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ND Softball: Miller deals Purdue first home loss

Katie Heit | Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Senior infielder Dani Miller led the Irish to a sound win over Purdue on Thursday, ending the Boilermakers’ seven-game home winning streak.

Miller went 3-for-3 on Thursday, grabbing a home run, two RBIs and scoring two runs herself in Notre Dame’s (19-10) 8-6 victory. Despite the success, Miller said she is reluctant to take too much credit for the win.

“It was a really good day for everyone overall,” Miller said. “I think that we just wouldn’t give up, and that’s why we won. Our game plan was to win every inning and we pretty much did that.”

Junior pitcher Brittany O’Donnell said that the win, which was the first home loss for Purdue (23-10) this season, was primarily a team effort.

“As a team we just go out and play hard every inning every game,” O’Donnell said. “It’s a great feeling when our hard work pays off with a win.”

During Thursday’s game, eight of the nine Irish players grabbed a hit. Sophomore pitcher Laura Winter pitched the first four innings before O’Donnell relieved her, striking out five Boilermakers in 2.2 innings.

Next, the Irish will play two games against Big East opponent Rutgers (14-18). O’Donnell said Notre Dame is stressing focus in the games to come.

“We just have to stay focused and sharp offensively and defensively,” O’Donnell said, “especially after coming off a weekend with no games.”

O’Donnell said Rutgers will be a challenge for the streaking Irish, who have won their last eight games by two runs or more.

“They come out hard every time we play them,” O’Donnell said. “Right now Rutgers is a hot team and we can’t take them lightly.

Miller said she isn’t relying on any specific player to step up and outperform the rest. Instead, she said the reason the Irish have been successful lately is due to the strong team atmosphere.

“We all have been playing consistently well and taking turns coming up to clutch,” Miller said. “It’s great because if one of us is struggling, I know someone else is going to step up and help.”

The Irish face Rutgers in a doubleheader Wednesday at 12 p.m.

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu