March 14, 2012
FULLERTON, Calif. - The bats came alive for the Notre Dame softball team on Wednesday afternoon at Anderson Field in game one of the Judi Garman Classic, as the Irish scored their most runs since 2009 in a 16-0 five-inning victory over Cal State Fullerton.
Notre Dame (10-8) hit five homers on the day and scored 12 runs in the first three innings as they jumped on the Titans from the very beginning.
The 16 runs were the most for the Irish since a 17-9 win against Valparaiso in 2009. The 16 run margin of victory is tied for second in Notre Dame history. The Irish beat No. 24 Robert Morris in 1994, 18-0, and have beaten a team by 16 runs two other times; in 2002 against Oakland (16-0) and in 2000 against Providence (16-0). The 12 runs between the first and third innings were the most in three consecutive innings since Notre Dame scored 13 runs between the second and fourth innings in a 14-0 Senior Day win over St. John's last year. The Irish were two runs away from tying their all-time record of 18 runs, which was set in 1994 against No. 24 Robert Morris.
In three innings, the Irish already had set season-highs in runs, hits, home runs and RBI.
Cracking homers for the Irish were Emilee Koerner, Amy Buntin, Katey Haus, Kristina Wright and Cassidy Whidden. The homers were the first in their career for the freshmen Koerner and Whidden. All three catchers (Buntin, Wright and Whidden) on the roster hit homers.
Sophomore pitcher Laura Winter got the nod in the circle and struck out the side and turned in an RBI single in her only inning of action. Fellow sophomore Brittany O'Donnell (5-3) earned the win after going two innings and allowing only a hit. Junior Jackie Bowe closed out the game, pitching two innings and also allowing only a hit.
Ten Irish batters picked up hits with seven recording at least one RBI. Whidden had four RBIs coming on her grand slam in the fifth inning. Haus had three hits and three RBIs and was a triple away from hitting for the cycle. Senior Dani Miller produced three hits and scored three runs. Koerner went 2-for-2 with a homer, three RBIs and two runs scored. Junior Kelsey Thornton also picked up three hits and scored two runs.
Notre Dame showed a knack for stringing together hits throughout the game. The Irish scored four runs in the first after piecing together four hits in a row, highlighted by Koerner's homer to left center.
In the second the Irish strung together six hits, with a pair of homers by Buntin and Haus highlighting the inning, to up the Notre Dame advantage to 10-0.
The third inning saw Wright hit a two-run bomb on the first pitch she saw to give the Irish a 12-0 advantage.
The Irish closed out their scoring in the fifth as Whidden took the second pitch she saw yard to give the game its final margin at 16-0.
Notre Dame returns to action tomorrow with contests against Iowa at 9 a.m. (PT) and Michigan at 1 p.m. (PT).