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ND Softball: Ganeff sees potential for postseason success

Katie Heit | Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Irish bounced back from a rough weekend against Syracuse with a 6-3 win over Valparaiso on Wednesday.

Notre Dame (22-13, 5-3 Big East) was out of the gate fast, scoring all six of its runs in the first two innings. Freshman infielder Katey Haus got the ball rolling with the first of eight Notre Dame hits with two outs in the bottom of the first. Freshman outfielder Emilee Koerner and junior catcher Amy Buntin also had hits and gave the Irish a 2-0 lead. Valparaiso (28-11, 12-0 Horizon) was unable to respond in the second inning.

Buntin had the highlight of the game, blasting a three-run homerun in the bottom of the second inning that brought the Irish lead to 6-0.

Irish assistant coach Kris Ganeff said the early offensive success was key to the victory.

“We actually played a really good game,” Ganeff said. “Defensively we were solid and offensively we came out with a bang. We outpitched them, we outhit them, overall we did a really good job.”

The Irish win marked the end of an 11-game winning streak for the Crusaders, who have made a name for themselves this season with their stellar hitting.

“They are a fabulous hitting team,” Ganeff said. “They have a player up for [Horizon League] player of the year. She didn’t get a single hit off of us, which I thought was incredible.”

Two solo homeruns and a double helped the Crusaders bridge the gap to 6-3, but the Irish held their ground and snatched the win.

Ganeff said the win was just what the Irish needed to head into the remainder of their season with confidence.

“We needed to come back from the losses against Syracuse,” Ganeff said. “We learned a lot from those losses. We evaluated where we were at and were able to fine-tune a few things in practice. It really helped the girls to realize that it’s not too late for them to make a name for themselves. There’s always another chance to come out and compete.”

The Irish will have another chance to prove themselves Thursday at home against Cleveland State (13-30, 5-7 Horizon). Despite a few key injuries for the Vikings, Ganeff said Notre Dame knows it should not underestimate them.

“You can’t ever count them out,” Ganeff said. “Traditionally they’ve been a strong regional competition. They’ve taken some knocks, but they’re going to fight for the win, and we have to come at them offensively right out of the gate.”

The Irish will continue their homestand against Cleveland State on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium.

 

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu