WMU Softball Suffers Heart Breaker at Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Western Michigan took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh and could not close it out as Notre Dame scored five in the frame to take the win away from the Broncos, 5-3.
It was the definition of a pitchers duel heading into the seventh inning with the game scoreless and both teams managing just one hit apiece.
WMU's Tara Buchanan led off the frame with a single up the middle, her second hit of the day. Diana Patterson singled two batters later to put runners on first and second after Courtney Rousseau reached on a fielder's choice.
Freshman Mackenzie Shepeck came in to pinch hit and singled down the left field line to plate Rousseau and score the game's first run. Jennifer Tschetter followed with a hit to left field to score another and Meredith Whitney collected an infield hit, her second of the day to put WMU up 3-0.
Notre Dame was down to its last at bat as Jackie Bowe struck out to lead off the home half of the seventh and Laura Winter flied out to left center sandwiched around a Lauren Stuhr home run to straight away center field.
Jenna Simon blooped a hit to left field that ended up a triple for the speedy freshman. The Broncos looked to end the game on a force out at second base but the runner was called safe, scoring the Irish's second run of the game. Amy Buntin ended things with her fourth home run of the season.
The game may have been very different entering the seventh had it not been for the defensive plays made by Jenny Rohn and Tschetter in the outfield. Rohn was substituted for starting left fielder Colleen Lynch and made an over-the-shoulder catch that inning. Tschetter laid out for a diving catch in the sixth with a runner in scoring position.
Whitney suffered the loss despite striking out seven batters and not allowing a Notre Dame hit until the bottom of the fifth inning. She and Buchanan were the only Broncos to collect multiple hits in the loss.
Western Michigan opens defense of its 2011 Mid-American Conference crown when Ball State (March 30) comes to town for a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m., followed by a two-game set against Miami (March 31-April).