April 10, 2011
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Six of Notre Dame’s 21 hits were good for home runs as the Irish swept a BIG EAST Conference doubleheader over Syracuse. The Irish won the first game, 9-2, while taking a 7-4 victory to end the twinbill Sunday afternoon at Syracuse Softball Stadium. The two teams played a doubleheader instead of the standard three-game league series due to travel complications incurred by Notre Dame Friday evening.
Seven players recorded three hits on the day as the Irish relied on a relentless and consistent offensive attack to spoil the home-opening weekend for Syracuse (24-10 overall, 3-5 BIG EAST).
The Irish have now won nine straight games to match their longest winning streak of the season.
Notre Dame (26-7, 5-0) returns home to face Bowling Green for a doubleheader on Tuesday (April 12).
The Irish had to fight from behind when Lacey Kohl belted a solo home run in the bottom of the first.
Katie Fleury evened things out with a leadoff home run in the second, pegging the scoreboard in the process. Brianna Jorgensborg got on base with a single through the left side and eventually scored on Sadie Pitzenberger’s two-out single to left.
A crushing blow to the Orange came from Amy Buntin’s two-out, two-run homer which carried the fence in left-center. Fleury was on second when Buntin blasted the 3-2 offering from Jenna Caira (15-8) which put Notre Dame ahead, 5-1.
Syracuse left two runners on base in the second and another in scoring position during Laura Winter’s two-strikeout third frame.
Winter would strike out nine in the complete-game win to improve her record to 14-2 for her sixth victory in as many decisions.
Stacy Kuwik allowed a single to Clay in the seventh, followed by a two-run dinger by Johnson which was lined to the opposite field. Dani Miller accounted for Notre Dame’s fourth home run of the game, the second time she and Johnson slammed back-to-back home runs this season.
Stephanie Watts contributed the latter of Syracuse’s bookend blasts with a solo homer in the seventh.
Clay, Johnson and Miller each had two hits. Clay led the Irish with three runs scored.
Seven of Notre Dame’s 10 hits came off of Caira, who gave up five earned runs and fanned seven.
Kuwik tossed the last 2.0 innings and struck out four while giving up three earned runs on three hits.
Miller’s second solo home run of the day was good enough to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead in the second. Following suit was Fleury, who doubled off the wall in left, moved to third on Buntin’s sacrifice bunt and scored when Jorgensborg doubled down the leftfield line.
A Kelly Saco bomb tied the score at 2-2, a two-run homer to right in the bottom of the second after Jody Valdivia (7-4) issued a leadoff walk to Hallie Gibbs.
Valdivia was good for 4.0 innings in the starting effort, allowing four earned runs on six hits. Valdivia gave way to Winter in the bottom of the fifth, and Winter answered with a shutout showing in 3.0 innings for the save.
Johnson unloaded another home run to the opposite field, this time to put Notre Dame back ahead in the top of the third, 3-2. Fleury reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and scored when Buntin shot a rocket single past the glove of Saco at first.
The two-run lead was cut in half as Gibbs doubled home a run in the bottom half of the third.
Erin Marrone started the fourth by reaching base courtesy of an error. Pitzenberger singled and Alexa Maldonado loaded the bases with her first hit of the doubleheader. Clay roped a double to center which brought home two more runs. Kuwik entered the circle and got out of the inning as the Orange defense stood strong to the end the frame with a pair of Irish runners in scoring position.
Veronica Grant tripled home Morgan Nandin with two away in the fourth.
Fleury started the fifth with a double to the wall in centerfield. Two batters later, Jorgensborg added her second double of the contest as Fleury touched the plate for Notre Dame’s seventh score.
Caira fell behind early and often in 3.0 innings and was tagged with the loss. She gave up six runs – five earned – on nine hits.
Kuwik allowed two hits and one earned run in the final 4.0 innings.