April 27, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - After posting an impressive 9-0 win in five innings in game one on Sunday, the University of Notre Dame softball team faced an uphill climb in the nightcap against Maryland. A five-run bottom of the fifth inning erased a two-run Maryland lead, powering the Irish to an 8-5 victory and opening day sweep of Strikeout Cancer weekend at Melissa Cook Stadium.
No. 21 Notre Dame (33-10, 12-5 ACC) officially claimed its fourth ACC series of the season with the wins, and moved into second place in the ACC league standings. Double-digit hit performances in both games pushed the Irish total to 23 games in 2014 with 10 or more hits.
Freshman outfielder Karley Wester continued her sensational hitting in ACC play, batting 4-for-5 on the day with a double, triple, two RBI and three runs scored. Senior captain Chloe Saganowich added two hits, including a home run and the game-winning single of game two, and three RBI to the Notre Dame offensive cause, while junior Katey Haus and sophomore Micaela Arizmendi each added three RBI of their own.
Senior Laura Winter (22-4) went the distance for Notre Dame in game one, allowing four hits and striking out seven Maryland (8-34, 4-15 ACC) batters in a shutout victory. Winter allowed only two runs in 2.2 innings of relief in game two, striking out three for her second win of the day.
Game One - #21 Notre Dame 9, Maryland 0 (five innings)
Maryland leadoff hitter Amanda McCann opened the game with s single up the middle, but that was all the Terrapins could manage in the top of the first inning. Laura Winter struck out Shannon Bustillos and Kylie Datil swinging, before freezing Candice Beards looking to close the frame.
Karley Wester began the Notre Dame ups in the bottom of the first with a line drive base hit into left field off Maryland starter Kaitlyn Schmeiser (5-12). An all-out hustle play from Wester landed the Irish leadoff hitter at second base with a sliding double. A sacrifice bunt from junior Jenna Simon moved Wester to third base. Junior All-American Emilee Koerner chopped a one-out RBI single up the middle, scoring Wester to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. Micaela Arizmendi continued her phenomenal ACC batting season, crushing a two-run home run through the wind into the right field bleachers two batters later, upping the Irish cushion to 3-0.
Winter worked a 1-2-3 top of the second inning, popping Madison Martin out to second base, striking Juli Strange out looking and inducing a Jessica Warner pop out to third base.
Chloe Saganowich got the Irish offense rolling in the bottom of the second with a full-count walk with one out. Senior Lauren Stuhr cashed in the RBI chance on a first pitch swinging, drilling a run scoring double into the gap in right center field to plate Saganowich from first base, extending the Notre Dame lead to 4-0.
A pair of hits looked to get Maryland rolling in the top of the fourth inning with a two-out single from Strange into right field, but Stuhr came up throwing with a perfect strike to Katey Haus at third base to gun down Terrapin base runner Martin for the final out of the inning.
Junior Cassidy Whidden lined a one-out single into center field in the bottom of the fourth, setting the table for Saganowich, who blasted off the first pitch from Schmeiser into the left field bleachers, upping Notre Dame's lead to 6-0.
The Irish loaded the bases later in the inning after a Stuhr double, and infield singles from Wester and Simon. A sacrifice fly from Koerner to left field off the reliever Martin allowed Stuhr to tag from third base (7-0). Haus followed with a two-run single through the left side, clearing the bases to make it 9-0 Irish.
Game Two - #21 Notre Dame 8, Maryland 5
Maryland took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning following an RBI single from Candice Beards, scoring Shannon Bustillos from third base. Starter Allie Rhodes retired the final two Terrapin batters of the inning, striking out Madison Martin swinging before grounding Juli Strange out to second base.
Notre Dame tied the contest in the bottom of the first, after Karley Wester drew a four-pitch walk and moved into scoring position with a stolen base. An infield single by Jenna Simon moved Wester to third base, where she ultimately scored on an RBI single to right by Katey Haus to even the score at 1-1.
Bustillos vaulted Maryland back in front with a two-run double in the top of the second inning (3-1). Kylie Datil followed with an RBI double down the left field line, making it 4-1 in favor of the visitors. Freshman Rachel Nasland escaped a bases loaded jam by getting Strange to fly out to center field to end the top half of the frame.
Back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the second from sophomore Casey Africano and Cassidy Whidden closed the deficit to only two runs at 4-2. The Irish were unable to push another run across, as reliever Brenna Nation (1-14) retired the final two Notre Dame batters to strand Whidden at third base.
A one-out single for Emilee Koerner started an Irish rally in the bottom of the third, and Micaela Arizmendi followed with an RBI double off the right field wall two batters later, bringing Notre Dame within one run at 4-3.
A single was all Maryland could muster against Nasland in the top of the fourth inning, as the Notre Dame right-hander picked up a strikeout and a pair of ground ball outs to retire the Terrapins in the frame.
Maryland added a run in the top of the fifth inning, following a sacrifice fly off the bat of Amanda McCann that scored Bridget Hawvermale from third base, extending the Terrapin cushion to 5-3. Laura Winter entered in relief and put out Datil on a called strike three to escape a bases loaded jam.
Notre Dame tied the game in the bottom of the fifth against Nation, after Koerner reached on an error, Haus singled up the middle and Arizmendi walked on four straight pitches to load the bases. Winter helped her own cause by blasting a 3-2 pitch off the wall in center field, scoring a pair on the long single to even the score at 5-5.
A single to left field from Whidden and a single up the middle by Chloe Saganowich plated Winter to give the Irish a 6-5 lead. Wester kept the momentum going with two outs, drilling a two-strike pitch over the head of Maryland left fielder Erin Pronobis that got all the way to the wall, clearing the bases with an RBI triple and upping the Notre Dame advantage to 8-5.
Winter worked a three-up, three-down inning in the top of the sixth, as Beards flew out to left field, pinch hitter Hannah Dewey struck out swinging and Strange fouled out to Arizmendi in foul ground by first base.
-- Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant