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ND Softball: Surging squad readies for battle with Wildcats

Megan Finneran | Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Irish travel to Evanston, Ill., to face non-conference opponent Northwestern today.

In its last 13 games, Notre Dame (26-9, 7-1 Big East) has only lost two games and allowed 26 runs. Most recently, the Irish won a three-game series against Villanova last weekend, sandwiching two wins around a 1-0 loss in the second game.

“We recognized the loss, learned from it and now we are ready to move forward with the rest of the Big East,” senior catcher Amy Buntin said.

Beyond these achievements, the Irish also have gathered nine Big East Conference Softball Weekly Honor Roll awards between four members of the squad. Sophomore second baseman Jenna Simon earned the award Monday, marking the second time she won it this season.

Notre Dame will continue to look for Simon and other key players to contribute in the batting lineup, including junior left fielder Lauren Stuhr, junior shortstop Chloe Saganowich and sophomore center fielder Emilee Koerner.

“The main focus of this game will be playing like Notre Dame softball should play and dominating offensively and defensively,” Buntin said.

Northwestern (19-14, 5-3 Big Ten) enters tonight, following a three-game sweep of Illinois. The Wildcats have sought leadership from sophomore starting pitcher Amy Letourneau on the defensive end. Letourneau has a 1.66 ERA this season.

During the sweep, the Wildcats held the Illini to five hits and one run, while they scored 23 runs and hit six home runs. Northwestern will bring a new challenge to the Irish defense, forcing junior Laura Winter and senior Brittany O’Donnell to continue shining in the pitching circle.

“We haven’t done anything special to prepare for Northwestern,” Buntin said. “We’ve just been focusing on playing Notre Dame softball.”

The squads will face off at 5 p.m. at Sharon J. Drysdale Field in Evanston.

Contact Megan Finneran at mfinnera@nd.edu