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ND Softball: Irish enter weekend with winning streak

Ernst Cleofe | Friday, March 30, 2012

Notre Dame is looking to continue its three-game win streak in its three-game homestand against Connecticut this weekend.

The Irish (14-10) are coming off a packed schedule, with three games over the course of the week before this important weekend for early-season positioning in the conference standings. On Tuesday, junior catcher Amy Buntin hit a walk-off homerun to give the Irish a 5-3 win against Western Michigan. The next day, the team swept Toledo in a doubleheader at home.

The win streak should give the team momentum heading into their Big East schedule, including this weekend’s matchup against the Huskies (13-11, 3-0 Big East). Starting off well in the Big East will be a big boost for the team after a rough beginning to the season.

“We had a rough start to the season, so hopefully these three wins will help us get off to a good start to win the Big East,” senior outfielder Alexa Maldonado said. “If we can keep up the momentum, it will definitely help us make through the Big East all the way to hopefully winning a championship game.”

The road to the Big East tournament starts with the team making a big run through its conference schedule. Notre Dame will look to get that path started with a start against a weaker opponent in Connecticut.

“I think they’re a lot like Georgetown, the games we had postponed earlier in the year,” Maldonado said. “They’re a pretty mediocre team, but they’re scrappy and have a few good power hitters.”

One of the bigger challenges will be the adjustments between games throughout the weekend, but the Irish will look to set the tone with a win in their first game.

“We’ll see their number one pitcher in the first game,” Maldonado said. “So, if we can get a win against her, then the rest should be routine.”

The key for the Irish will be to set the pace for the game and play their brand of softball, Maldonado said.

“We just need to be consistent and play the like any other team,” she said. “If we can play Notre Dame softball and play errorless and consistent, then we should win the games.”

Notre Dame will face off with the Huskies at home on Saturday in a doubleheader starting at 12 p.m. The final game of the series will be Sunday at 11 a.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Contact Ernst Cleofe at ecleofe@nd.edu