she allowed five runs in 2.2 innings of work.
The Buccaneers struck early, scoring two runs in the first on a double down the left field line by Stephanie Sbardella and a ground out by Linzy Rother.
Charleston Southern added to its lead in the third when Hayes Holdsworth doubled deep into center field, plating three runs.
That was all Dowdy needed, as she went the distance, allowing a pair of runs on four hits to improve to 7-5 on the year.
Holdsworth led the way for the Buccaneers with the three RBI, while Sbardella had a pair of hits and Jana Matthews scored two runs.
The Irish took an early 1-0 lead after manufacturing a run off a Maldonado lead-off double. A pair of groundouts scored the senior with Amy Buntin picking up an RBI.
They later tacked on a run in the seventh in a comeback attempt. Koerner doubled to right center and later scored on a wild pitch.
Maldonado was the lone Irish offensive player to record multiple hits. Koerner went 1-for-1 with a run scored.
Jackie Bowe and Winter pitched in relief for the Irish, with Bowe only allowing one hit in three innings of work, while Winter forced a pop up on her lone pitch of the contest.
Game 2 – UNLV 3, Notre Dame 2 (9 innings)
UNLV’s Paige Emerson smacked a two run homer in the top of the ninth inning to propel the Runnin Rebels to 3-2 extra-inning victory over the Irish.
The game got to the ninth after Notre Dame scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the contest at one. With the Irish down to their last out, Koerner smoked a triple down the right field line to bring pinch runner Monica Torres all the way around from first to tie the game at one. The squad had a chance to end the contest right there, but Winter’s line drive to first was caught by first baseman Korin Cuico to end the threat.
The game began as a pitcher’s duel between Winter and UNLV’s Amanda Oliveto as neither allowed a run for the first five innings and each team managed just one hit.
In the sixth UNLV scored on a single by Kylie Wagner that scored Tayler Aleman to give the Runnin Rebels a 1-0 lead. After the Irish tied the contest at one in the seventh, both teams had opportunities to score runs in the eighth inning as each had a runner on third with one out. However, both pitchers buckled down and got two outs to send the game to nine.
After UNLV made the score 3-1 in the top of the ninth, the Irish made one last rally in the bottom half of the inning. With Jenna Simon on second, pinch hitter Lauren Stuhr knocked a single to center field to trim the lead to 3-2. However, Buntin hit into a fielder’s choice and Dani Miller grounded out to end the contest.
Despite earning the loss, Winter (4-4) tied her career-high with 13 strikeouts. The San Diego native surrendered three runs (two earned) on seven hits. Oliveto (8-7) picked up the win after striking out six and allowing just two runs (one earned) on three hits.
Emerson and Cuico each had two hits for the Runnin Rebels.