April 24, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Dani Miller and Lauren Stuhr each launched two-run home runs as part of a six-run third inning and Brittany O'Donnell limited Michigan State to five hits as Notre Dame defeated the Spartans, 7-1, Tuesday at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Miller's home run was her 10th of the season, making her the first player in program history to hit double-digit dingers in each of her four campaigns in an Irish uniform.
The non-conference softball win bumped Notre Dame's overall record to 27-13 heading into a BIG EAST Conference doubleheader with Seton Hall set to begin at noon (ET) Wednesday.
O'Donnell (9-5) earned the victory with her fifth complete game of the season, striking out six and allowing one earned run to give Notre Dame its sixth straight win.
Michigan State (11-34) starter Carly Nielsen could not escape the third inning and gave up five earned runs on five hits to shoulder the loss, moving her record in the circle to 3-15.
Tied at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the third, the Irish took control of the game with a six-run frame in which they sent 12 batters to the plate. Miller smoked a two-run home run to right-center to give the Irish a 3-1 lead as the slugger would finish the contest with a game-high three RBI.
Shortly after Miller's bomb, Katey Haus walked and Stuhr launched a towering shot to right-center for another two-run homer to increase the lead to 5-1. Stuhr's third home run on the season prompted the Spartans to resort to Shelby Wise, who gave up two runs on one hit without recording an out in the third inning.
Saganowich and Simon each finished the game 2-for-2 with a walk and were the only Irish batters with multi-hit games.
Kelsey Thornton added an RBI single for the fourth straight Irish hit of the third inning to make the score 7-1.
The Irish started the scoring as they loaded the bases in the first inning. Kelsey Thornton and Alexa Maldonado led off the stanza with back-to-back infield singles. Amy Buntin was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out and Miller grounded to shortstop to plate the first run of the game.
The Irish would leave two runners on base to end both the first and second innings and left the bases loaded in the third.
Michigan State elected to work around Buntin with runners on base as it intentionally walked Notre Dame's leading hitter three times in four plate appearances.
The Irish were patient at the plate in collectively drawing nine walks, five of which were charged to Cassee Layne.
After being set down in order the first two innings, the Spartan bats awoke in the third to tie the game at 1-1. Ali Grant led off the inning with a double and later scored on Kylene Hopkins' two-out triple. The Spartans would not advance a runner past second base the rest of the game.