Feb. 23, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team will resume its tournament schedule Saturday and Sunday at the Pirate Invitational, hosted by East Carolina University, at the ECU Softball Stadium in Greenville, N.C.
It will be the second time in three weeks that Notre Dame has participated in a tournament in North Carolina after opening the 2013 season at the Fast Pitch Classic in Charlotte Feb. 9-10.
The Irish (4-5) are tentatively slated to play East Carolina (6-4) at 3 p.m. Saturday before facing Liberty (2-4) at 5 p.m. Notre Dame is set to close the weekend with games against Fairfield (1-1) at 9 a.m. and East Carolina at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Due to the threat of inclement weather in the Greenville area, all scheduled games and game times at the Pirate Invitational are subject to change. Lehigh, who was originally entered, has withdrawn from the tournament.
East Carolina Pirate Invitational
ECU Softball Stadium
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(2-4 overall; ND leads all-time series 2-0)
East Carolina Pirates
(6-4 overall; ND leads all-time series 2-0)
(1-1 overall; first-ever meeting)
*Notre Dame Tentative Weekend Schedule:
Notre Dame at East Carolina – Saturday, 3 p.m.
Notre Dame vs. Liberty – Saturday, 5 p.m.
Notre Dame vs. Fairfield – Sunday, 9 a.m.
Notre Dame at East Carolina – Sunday, 11 a.m.
* Due to the threat of inclement weather, all game times are subject to change
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame closed the Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego, Calif. last weekend with a 2-3 record, but the Irish left an indelible mark in their final game of the tournament Sunday against No. 1 Oklahoma.
– The Irish erased a 2-0 deficit against the top-ranked Sooners in the bottom of the sixth inning, capped by a double down the left field line from Laura Winter that scored Kelsey Thornton and Katey Haus. The runs were the first allowed by the Oklahoma pitching staff in more than 35 innings.
– Winter battled valiantly against one of the nation’s premiere lineups, striking out a season-high 14 Oklahoma batters over 8.2 innings. The junior right-hander threw more than 170 pitches, nearly tossing a complete game for the fourth time in five starts.
– 2012 All-American Amy Buntin drilled a two-run home run over the wall in right center off Michelle Gascoigne in the bottom of the ninth inning. The long ball was Buntin’s first of 2013, and just the third earned run allowed by Gascoigne this season (31 IP).
– Emilee Koerner served as the table setter for Notre Dame during the Campbell/Cartier Classic, splitting time in the leadoff (twice) and third (three times) slots in the Irish lineup over the weekend. Koerner batted at a team-high .375 clip (6-for-16) with six hits (two doubles) and three runs during the tournament’s five games.
– Koerner leads Notre Dame with 12 hits, three doubles, 15 total bases and six runs this season.
– The Irish swept a pair of games from Cal Poly during the weekend, outscoring the Mustangs 10-3 during the two-game series. Notre Dame tagged Cal Poly pitching for 11 hits in a 6-0 victory Friday afternoon. Brittany O’Donnell tossed the first Irish shutout of the season in the circle, walking none and striking out a career-high 10 batters on 119 pitches.
– Lauren Stuhr put an exclamation mark on a four-run Notre Dame sixth inning in Saturday’s meeting, powering the Irish to a 4-3 win with a two-run home run.
Nearly Taming #1
Notre Dame emerged with plenty of program building blocks from its encounter with No. 1 Oklahoma last weekend at the Campbell/Cartier Classic.
Despite the extra inning defeat, the Irish took their first-ever lead over a No. 1 team in the bottom of the sixth inning on Laura Winter’s RBI double. The two-run margin (7-5) of the game’s final score was also the closest Notre Dame has ever come to beating the top-ranked team in the country.
The Irish also snapped the 35-inning (five game) shutout streak that the Sooners had compiled dating back to the bottom of the fourth inning against Northwestern Feb. 10.
Irish Find Their Power Stroke
Notre Dame only hit one home run in its first four games of the 2013 season, a three-run shot by Cassidy Whidden at Charlotte Feb. 9. The Irish hit three long balls in as many days at the Campbell/Cartier Classic, winning two of the three contests in which a team member went deep.
Micaela Arizmendi hit her first career home run in the top of the second inning against Cal Poly Friday, blasting a three-run shot to right center field off Mustang starter Nicole Innamorato. The Irish won the contest 6-0.
Lauren Stuhr capped a Notre Dame rally against Cal Poly Saturday afternoon with a two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth inning, breaking a 2-all tie. The hit provided the winning Irish margin (4-3).
Amy Buntin got a hold of a 2-0 pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning against Oklahoma, drilling a two-run blast to opposite field to bring Notre Dame within two runs of the No. 1 Sooners.
Everyone Seeing The Field
With the exception of Jackie Bowe, who is recovering from injury, every active player on the Notre Dame roster has made at least five game appearances thus far in 2013.
Each of the 17 players has also made at least one start this season. Four players have started all nine Notre Dame contests to date, Emilee Koerner (center/left field), Kelsey Thornton (right field), Chloe Saganowich (shortstop) and Katey Haus (third base). Amy Buntin has been on the starting lineup card in eight contests (seven as catcher, one as the designated player).
All five Notre Dame freshmen have become frequent contributors in head coach Deanna Gumpf’s lineup, led by the nine game appearances (four starts) of infielder Carly Piccinich. Megan Sorlie has made five starts in the outfield, while Micaela Arizmendi has been the starting first baseman on five occasions. Allie Rhodes has earned three starts as a non-batting designated player, and Casey Africano started as the `DP’ against Presbyterian Feb. 10.
Long Winter Days
Laura Winter has served as Notre Dame’s workhorse starter in the circle during her first three seasons with the Irish, tossing a total of 43 complete games.
Winter is averaging 7.44 innings per start in 2013, going the distance in a career-high 10-inning outing against Wisconsin (Feb. 10) and 8.2 frames on a remarkable 174 pitches against No. 1 Oklahoma (Feb. 17).
The junior right-hander pitched into extra innings only four times in 67 career starts entering this season, topping out at 146 pitches against UNLV March 11, 2012.
Notre Dame will compete at the Citrus Classic at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Buena Vista, Fla., March 2-3.