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ND Softball: Irish put win streak to test against Spartans

Megan Finneran | Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Irish enter tonight’s home game with a surge of confidence following a weekend sweep of DePaul and Melissa Cook Stadium’s first no-hitter by sophomore pitcher Laura Winter. Tonight, they carry that confidence into a matchup with Michigan State.

Winter’s performance against the Blue Demons was just what the Irish (26-13,8-3 Big East) needed to rebound after a pair of home losses to conference foe Syracuse last weekend, junior catcher Amy Buntin said.

“The high energy and momentum Laura brought to the mound over the weekend is exactly what our team needs from her for the rest of the season,” Buntin said. “It was easy to see that she was in the zone and no hitter was going to beat her.”

Now, riding a five-game winning streak, the Irish step forward ready to face the Spartans (11-33, 0-15 Big Ten).

“Laura having this kind of attitude is very contagious throughout the team and helps pump us up as well,” Buntin said. “We have a lot of confidence rolling into today’s game with Laura throwing a no-hitter and the way we swung bats against DePaul.”

Batting performances from Buntin and senior outfielder Alexa Maldonado continue to lead the Notre Dame lineup with batting averages of .359 and .325, respectively, getting on base regularly to help the team gather runs.

While the Irish have excelled on the offensive side, the Spartans have struggled. In its five most recent games, Notre Dame has tallied 21 runs, while Michigan State has only managed two. In the last 18 games, the Spartans have a single win, dating back to April 4 when they beat Central Michigan 6-1. They currently carry a 10-game losing streak, and the Irish are hoping to push that number to eleven, Buntin said.

“The main focus for us against Michigan State will be to keep the same high energy, both on the field and in the dugout, because defensively and offensively we’re a solid team right now,” Buntin said.

Looking for their sixth straight win, the Irish will host the Spartans tonight with the first pitch at 6 p.m. in Melissa Cook Stadium.

 

Contact Megan Finneran at mfinnera@nd.edu