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ND Women’s Softball: Pitcher baffles Spartan offense

Megan Finneran | Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Irish made quick work of Michigan State with a 2-0 win Tuesday at Secchia Stadium in East Lansing, Mich.

Junior pitcher Laura Winter (19-8) faced 24 batters and allowed only three hits with no walks to maintain the shutout.

“Defensively, we always focus on our basic fundamentals and attacking plays,” senior pitcher Brittany O’Donnell said. “When we do that, everything will fall into place.”

Notre Dame (30-10) is now 7-1 against Michigan State all-time. The away win increased the squad’s winning streak to four, following a three-game sweep against Rutgers over the weekend at Notre Dame.

“Being on the road helped continue our momentum as we continue our season,” O’Donnell said.

Junior pitcher Kelly Smith (16-10) took the mound for the Spartans and allowed seven hits and both runs in 5.2 innings.

Irish sophomore second baseman Jenna Simon and senior right fielder Kelsey Thornton each contributed a hit in the first, but three straight outs stranded them to end the inning. Senior catcher Amy Buntin added another hit in the second but failed to advance.

Sophomore center fielder Emilee Koerner, who holds the highest batting average in the Big East, scored the first run of the game with a solo home run to right field in the top of the third inning.

Sophomore catcher Cassidy Whidden’s RBI in the sixth inning scored Thornton, which increased Notre Dame’s lead to 2-0. The Irish loaded the bases with two outs but did not convert any more runs.

The rest of the game passed quickly as the Irish held on to win.

“Offensively, we chipped away to find a way to put runs on the board, which is always successful,” O’Donnell said.

Notre Dame will next face its in-state opponent, Valparaiso, at home Thursday at 5 p.m.

Contact Megan Finneran at mfinnera@nd.edu