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ND Softball: Irish set to battle Eagles

Megan Finneran | Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tonight the Irish return home after a weekend series to host Eastern Michigan in Melissa Cook Stadium.

Notre Dame (37-11, 17-2 Big East) stands tied at the top of the Big East conference standings entering the game.

“Our hope for the Eastern Michigan game is to prepare for Louisville this weekend,” senior catcher Amy Buntin said. “We are hoping to use these live at bats and defensive situations as practice to get us ready for the big games this weekend.”

Eastern Michigan (15-29-1, 5-12 MAC) comes into the midweek showdown riding a three-game winning streak, as it earned wins over Miami and Ball State last week. Despite this momentum, the Eagles will have to overcome their struggles away from Ypsilanti, as they have only gathered one win on the road this season while taking 13 losses. The Irish will look to capitalize on Eastern Michigan’s troubles when away from home and attempt to drive the number to 14.

Last weekend, senior pitcher Jenna Ignowski led the Eagles with her five strikeouts. Defensively, the squad has given up 10 runs in its last three wins, in comparison to its 18 scored.

Notre Dame is looking to rebound after suffering its first loss in 12 games to DePaul in the final game of a three-game series over the weekend. Tonight, the squad will have the opportunity to show its ability to bounce back and leave the loss in the past.

“After losing to DePaul, we need to realize that we can control the outcome of each game,” Buntin said. “We beat ourselves in the DePaul game. If we play every inning focused and work to produce runs with runners on base, we will be an unstoppable team.”

Notre Dame already has momentum to move past the loss entering tonight’s game. Junior pitcher Laura Winter, who has acted as a defensive leader throughout the season on the mound, received her first Big East Player of the Week honor Monday. That marked Winter’s fourth award win the past two weeks.

Offensively, the Irish will continue to look deep into their roster and rely on all members of the lineup to bring runners home and put numbers on the scoreboard.

With only five games left before the Big East Championship begins, the Irish know every inning counts.

“As we get closer to Big East, we need to focus on one game at a time,” Buntin said. “No rushing or looking ahead to what could happen, just one game at a time.”

Play between the Irish and the Eagles will begin at 5 p.m. today in Melissa Cook Stadium.

Contact Megan Finneran at [email protected]