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ND Softball: Irish lose first conference game

Laura Coletti | Monday, April 8, 2013

The Irish won their series against Villanova this weekend, but suffered their first conference loss of this season Saturday.
After junior Laura Winter,  senior Brittany O’Donnell freshman Allie Rhodes combined pitching efforts for a 4-1 win in the weekend opener, Winter took the circle once again in the second game but found herself on the wrong end of a pitcher’s duel as Notre Dame (26-9, 7-1 Big East) fell to the Wildcats (13-19, 1-8 Big East) by a score of 1-0.
“The biggest takeaway from this weekend is that we need to continue to get better each and every day,” senior catcher and captain Amy Buntin said. “Every game we need to take one inning, one out, and one pitch at a time. Just showing up at this point in the season won’t be good enough to take us where we want to go.”
Winter took the circle once again on Sunday aided by run production by sophomore catcher Cassidy Whidden, who broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the second inning with a home run to put the Irish up 1-0. Whidden scored three runs on the day en route to a 9-3 Notre Dame victory.
“On Sunday we did a great job of fighting, and we played with a spark,” Buntin said. “Whidden’s home run today gave us the momentum we needed for the rest of the game. She did a great job coming in and leading us that inning.”
Buntin said the team was disappointed to drop the second game Saturday and attributed the loss to poor offensive production.
“Villanova kept us off balance at the plate and forced us into easy outs,” she said. “Simply put, our offense did not produce or execute when needed.”
In spite of losing a conference game for the first time this season, the squad remains undeterred as they move forward. Buntin said the team takes every game – win or loss – as a learning experience and expects to improve each time.
“Going into each weekend, we expect that if we play Notre Dame softball we should dominate any Big East opponent we face,” Buntin said. “Unfortunately we let one slip this weekend to Villanova, not a strong team, but we learned from the loss and won’t let another slip.”
The Irish will travel to Evanston, Ill. next Tuesday to take on Northwestern at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Contact Laura Coletti at [email protected]