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Softball: Irish lose in final inning

By Megan Finneran | Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Irish fell 5-4 to Green Bay on Thursday after the Phoenix exploded for four runs in the seventh inning.

Notre Dame (22-8, 3-0 Big East) travels to Washington, D.C., to face the Hoyas (13-20, 3-0) today in a doubleheader featuring the only schools still undefeated in Big East play. In addition to playing for first place in their conference, the Irish also have the opportunity to earn the thousandth win in program history.

Notre Dame entered the game against Green Bay (7-14, 1-2 Horizon League) following seven wins during back-to-back sweeps in California and New Jersey. The Irish took the lead in the bottom of the second inning when senior infielder Kathryn Lux hit a ball into center field to score freshman infielder Carly Piccinich. Junior infielder Chloe Saganowich then singled to send junior outfielder Lauren Stuhr home for the 2-0 lead. Freshman outfielder Megan Sorlie’s sacrifice fly ball gave Notre Dame a 3-0 lead to close out the inning.

The Phoenix scored one run in the top of the third, but a dive by Lux stopped the momentum and ended the inning with a double play.

Junior pitcher Laura Winter soared through the next three innings, stringing nine straight outs. A run by Lux in the sixth stretched the lead to 4-0 for the Irish.

But in the final inning, Green Bay scored four runs to take a 5-4 lead. Notre Dame was unable to counter in the bottom half of the seventh and dropped its first game since March 14.

In today’s games, the Irish will look to continue their success against the Hoyas. Notre Dame holds a 4-0 all-time record against Georgetown. Senior catcher Amy Buntin said the Irish will also look to continue their recent offensive success.

“Our team has settled into a good rhythm now at the plate and our bats have become more consistent,” she said. “We’ve continued to work on our fundamentals and not overthinking too much in the batter’s box.”

The Hoyas are coming off a program-record, eight-game winning streak and most recently beat George Mason 5-2 on March 27 and Towson 3-2 on March 28.

With this in mind, the Irish have plenty of motivation to come out of the series with a win. Despite the excitement, Notre Dame is still focusing on the basics.

“We have been working on game-like situations in practice, both offensively and defensively. The more we practice at game speed, the better we have become,” Lux said.

The Irish and the Hoyas will square off today at noon and again at 2 p.m. at Guy Mason Field in Washington, D.C.

Contact Megan Finneran at mfinnera@nd.edu