May 3, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The theme of the season for the University of Notre Dame softball team has been offense, and Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) doubleheader was no different. The Irish scored a total of 25 runs on 28 hits in two games against the Eagles, earning a 12-4 win in six innings and a 13-8 triumph in the nightcap on a sunny day at Melissa Cook Stadium.
No. 22 Notre Dame (36-10, 15-5 ACC) pushed its current winning streak to six straight games, and the Irish have added victories in 11 of the last 13 games. Notre Dame also secured the second seed in the ACC Championship, which will be held May 8-10 at the Maryland Softball Stadium in College Park, Md.
"I am super happy with the way the offense played," Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf said. "They made one bad inning for us seem not so bad."
Junior All-American Emilee Koerner exploded in the third spot of the Irish lineup, batting .833 (5-for-6) with a double, a home run, two walks drawn, five RBI and five runs scored during the twin bill against Boston College (30-21, 12-13 ACC). Koerner has eight hits in her last nine official at-bats against the Eagles, with two home runs and 10 RBI, dating back to March 2, 2013 at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic.
Koerner also set a Notre Dame single-season record with her 22nd double of the year during game one, breaking her 2013 mark of 21 doubles for an individual campaign. Koerner and Katie Laing ('08) are now tied atop the Irish career standings with 55 doubles.
Senior Laura Winter (24-4) earned the game one win, and added two home runs and a team-high seven RBI on Saturday. Winter threw six solid innings in a run-rule victory to open the day, walking one Boston College batter while striking out eight.
"Laura really saw the ball well today, and she has compacted her swing a bit," Gumpf said. "She looks really good right now and I like where she is at. We needed her to come up big."
Senior captain Chloe Saganowich also homered twice for Notre Dame, while senior Lauren Stuhr and junior Cassidy Whidden each added a home run. Sophomore Micaela Arizmendi chipped in a double and four RBI during the doubleheader, while junior Jenna Simon scored four runs and classmate Katey Haus added three hits and three runs scored.
"(Going into Sunday's series finale) we need to control their hitters," Gumpf said. "I thought we did a great job in all but one inning we played. And we need to continue what we're doing offensively, I thought we had great at-bats. We are hitting the ball and making things happen, we are aggressive on the bases. That is what we mainly need to focus on."
Game One - #22 Notre Dame 12, Boston College 4 (6)
The Irish posted a 1-2-3 top of the first inning against the Boston College lineup, as Laura Winter forced Megan Cooley to fly out to center, struck out Nicole D'Argento looking and popped Jessie Daulton out to shortstop to end the Eagles half.
Freshman Karley Wester opened the Notre Dame bottom of the first with an infield single, but D'Argento (18-13) picked up a pair of quick outs to erase the runner on base. Emilee Koerner worked a five-pitch walk with two outs, and Katey Haus added a free pass to give the Irish two runners on the base paths. D'Argento forced a ground out to strand both runners.
Boston College picked up its first hit of the game on a Cooley two-out single in the top of the third inning. Cooley stole second base to move into scoring position, but Winter froze D'Argento looking to end the frame.
Wester opened the bottom of the third with a hard hit into a stiff wind in left center, racing into third with a one-out triple. Jenna Simon followed with an RBI base knock into left field, scoring Wester to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. Singles from Koerner and Haus loaded the bases for the Irish with one out. A wild pitch got out of the reach of the Eagle catcher Tory Speer, scoring Simon from third to extend the Notre Dame cushion to 2-0. Micaela Arizmendi flared a sacrifice fly into left field, and a nice play from Boston College's Annie Sommers prevented a base hit, scoring Koerner from third base (3-0).
Boston College broke through in the top of the fourth inning, as Tatiana Cortez grooved a two-out double into the gap in right center field, scoring two to bring the Eagles within one run at 3-2. Winter forced a Taylor Coroneos foul out to third base to end the frame.
Notre Dame tacked on an insurance run in the fourth, as Simon followed a Cassidy Whidden walk and a Wester single with an RBI base hit, upping the Irish lead to 4-2. Wester tried to take an aggressive turn for third base, and was thrown out on the play.
