March 31, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The hot start to pitcher Laura Winter's Notre Dame softball career continued Thursday evening at Melissa Cook Stadium as the freshmen turned away 12 Purdue batters on strikes as the Irish withstood a late Boilermaker rally for a 7-5 non-conference win. Winter (9-2) fanned seven of the first 14 batters she faced and ended the game by leaving Kim McMillian in her cleats on a called third strike with two runners on base, ending a three-run Purdue jaunt.
The Irish (18-7) held a 7-2 lead entering the seventh inning thanks largely in part to a grand slam by Heather Johnson in the sixth. Johnson's two-out bomb was not only her second home run in as many games, but also brought her career RBI total to 170. Christine Lux and Jarrah Myers share the record with 174.
Johnson is tied for sixth with Liz Hartmann on the career home run chart after her 27th longball.
Purdue (19-8) saw its five-game winning streak come to an end after posting its best start to a season in program history. Suzie Rzegocki (16-7) gave up 10 Irish hits and seven runs in 6.0 innings. She helped herself at the plate with a solo blast in the fifth and was joined in the home run department that same inning by Lindsey Rains.
Frustrated by an offensive outing earlier in the week against Western Michigan in which it left 10 runners stranded on base, Notre Dame came out swinging in the first to plate two runs on four hits. The first four batters in the Irish lineup - Alexa Maldonado, Alexia Clay, Johnson and Dani Miller - recorded a hit, as Clay's was good for a two-run homer.
Another run was added in the fourth when Kasey O'Connor's infield knock was misplayed by Rzegocki with the bases loaded.
Following Johnson's grand slam in the sixth, which was set up when Brianna Jorgensborg was hit by a pitch and singles were delivered by O'Connor and Maldonado, Purdue quickly came back with an answer.
Two Notre Dame errors helped the Boilermakers post three runs on two hits in the seventh. Erika Petruzzi's double drove in two scores after Andie Varsho singled up the middle to score the first run of the inning. Two runners were on base when McMillan struck out to end the game.
Maldonado, Clay, Johnson and Miller crushed two hits apiece.
Winter gave up eight hits and walked three in 7.0 innings and struck out Shelby Krammer during three of her four appearances at the plate.
Irish batters struck out just twice.
Notre Dame plays host to Providence this weekend (April 2-3) for a three-game BIG EAST Conference series. Live and comprehensive coverage of each contest will be available at UND.com.