April 18, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Early runs proved to be the difference for the Notre Dame softball team as it scored six times in the first two innings, hanging on for a 6-3 non-conference victory over Valparaiso Wednesday evening at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Irish pitcher Laura Winter (15-8) picked up the win after tossing a complete-game gem with six strikeouts as Notre Dame posted its 31st-straight victory over the Crusaders.
The Irish improved to 22-13 overall and will be back on the field Thursday when they play host Cleveland State at 5 p.m. (ET) with live coverage available at UND.com.
After Valparaiso (28-11) starter Sam McGee (11-3) relieved the first two batters of the first inning, Dani Miller drew a walk to load the bases for Katey Haus, who notched the first of eight Irish hits on the day.
Haus was able to jump on the second offering from McGee to single home Emilee Koerner and Amy Buntin to give Notre Dame a 2-0 lead. The earned runs were the first allowed by McGee in over 33 innings as Valparaiso would soon see its 11-game winning streak come to an end.
In the second inning, Kelsey Thornton extended the Irish lead when she bunted home Chloe Sagnowich, who led off the frame with a double and later advanced to third.
The big blast of the inning came from Buntin, who belted a three-run homer off the scoreboard in leftfield. Buntin's bomb was her seventh of the season and put the Crusaders in a 6-0 hole.
Notre Dame failed to generate another run and had just two runners reach second base over the final three innings.
The Crusaders would get three of the runs back, beginning with a Tori Brown solo home run in the third while Amanda Wisniewski duplicated the effort in the seventh. Brittany Duncan doubled home a run for Valparaiso in the top of the sixth.
Thornton finished 3-for-3 as Buntin led all players with three RBI. Chloe Saganowich added two hits for the Irish.
Alex Lagesse tossed the final 4.1 innings for Valparaiso, allowing only two hits across that span.