April 4, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame never looked back after scoring five first-inning runs while posting a 9-1 win over Northwestern in five frames Wednesday evening at Melissa Cook Stadium. The five runs in the opening stanza came on the power of three hits - including a two-run homer by Katey Haus - and matched Notre Dame's combined scoring output in its last four games against the Wildcats.
Entering the contest, Notre Dame had scored five or more runs in a game against Northwestern only twice in the 18-game series history, both coming during the 1997 season.
With their seventh-straight win, the Irish improved to 18-10 and will put the victorious streak on the line Thursday at Purdue. The first pitch of the intrastate rivalry will be tossed at 4:00 p.m. (ET) with live coverage available at UND.com.
Notre Dame recorded its first win over Northwestern (14-19) in eight tries - and its first home victory since 2005 - was aided by nine hits and stellar pitching by Laura Winter (11-6) who held the Wildcats to two hits. Winter also fanned seven Wildcats.
Haus was the lone Irish player to record multiple hits and drove in three runs as Amy Buntin added a pair of RBI.
Shortly after Northwestern starter Meghan Lamberth (7-9) retired leadoff hitter Alexa Maldonado to open the game the Irish took advantage of two fielding errors and score five straight runs.
Buntin reached base on the second Northwestern error of the inning which scored Kelsey Thornton from third. Thornton reached base earlier courtesy of a fielding error on the game's second play.
Dani Miller got in on the action when she doubled in Buntin, while Emilee Koerner would plate Miller with a single up the gut. The final two unearned runs in the frame for the Irish came off the bat of Haus and her two-run homer to left.
The Wildcats would get one back in the second off of Winter, who settled down to retire 12 of the next 14 batters faced.
Winter finished the outing by pitching 5.0 innings and walked only one Wildcat.
The Irish had back-to-back singles to start their half of the second and Buntin would answer the call again, knocking in Jenna Simon and Maldonado after the pair singled in earlier plate appearances to push the home team's advantage to 7-1.
Following a quiet third inning, Haus collected her third RBI on the day with a single up the middle and the game would end an inning later on the fourth Northwestern error, a hard-struck ball to shortstop by Thornton which allowed pinch-runner Jackie Bowe to score the ninth Irish run.
The run total was the highest ever by Notre Dame in the all-time series with the Wildcats.