The University of Notre Dame softball team claimed the edge in the hit column but was unable to sustain the offensive momentum, falling 3-1 to Marshall Saturday in the first elimination game of the Lexington Regional of the NCAA Championship.
Laura Winter made Notre Dame history in the bottom of the first inning, striking out Marshall’s Jazmine Valle swinging for her 300th strikeout of the season. Winter, with 306 strikeouts in 2013, joined Terri Kobata (1994, 315) and Steffany Stenglein (2005, 310) as the third Irish member of the 300 K club.
Marshall (36-21) scored its first run of the contest in the bottom of the second inning on a Savanah Webster solo home run to right field (1-0). The Thundering Herd tacked on a second run on a Notre Dame throwing error later in the inning, pushing the advantage to 2-0.
Kelsey Thornton legged out her second infield single of the game off starter Andi Williamson (33-17) in the top of the third, ultimately moving to second on an Amy Buntin base hit. After Winter flew out to deep right field, an errant throw by Webster allowed Thornton to score to bring the Irish (43-15) within one run at 2-1.
Marshall picked up an insurance run on a two-out triple to left field by Alexandra Bayne, scoring Ashley Gue from third base (3-1). Winter (29-12) punched out Webster looking to end the frame.
Notre Dame made one last run in the top of the seventh inning. Lauren Stuhr knocked a leadoff single to center field before Jackie Bowe followed with a base hit to right two batters later. Williamson held, retiring the final two Irish hitters of the frame to nail down the victory for the Thundering Herd.