March 14, 2013
FULLERTON, Calif. – The University of Notre Dame softball team battled No. 14 Arizona throughout Thursday’s contest, ultimately landing on the wrong end of a 2-0 decision on day two of the Judi Garman Classic at Cal State Fullerton.
The Wildcats struck early on an RBI single down the right field line by Chelsea Goodacre in the top of the first inning. Notre Dame starter Laura Winter retired Kelsey Rodriguez trying to reach base on a bunt attempt to keep the Arizona (19-7) lead at 1-0.
Winter (8-5) bounced back in the top of the second inning, yielding a lone infield single to the Wildcat order. Three fly ball putouts by the Irish defense ended the frame.
Katey Haus legged out an infield single up the middle in the bottom of the third inning off Wildcat starter Nancy Bowling (4-1) for the first Notre Dame (15-7) hit of the game. After Chloe Saganowich reached on a fielder’s choice, Jenna Simon slapped an infield single to the left side, giving the Irish two on with two out. Emilee Koerner laced a single to center field one batter later, but Arizona center fielder Alex Lavine came up with a great throw to beat Saganowich at the plate and thwart the Irish attack.
Koerner paced the Irish offense with a 2-for-2 day at the plate, adding a walk. The Notre Dame outfielder has reached base in 22 consecutive games, recording hits in 20 of those contests. Haus, Simon and Winter each added base hits for Notre Dame.
Winter retired Arizona in order in the top of the fourth, forcing Rodriguez to fly out to center, punching out Lauren Young looking and Estela Pinon swinging to keep Notre Dame within one run at 1-0.
The Wildcats extended their advantage to 2-0 in the top of the sixth inning on a solo home run from Goodacre that cleared the right field fence.
Koerner got the Notre Dame offense started in the bottom of the sixth inning with a one-out single through the left side off Bowling. An infield single by Winter kept the Irish momentum going. After Lauren Stuhr fouled out to first baseman Hallie Wilson, Bowling walked Amy Buntin on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. A deep fly ball to left field off the bat of Kathryn Lux just stayed in the yard and was caught on the track by Maddie Perez, keeping Arizona in front 2-0.
Pinch hitter Cassidy Whidden worked a five-pitch walk to start an Irish rally in the bottom of the seventh. A deep grounder in the hole by Micaela Arizmendi moved Whidden into scoring position at second base. Pinch hitter Megan Sorlie made good contact on a 0-1 Bowling offering, but second baseman Chelsea Suitos caught the line drive to end the game.
Winter took the hard-luck loss, scattering seven hits in a complete game effort, striking out three Arizona batters.
Notre Dame travels to Riverside for a pair of games Friday and Saturday at the Highlander Classic, hosted by UC Riverside.