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ND Softball: Team loses two of three to Orange over weekend

Katie Heit | Monday, April 16, 2012

Despite losing two of their three games against Syracuse, the Irish had a successful weekend, raising over $10,000 for South Bend Memorial Hospital in their Strikeout Cancer doubleheader Saturday.

The weekend began with a trivia night Friday. Over 250 people showed up to support the team and the cause as part of the second-annual Strikeout Cancer weekend, with the proceeds dedicated to help leukemia patients at Memorial Hospital.

Two such patients threw out the first pitch in Saturday’s first game, which the Irish (21-13, 5-3 Big East) won 4-3. Other festivities at the Saturday’s games included a dunk tank, balloon animals and Strike Out Cancer t-shirts. To round out the event, the Irish hosted a homerun derby directly following the doubleheader.

Along with fundraising for charity, Saturday’s win gave the Irish an eight-game home-winning streak. Freshman outfielder Emilee Koerner’s two-RBI double in the bottom of the first was a defining play for the Irish, but much of the victory was a result of No. 25 Syracuse’s (30-10, 7-2) three errors and the four wild pitches.

Koerner had three hits in four at-bats in the second half of the doubleheader, but was the lone highlight of the contest, which the Irish lost 8-2. The Orange outhit the Irish 9-6, and used success at the plate to score two runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

The rubber match took place on Sunday, when the Irish fell in an extra-inning heartbreaker, 3-2. Two solo homeruns from the Orange in the final two innings secured the Syracuse win, but the Irish held their ground for most of the game.

Sophomore pitcher Laura Winter shut out the fourth and fifth innings, and senior infielder Dani Miller’s sacrifice bunt helped score junior catcher Amy Buntin, securing the second run of the game for the Irish.

Miller said despite the losses, she was impressed by Notre Dame’s strong defensive play.

“I felt like our defense was really solid,” Miller said. “We made some really great plays.”

As they head into their next game against Valparaiso on Wednesday, Miller said the Irish cannot afford to focus on changing any part of their game. Instead, Miller said the key to the team’s success depends upon whether they players play to their fullest ability.

“We don’t have many more opportunities to play the way we know we should and we can,” Miller said. “We don’t have to work on very much, it’s just about stepping up and being the player we know we can be, and that we know that you are.”

The Irish will hit the field again on Wednesday at home against Valparaiso. First pitch from Melissa Cook Stadium will be at 5 p.m.

Contact Katie Heit at [email protected]