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ND Softball: Offense carries team to weekend sweep

Katie Heit | Monday, March 25, 2013

 

In their opening weekend of Big East play, the Irish swept Seton Hall by large margins across the board and extended their winning streak to seven. 

The weekend began with a doubleheader Saturday. In the first game, the Irish (22-7, 3-0 Big East) pulled ahead early. Sophomore outfielder Emilee Koerner hit a double to start the action for the Irish and scored off of a sacrifice fly from senior catcher Amy Buntin. Another double hit by junior pitcher Laura Winter brought the score to 2-0 before the first inning was over. 

“The top of our lineup really stepped up and performed this weekend,” senior outfielder Kelsey Thornton said. “Emilee Koerner had an amazing weekend. On top of that our pitching staff was able to completely shut down their hitters.” 

Notre Dame pulled ahead to 4-0 in the top of the third. In the top of the fourth, Buntin hit an RBI single, sending Koerner home. Winter followed with a double, sending two more of her teammates to the plate and bringing the score to 7-0. 

The Irish brought the lead to 10-0 before the Pirates (10-14, 0-3) were able to respond. In the bottom of the fifth, Seton Hall scored off of a solo homer and an RBI single, bringing the final score to 10-2. 

In their second game of the day, the Irish took another early lead. At the end of the first inning, the Irish led 4-0. In the top of the second, Buntin hit an RBI single and Winter hit a three-run homerun to bring the score to 8-0 at the end of the second inning. 

The progress of the second game mirrored the first game’s action. At the top of the fourth, the Irish lead 10-0. The Pirates responded with a solo home run to bring the final score to 10-1. 

Sunday, the Irish proved they retained their momentum from the previous day’s successes when Koerner hit a home run on the first pitch of the game and kicked off a strong first inning that saw the Irish pull ahead, 4-0, by its conclusion. In the top of the second, Koerner smacked another ball over the fence, bringing the score to 5-0. 

The Pirates responded in the bottom of the second with a two-run home run, but the Irish never gave them another chance to score and the game ended with a 10-2 advantage. 

Despite the long weekend, Thornton said the team’s overall goals for their Big East conference schedule kept them motivated in every game. 

“One of our team goals is to win every game in our Big East schedule,” Thornton said. “We had a great start to that goal this weekend and I think we were able to send a message to the rest of the Big East. I think they know that we are here to win this conference.” 

The Irish next get the chance to prove their dominance Thursday when they take on Western Michigan at 4:30. 

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu