March 29, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The nation's fifth-longest home winning streak was snapped Tuesday at Melissa Cook Stadium when the Notre Dame softball team fell to visiting Western Michigan, 3-2. The Irish, who had won 21 straight home games dating back to 2009, are now 17-7 overall heading into Thursday's meeting at 5:00 p.m. (ET) against in-state rival Purdue.
The Broncos (5-18) were out-hit by Notre Dame, 9-4, but scored three runs in the first two innings to break a 10-game skid to the Irish while posting their first road win in the series since 1999.
Tara Buchanan's first-inning, two-run homer off of Jody Valdivia (5-4) proved to be the difference in the contest. Buchanan's bomb produced two of three runs on Valdivia in the opening 1.2 innings, as the Irish starter allowed a trio of earned scores with a pair of strikeouts.
Valdivia was replaced in the second after surrendering a two-out RBI-single to Lexi Jager, and Brittany O'Donnell fanned four batters over the next 2.1 frames.
Laura Winter combined with O'Donnell to leave the Broncos scoreless with a four-strikeout effort in 3.0 innings. Winter added four of Notre Dame's 10 punchouts, as 23 of her 27 offerings were strikes.
Johnson's two-run dinger in the third was the only knock to produce tally marks for Notre Dame on the day. The Irish left three runners on base in the frame. Even more, 10 ducks remained floating on the pond during the contest, including multiples in the second (2), fifth (2) and sixth (2) innings.
Western Michigan overcame a pair of fielding errors and caught Maldonado stealing for just the second time in 11 attempts.