Winter made a nifty grab on a lineout back to the circle with one out in the top of the fifth inning, doubling off Cooley at first base to thwart the Boston College offensive.
Koerner set a new single-season doubles record with her 22nd two-bagger of the season off the right field wall to lead off the bottom of the fifth. A perfect sacrifice bunt from Simon and an RBI double to the right field gap by Arizmendi off reliever Jordan Weed scored Koerner from third base, vaulting Notre Dame in front 5-2. Whidden drilled the third Irish double of the inning two batters later, bringing in Arizmendi from second base (6-2).
A pair of sacrifice flies brought two Eagle runners across in the top of the sixth inning, clawing Boston College back within two runs at 6-4. A ground out to third base by Cortez got Winter out of the frame without further damage.
Lauren Stuhr blasted the second pitch she saw in the bottom of the sixth inning, drilling a no doubt shot over the fence in straightaway center. The Irish right fielder's first home run of the season put Notre Dame in front 7-4. Koerner crushed a two-run home run later in the inning, clearing the fence in right center field to chase Weed from the contest (9-4).
Winter took her first at-bat of the day in the sixth inning with two runners on against the reliever Coroneos, and ended the game with a walk-off, three-run home run over the right field wall, capping the six-run Notre Dame bottom of the sixth inning and game one at 12-4.
Game Two - #22 Notre Dame 13, Boston College 8
Starter Allie Rhodes motored through the Eagles order in the top of the first inning of the nightcap, striking out Megan Cooley swinging before forcing consecutive ground ball outs from Nicole D'Argento and Jessie Daulton to shut out Boston College.
A leadoff walk for Karley Wester and an infield single from Jenna Simon got Notre Dame started against Jordan Weed (11-8) in the bottom of the first inning. Weed threw the ball away at first trying to retire Simon, allowing both runners to move into scoring position. Emilee Koerner sliced a two-run single up the middle, plating both runs to give the Irish a 2-0 lead.
Micaela Arizmendi kept the flurry going after Katey Haus drew a walk, chopping an RBI single up the middle to bring Koerner around from second base (3-0). Laura Winter then deposited her second home run of the doubleheader over the wall in center field, clearing the bags and pushing the Irish lead to 6-0. Chloe Saganowich then rocked a pitch from Boston College reliever Taylor Coroneos, drilling a solo home run out to left field to make it 7-0 Irish.
An RBI fielder's choice ground out from Alana DiMaso to shortstop scored Tory Speer from third base, bringing Boston College within six runs at 7-1. Rhodes bounced back with three straight outs, including two on ground balls, to end the top half of the second inning.
Notre Dame added to the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning. RBI singles from Koerner and Arizmendi pushed the Irish cushion to 9-1, Winter followed with a third RBI base knock for Notre Dame, scoring Haus to make it 10-1. An RBI ground out for Lauren Stuhr scored Winter later in the frame (11-1).
Speer crushed a sharp single through the left side for Boston College in the top of the third, plating one run to make it 11-2. A fielding error by Notre Dame allowed another Boston College run to come across later in the inning, closing the gap to 11-3. The Eagles followed with an RBI double with one out, trimming the Irish lead to 11-5. Boston College would add three more runs in the inning to make it 11-8 Irish after the top of the third.
Freshman Rachel Nasland (6-1) withstood a charge from the Eagles in the top of the fourth inning, grounding out her counterpart Coroneos to shut out Boston College in the half inning.
Notre Dame kept the offensive barrage going in the bottom of the fourth inning, as solo home runs from Whidden and Saganowich back-to-back put Notre Dame back in front by five runs (13-8).
Nasland posted a second straight scoreless frame, retiring Boston College in order in the top of the fifth inning, earning a strikeout and a pair of fly ball outs to end the inning. The Eagles could manage only a single in the top of the sixth, as Nasland blanked Boston College for the third consecutive inning.
-- Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant