April 21, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Laura Winter kept the DePaul bats frozen to notch her second career no-hitter – and the first by any pitcher at Melissa Cook Stadium since its doors opened in 2008 – as the Irish swept the Blue Demons Saturday in front of 598 fans.
Winter was nearly perfect in the Notre Dame (25-13 overall, 7-3 BIG EAST) softball team’s 3-0 opening win, striking out eight with one walk. The right-handed sophomore started game two, gave way for Brittany O’Donnell to toss less than an inning of middle relief, and kept her arm moving in the final two innings to steer the Irish to a 4-3 victory in game two.
The no-hitter was the second in as many seasons for Winter (17-8), who did the deed as a freshman in 2011 at USF. In that contest, Winter beaned the first USF batter and issued an opening-inning walk before retiring 19 straight.
Winter retired 13 straight Blue Demons (26-16, 8-5) in the opener before Katelyn Braget coaxed a walk in the top of the fifth.
Buntin made it 3-0 with Notre Dame’s seventh hit of the contest, a fifth-inning solo home run to center.
Kirsten Verdun (18-9) suffered the loss in game one after giving up five hits and two earned runs before giving way for Hannah Penna, who gave up the homer to Buntin.
Verdun started the latter contest and went 5.1 innings while striking out six with four earned runs to her name. Two of those hits came off the bat of Maldonado, who finished 2-for-2 while scoring twice.
Neither team scored until the fourth, when Maldonado singled to shortstop and proceeded to swipe second. Buntin ripped a single to center to score Maldonado and Dani Miller made it 3-0 by stroking a two-run dinger into the rightfield bleachers.
O’Donnell gave up three runs to the Blue Demons in the top of the fifth to prompt Winter’s return. DePaul managed to scratch six hits off of Winter in the contest though she did not allow an earned run.
The Blue Demons had a great chance to take the lead in the fifth when Mary Connolly drove in a run with a single to left-center but Maldonado gunned down Verdun at the plate on Braget’s flyball to center.
Knotted at 3-3, Maldonado scored on a wild pitch in the sixth inning which proved to be the go-ahead run.
Notre Dame and DePaul will meet at noon (ET) Sunday for the third game of the league series. Live video, audio and stats will be available at UND.com.