May 10, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Laura Winter threw her third straight complete-game shutout to guide second-seeded Notre Dame to a 5-0 win over seventh-seeded Rutgers in the first round of the BIG EAST Conference Softball Championship Thursday at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Winter (26-8) fanned 11 and allowed a pair of hits while extending her streak of innings in the circle without allowing an earned run to 26.2.
Notre Dame (37-13) advances to the semifinals of the BIG EAST showdown on the heels of its 16th straight win and will face sixth-seeded St. John's at 6:30 p.m. (ET) Friday. Live coverage will be available at UND.com.
Winter received a pair of runs from the Irish offense fresh out of the gate. Alexa Maldonado scored the first of her two tallies on the day when Dani Miller's would-be home run was snagged in center by Lindsey Curran. The sacrifice fly came prior to Emilee Koerner's bunt single to bring home Amy Buntin, giving the Irish a 2-0 lead.
Maldonado walked to start the third after fouling off six straight pitches against a 3-2 count and scored on Buntin's RBI double to center. Koerner's second hit was good for four bases with a two-run dinger to right.
Rutgers (26-28) did not see a runner reach base until the top of the fourth when Loren Williams doubled to right-center. Winter plunked Jennifer Harabedian to put two Scarlet Knights on the pond but got enough help from the Irish defense to escape from the jam without allowing a run.
Winter tacked on her 10th strikeout in the sixth and allowed a double to Chandler Howard, the second of Rutgers' only hits in the contest.
Notre Dame finished with six hits off of Alyssa Landrith (18-12), who gave up five earned runs and struck out a pair.
Koerner led all players with three RBI.