April 28, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - A series victory was the perfect way to cap another successful Strikeout Cancer weekend for the University of Notre Dame softball team, as the Irish erupted for 14 hits to down Maryland 9-1 in five innings on Monday night in an ACC Monday showdown on ESPNU.
Notre Dame claimed the weekend conference series over the Terrapins with its third win of the set, outscoring Maryland (8-35, 4-16 ACC) 26-6 in the league sweep.
The No. 21 Irish (34-10, 13-5 ACC) have now won four straight games, and nine of their last 10 contests dating back to a 17-2 win in five frames over Toledo on April 16. A total of 11 Notre Dame victories this season have not gone past the sixth inning as a result of the eight-run rule.
"What this win does is put us in a very good position to be where we need to be at the end of the season," Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf said.
Junior All-American Emilee Koerner paced Notre Dame with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, adding a double, home run and two RBI on the night. Koerner's fifth-inning double tied her Irish single-season record of 21 set in 2013, and moved her within one double (54) of tying Katie Laing for the career program mark of 55.
Junior Katey Haus added a 3-for-4 effort at the dish, smashing two doubles while chipping in an RBI and two runs scored. Sophomore Micaela Arizmendi extended her team lead in home runs to 13 with a two-run shot in the fourth inning, ending the day with two hits and three RBI.
"Micaela is just seeing the ball really well right now," Gumpf said. "The thing about Mic is she might miss once, but she won't miss the same pitch twice. That's what is important as a great hitter, and she has been a great hitter."
Senior Laura Winter (23-4) threw her 92nd career complete game in the win, striking out eight Maryland batters in her five innings pitched. The Terrapins managed only one run on six hits against the Notre Dame ace and reigning ACC Pitcher of the Week, who did not yield a walk in an outing for the 14th time this season.
"I think Laura overthrew early, and when she overthrows her spin isn't as crisp, but I thought she got better as the game went on," Gumpf said. "I thought she did a nice job."
Maryland scrapped for a pair of singles in the top of the first inning, but Winter was up to the task, striking out Amanda McCann swinging, Shannon Bustillos looking and Madison Martin swinging to retire the Terrapin side.
Koerner broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the first, grooving a 2-2 pitch from Maryland starter Brenna Nation (1-15) to opposite field and over the fence with two outs, putting the Irish on top 1-0.
Winter withstood a pair of singles in the top of the second inning, striking out McCann swinging on a 2-2 offering to strand a pair of Maryland runners on the base paths.
Notre Dame loaded the bases with one out against Nation in the bottom of the second, following singles from sophomore Casey Africano and junior Cassidy Whidden, and a walk by senior Lauren Stuhr. Freshman Karley Wester worked a five-pitch walk, bringing Africano across for a 2-0 Irish lead.
Senior captain Chloe Saganowich made a nice play up the middle on a sharp grounder from Candice Beards, gunning the Maryland first baseman out on a bang-bang play. The third and final out capped a 1-2-3 inning for Winter and the Notre Dame defense in the top of the third.
A leadoff double to left field from Haus opened the bottom of the Notre Dame third inning. Arizmendi followed by lining a 3-0 pitch up the middle off Kaitlyn Schmeiser, scoring Haus to up the Irish cushion to 3-0. Saganowich kept the momentum rolling, driving the 11th pitch of her at-bat against Schmeiser into center, bringing Africano home from third base (4-0).
Winter sat down the next seven Maryland batters, culminating by flying Jessica Warner out to a diving Stuhr in right field for the third out of the top of the fourth inning.
Arizmendi connected for her team-high 13th home run of the season, blasting the first pitch she saw from Schmeiser with two outs in the bottom of the fourth over the wall in left center field, scoring Haus from first to extend the Notre Dame cushion to 6-0.
Bustillos got the Terrapins on the board in the top of the fifth inning with a two-out double off the wall in right center to score Erin Pronobis from third base, pulling Maryland within five runs at 6-1. Winter then froze Kylie Datil looking on a 0-2 pitch, stranding Bustillos at second base with an inning-ending K.
The Irish added a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Koerner and Haus contributed consecutive RBI doubles to make it 8-1 Notre Dame. A walk drawn by Arizmendi against Madison Martin loaded the bases, and Whidden ended the game with an RBI single down the left field line two batters later, plating Koerner for the game-winning run.