March 10, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. – The University of Notre Dame softball team grabbed an early advantage Sunday in its second meeting of the weekend against New Mexico State and never looked back, earning a 5-0 shutout victory over the Aggies in the final game of the Diamond Devil Invitational at Arizona State’s Farrington Stadium.
The Irish (14-6) have now won 10 of their last 11 games, and are outscoring opponents 71-21 during that span. Sunday’s contest was the fourth shutout win of the year for Notre Dame, and the first for starter Laura Winter. Winter (7-4) allowed five hits with no walks, striking out nine in a complete game effort.
Kelsey Thornton opened the bottom of first inning with a bunt single, advancing to second on an errant throw by New Mexico State pitcher Karysta Donisthorpe (5-2). Emilee Koerner flipped a double over the head of right fielder Malena Padilla two batters later, plating Thornton to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.
Winter cruised through the top half of the second, punching out Teresa Conrad swinging and Emma Adams looking to keep the Aggies off the board.
New Mexico State (15-10) threatened in the top of the third inning after Amber Olive and Padilla connected for consecutive singles off Winter. The Notre Dame right-hander forced Lacey Rother to ground out to Katey Haus at third base for the frame’s final out, stranding both Aggie runners.
Winter added a pair of strikeouts in a three-up, three-down top of the fourth inning, sitting down Staci Rodriguez and Conrad on strikes to maintain the 1-0 Notre Dame lead.
Haus ripped a double down the right field line to start the Irish half of the fourth. Amy Buntin laid down a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt that moved pinch runner Monica Torres to third base. Jenna Simon flipped a slap hit over the head of the New Mexico State shortstop Conrad to score Torres and up the Notre Dame advantage to 2-0.
The Irish added a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, as a pinch hit RBI single by Micaela Arizmendi scored Koerner with two outs (3-0). A stolen base by Buntin one batter later allowed Haus to advance on the throw from third base, upping the Notre Dame cushion to 4-0.
Thornton and Kathryn Lux paced the Irish with two hits each, while Koerner reached base in three of her four plate appearances.
New Mexico State looked to spark a rally in the top of the sixth. Olive led off with a bloop single to left center to open the inning, but was put out at second on a nice play in the hole by Irish shortstop Chloe Saganowich two batters later. Winter forced Kelsey Dodd to fly out to right field to stall the Aggie charge.
Notre Dame added a run in the bottom of the sixth inning after Winter worked a 3-2 walk against New Mexico State reliever Makayla McAdams with the bases loaded, scoring Megan Sorlie from third base to increase the Irish lead to 5-0.
Winter retired the side again in the top of the seventh inning, striking out Chelsea Dohrwardt and Conrad before forcing Adams to ground out to second base to cap the shutout.
Notre Dame returns to the field March 13-14 at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif.