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ND Softball

Irish host EMU after off week

| Tuesday, March 25, 2014

After battling poor weather conditions that cancelled their series against Pittsburgh over the weekend, the Irish are eager to hit the field again as they take on Eastern Michigan at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Conor Kelly | The Observer

“The biggest challenge is we haven’t played a game in a week,” senior pitcher Laura Winter said. “Keeping the energy up during practice is tough. Once you start games it’s tough to go so long without them.”

With their three-game series against Pittsburgh cancelled, Notre Dame’s [19-7, 3-3 ACC] matchup with Eastern Michigan (8-16) will be it’s first game of the spring in Melissa Cook Stadium. Though the Irish have managed to get some outdoor practice in, Winter said struggling through constant weather delays takes its toll.

“Getting back into the groove on game day will be key,” Winter said. “We have been able to be on the field adjusting to the weather, so we are thankful for that. Finding our rhythm quickly will be important.”

The Eagles enter the matchup having recently split a series with Youngstown State, taking the second of two games 6-3.  The Irish will need to look out for freshman pitcher Alyssa Huntley, who was named Mid-American Conference West Pitcher of the Week after the matchups with Youngstown. In the second contest, Huntley pitched six full innings and recorded three strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Winter has led the charge for the Irish pitching staff this season, earning ACC Player of the Week honors after pitching all 13 innings against Florida International on March 13.

Senior captain Chloe Saganowich enters the contest on a seven-game hitting streak, hitting .333 over the stretch.

The Irish enter the matchup off a win over Virginia Tech on March 16 that snapped a three-game losing streak.  After dropping the first two games of their series against the Hokies (16-14, 5-6 ACC), the Irish bounced back in the final game and knocked out fifteen hits — more than the first two games put together.

Winter said the Irish would be relying on every player to step up and lead against Eastern Michigan.

“Every day, someone finds a way to step up and rally,” Winter said. “Using that energy to keep the flow going will help us tremendously.”

The Irish hit the field Wednesday at 4 p.m. for their home opener against Eastern Michigan at Melissa Cook Stadium.

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