April 22, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - While it was neither a no-hitter nor a shutout, Laura Winter capped off her outstanding weekend performance by tossing a complete game to lead Notre Dame to a 2-1 win over DePaul Sunday at Melissa Cook Stadium. The win game the Irish (26-13 overall, 8-3 BIG EAST) a sweep of the weekend's three-game BIG EAST Conference softball with the Blue Demons (26-17, 8-6), their first sweep of DePaul in a league set since 2006.
Winter (18-8), who earned the win in all three weekend contests, scattered eight hits while striking out two. DePaul ace Kirsten Verdun dropped to 18-10 with the loss despite allowing only one earned run.
The Irish offense gave Winter an early advantage in the first as Notre Dame ripped two doubles and capitalized on a DePaul mistake to claim a 2-0 lead.
After Alexa Maldonado doubled with one out, Amy Buntin sent a two-out rocket double off the wall in left to plate Maldonado. With Dani Miller at the plate, Buntin advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a throwing error by DePaul catcher Ali Warren.
The unearned run on the error by Warren would prove to be the difference in the game as Winter took care of the rest.
Winter cruised through the first three innings and finally surrendered a run in the fourth. DePaul put runners on first and third via two infield singles and an Irish throwing error. With one out and the infield drawn in, Katelyn Braget chopped a single over the head of third baseman Katey Haus to cut the Irish lead in half. Winter avoided further damage and preserved the 2-1 Irish lead by retiring the next two batters.
The run ended Winter's streak of 19.1 scoreless innings spanning four games. The streak commenced with 2.1 shutout innings to close out a 6-5 win against Cleveland State on Thursday. Winter then tossed her second career no-hitter in game one of Saturday's doubleheader with DePaul and followed with 6.2 scoreless frames in game two.
In the sixth, DePaul threatened to take the lead when it led off the frame with two singles to put runners on first and second. Winter induced a check-swing pop out to short from Braget, who already had two hits on the day. Samatha Dodd sent a line drive to Jenna Simon and second base, who then fired the ball to first to catch the runner off the bag for an inning-ending double play.
Verdun settled in after a rough first inning to silence the Irish bats. Following the two-run first, the Irish managed just four hits as Verdun fanned four and induced weak contact from Irish batters.
Neither team had many scoring opportunities as Notre Dame left four runners on base while DePaul stranded five.
Winter made quick work of DePaul in the seventh to preserve the victory. In the weekend sweep, she allowed just one run in 20.2 innings.
Notre Dame next takes the diamond Tuesday when it plays host to Michigan State at 6:00 p.m. (ET). Live video, audio and stats will be available at UND.com.