March 23, 2013
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - The University of Notre Dame softball team opened its 2013 BIG EAST schedule with a pair of wins Saturday against Seton Hall, sweeping the Pirates 10-2 and 10-1 in five innings at Mike Sheppard, Sr. Field.
The Irish (21-7, 2-0 BIG EAST) combined for 21 total hits, including eight that went for extra bases (four doubles, four home runs). Notre Dame also held the edge in total bases (37-18) and stolen bases (5-0).
Amy Buntin batted a perfect 4-for-4 (1.000) over both games, chipping in one home run, six RBI and four runs scored in the Notre Dame sweep. Buntin paced the Irish with a career-high five RBI in the game one win.
Laura Winter (11-5) won her 10th decision in 12 starts in game one, holding Seton Hall (10-13) to two hits over three innings, striking out six. Winter also made an impact at the plate, batting a combined 4-for-6 (.667) with three doubles, one home run and a team-high nine RBI during the two Irish wins. Winter's six runs batted in during game two were one from equaling a program record.
Brittany O'Donnell (8-2) appeared in both contests, allowing one run in 5.1 innings, including a four-hit complete game in the nightcap. The senior right-hander walked one and struck out seven Pirate hitters on the day.
Game three between Notre Dame and Seton Hall is scheduled for a noon first pitch Sunday.
Emilee Koerner opened the game with a double to center field in the top of the first inning, and moved to third base on a bunt single by Jenna Simon. A sacrifice fly by Amy Buntin scored Koerner from third to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. A double down the left field line by Laura Winter off Seton Hall starter Danielle DeStaso (8-5) scored Simon to up the advantage to 2-0.
Winter struck out the Pirate side in the home half of the first, retiring Yasmin Harrell, Coltey Sheldon and DeStaso on swing third strikes.
Maria DeLuca laced a double to the gap in left center off Winter in the bottom of the second inning for the first Seton Hall hit of the game. The Pirates were unable to push a run across, as three straight outs stranded DeLuca at third base to keep Notre Dame in front 2-0.
The Irish kept the momentum rolling in the top of the third inning, as Buntin crushed a 2-0 DeStaso offering over the center field fence to score Simon and extend the Notre Dame lead to 4-0. A Katey Haus single and a double steal moved both runners into scoring position with one out. DeStaso struck out Lauren Stuhr and forced Kathryn Lux to pop out to shortstop to end the Irish threat.
Buntin drilled a two-out RBI single through the left side off DeStaso in the top of the fourth, plating Koerner from third (5-0). Winter followed with a double off the glove of leaping Pirate right fielder Sara Haefeli, bringing Simon and Buntin around to up the Irish cushion to 7-0.
Allie Rhodes tossed a scoreless frame of relief in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Irish freshman punched out Brittany Hammer looking on a 3-2 pitch to strand DeLuca at second base.
Notre Dame kept the offense coming in the top of the fifth. Stuhr scored from third base on a wild pitch from Jen Metzger (8-0), and back-to-back walks and a Seton Hall error loaded the bases for Koerner. A sharp single through the right side by the Irish center fielder plated Micaela Arizmendi to extend the Irish lead to 9-0. A sacrifice fly from Buntin upped the advantage to 10-0.
Haefeli got the Pirates on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning, driving a solo home run out and gone to center, cutting into the Notre Dame lead (10-1). An infield single by DeStaso scored Casey Moses to trim the Irish lead to eight runs at 10-2. Reliever Brittany O'Donnell struck out DeLuca swinging to end the game.
Notre Dame picked up where it left off to start game two. A pair of singles by Emilee Koerner and Amy Buntin, and a walk by Jenna Simon loaded the bases for Laura Winter with nobody out. Winter grooved the first pitch she saw from Seton Hall starter Casey Moses (0-2) down the left field line, clearing the bases with a three-run double (3-0). After a passed ball, Lauren Stuhr drove Winter home with an RBI single through the right side, pushing the Irish lead to 4-0.
Buntin kept her hot day at the plate rolling in the top of the second, lacing a one-out RBI single to left field that scored Koerner from third base. Winter engaged in a spirited battle with Moses before sending the 11th pitch of the at-bat screaming over the scoreboard in left field, extending the Notre Dame cushion to 8-0.
Irish starter Brittany O'Donnell cruised through the Seton Hall order in the bottom of the second inning, striking out the Pirate side in order. Alex Rabbetts, Sara Haefeli and Brittany Hammer were each retired swinging to stall the Seton Hall attack. O'Donnell kept the Pirates out of the hit column for the second straight frame in the bottom of the third.
Koerner sent the first pitch she saw from Danielle DeStaso deep and gone to right center to lead off the top of the fourth inning (9-0). Cassidy Whidden followed with a solo blast of her own two batters later, depositing a 2-0 pitch over the fence in left center to push Notre Dame's lead to 10-0.
DeStaso turned on the first pitch from O'Donnell in the bottom of the fourth, sending a solo shot of her own over the left field wall to trim the Seton Hall deficit to 10-1. The Irish sat the last three Pirate hitters down in order to end the inning.