April 23, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame junior Laura Winter has been selected as the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced Tuesday.
The national award was the third accolade Winter received in recognition of her performance last weekend at Pittsburgh. The Irish pitcher/infielder was named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week and College Sports Madness BIG EAST Softball Player of the Week on Monday.
Winter is the first Notre Dame student-athlete to win the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week honor in the award's 11-year history.
"It's truly an honor to represent Notre Dame as the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week," Winter said. "I can't thank my teammates enough for all of their support behind me in the field, they always have my back."
Winter (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo) posted a 3-0 record with three complete games (two shutouts) last week against Michigan State and Pittsburgh. The Notre Dame ace allowed one run (0.33 ERA) on eight hits in 21 innings, walking two and striking out 35 batters (.113 batting average against).
"Laura has completely changed her game this season," Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf said. "She has found the offense that we always knew was in her. She's got confidence at the plate and thinks she can hit any pitch. Right now, she's a weapon offensively and defensively and she earned it, she had a great week."
The junior right-hander opened the week with a shutout at Michigan State April 16, allowing three hits and surrendering no walks to Spartan hitters, striking out eight. Winter kept the momentum going in game one of a BIG EAST doubleheader at Pittsburgh Saturday, allowing one run on four hits with 13 strikeouts on 120 pitches.
After playing first base in game two Saturday, the 6-1 hurler went the distance against the Panthers Sunday, taking a perfect game into the final inning. Winter allowed a lone single with one out in the seventh, no walks and tied a season-high with 14 strikeouts, including six consecutive in the second and third innings.
Winter was also a force in the batter's box during Notre Dame's undefeated week, batting a team-high .417 (5-for-12) with three home runs, eight RBI, a 1.667 slugging percentage, a .533 on-base percentage and four runs scored. She had her second career multi-homer game against Pittsburgh in game two Saturday, leaving the yard in the second and sixth innings of Notre Dame's 10-2 win in six frames.
Winter added a pair of RBI hits Sunday, including a crucial three-run blast in the top of the first inning that provided the winning runs behind her near perfect game, and ranks second in the BIG EAST Conference with 12 big flies this season.