ND Softball: Irish hit road after rainout
Published: Friday, April 19, 2013
Updated: Friday, April 19, 2013 03:04
The Irish will be back in action this weekend as they travel to Pittsburgh after their game against Valparaiso was rained out last night.
Notre Dame (30-10, 10-1 Big East) enters an important series with the Panthers (16-24, 5-9 Big East), as both teams are vying for high seeds in the conference tournament in just a few weeks.
“Right now we’re fighting for a top spot in the Big East just like any other team, so they’re definitely going to come out and try to jump on top of us because everyone’s fighting for that top Big East seed,” senior pitcher Brittany O’Donnell said. “They always give us a good game.”
With 16 teams in the conference competing for eight tournament spots, every Big East regular season game is important. With the exception of two weekday games against Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan, the remainder of Notre Dame’s schedule is exclusively Big East opponents.
O’Donnell said the Irish have good heads on their shoulders heading into the weekend and will not let yesterday’s cancellation interrupt their rhythm.
“We had practice [yesterday] and we just kept working on making sure everything looks sharp and ready to go before we leave for the weekend,” she said.
The team has enjoyed playing six of their last seven games at home, but they look forward to the opportunity to bring their best efforts on the road.
“When we play at home we always love to play at Notre Dame and represent Notre Dame. It’s our house,” O’Donnell said. “We like playing always, though, because we like showing other teams what Notre Dame softball is all about.”
One standout Irish player is sophomore center fielder Emilee Koerner. Koerner has started all 40 games this spring and has led the nation in batting average for the majority of the season. She is currently leading the Irish, hitting an even .500, and is tied for first on the team with junior pitcher Laura Winter with nine home runs. Koerner has also been extremely solid defensively for the Irish, with a flawless fielding percentage.
“She’s been a great leader and sparkplug for the team, whether it’s driving people in or she’s the first one to get on base,” O’Donnell said. “She’s always getting the ball rolling for us and putting us in the position to win. It’s a great attribute as a center fielder and as a starter to have, to get the team going like that. She’s very consistent and reliable.”
Koerner, O’Donnell and the rest of the Irish will get things started with a doubleheader at noon and 2:00 p.m. Saturday at Vartabedian Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh. On Sunday, the teams will square off at noon. Saturday’s games will also be broadcasted on ESPN3.
Contact Laura Coletti at email@example.com