May 6, 2012
PITTSBURGH - Laura Winter tossed her second straight solo shutout and Chloe Saganowich belted her first career home run as the Notre Dame softball team ended the regular season with a 4-0 win over Pittsburgh Sunday at Vartabedian Field.
Following the three-game sweep of the Panthers (26-26 overall, 8-14 BIG EAST), Notre Dame (36-13, 16-3) now looks forward to playing host to the 2012 BIG EAST Championship held May 10-12 at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish will be the No. 2 seed in the eight-team showdown. The tournament's complete bracket will be released Sunday evening at BIGEAST.org.
Paired with 12 strikeouts, the solo shutout was the eighth of Winter's (25-8) career as the righty extended her winning streak from the circle to 11 games in as many decisions.
With its 15th consecutive win, Notre Dame is riding its longest winning streak since posting 19 straight victories midway through the 2005 campaign.
In the second inning, Alexa Maldonado drew a walk and Kelsey Thornton smacked an infield single to put two on base for Amy Buntin. Buntin grounded up the middle to buy enough time for Maldonado to score from second, giving Notre Dame a 1-0 advantage. Dani Miller singled home Buntin to double the lead.
Chloe Saganowich slammed her first career home run in the fourth, a two-run shot to dead center that gave the Irish a 4-0 cushion. The home run was the fourth for the Irish in the three-game series.
Notre Dame has now hit 56 home runs on the season, the third-most in the program's 24-year history.
Winter did not allow a hit until Maggie Sevilla doubled in the fourth inning. The Panthers also shelved a pair of singles in the seventh.
Kasey O'Connor, Miller, Thornton and Saganowich each had two hits for Notre Dame.
Savannah King (19-16) shouldered the loss for Pittsburgh and gave up nine hits to the Irish.