SOUTH BEND — Jordan Trimble’s walk-off dinger on the first pitch of
the eighth inning sealed the deal, but early disappointments
contributed to Notre Dame’s demise.
Trimble roped Laura Winter’s curveball the opposite way over the
right-field fence to give top-seeded Louisville a 4-3 victory over the
second-seeded Irish in Saturday night’s championship game of the Big
The victory gives the ninth-ranked Cardinals (53-3) the league’s
automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. There’s no doubt Notre Dame
(38-14) will receive an at-large bid when the selections are announced
late Sunday night.
Nothing cheap about Trimble’s game-winner. The sophomore, who missed
all of last year with a broken ankle, hit the ball hard in three
Her triple off the right-field fence was a key hit in the fourth inning.
“She was jumping on everything I threw her,” said Winter. “She hit a
curve (for the game-winner). I thought it was a good pitch.”
“I’d pick that pitch again if given the chance,” said Irish coach
Deanna Gumpf. “(Trimble) hit a different pitch every time. It was just
their day today.”
“I was in a zone today,” said Trimble, voted the tournament’s top
player. “There was a lot of great movement on the ball. I was able to
see it real well.”
“Jordy always comes out and takes a good cut,” said Louisville coach
Sandy Pearsall. “She hit a home run against South Florida (Thursday)
to win that game.
“It was tough on her to miss last year. It’s nice to see her have some success.”
Notre Dame’s inability to cash in on a couple splendid opportunities
in the first two innings came back to haunt the Irish.
They had two on and one out in the first and came away with nothing.
In the second, the Irish had three hits and only plated one, on a
single by Alexa Maldonado.
“We left a lot of runners (four) on in those first two innings,” Gumpf
said. “A hit there changes everything.”
Notre Dame went up 3-0 in the third when Katey Haus drilled a two-run homer.
“That’s been us all season,” said Pearsall. “We’ve struggled early,
figured a way to get out of it, then come back.”
The Louisville recovery started in the fourth when Taner Fowler
crushed a solo home run. Trimble followed with a triple. One out
later, Katelyn Mann put down a perfect squeeze bunt to cut the
difference to 3-2.
“The squeeze really hurt,” Gumpf said. “That one run makes a big difference.”
Pearsall flashed a sly smile, suggesting that squeeze was out of her
“We’re not a fast, finesse team,” Pearsall said. “We needed that run.”
Fowler singled home Jennifer Esteban in the fifth to tie the game and
set up the dramatic finish.
“This game proved to me we can hang with, and beat, anyone in the
country,” Gumpf said. “We were right there with a team ranked in the
top 10 the last half of the season.”
Notre Dame 012 000 00 — 3 10 0
Louisville 000 210 01 — 4 10 1
Laura Winter (L, 27-9); Tori Collins, Chelsea Leonard (7, W).
2B — Katie Keller (L).
3B — Jordan Trimble (L).
HR — Taner Fowler (L), Katey Haus (N), Trimble.
Umpires — Terri Rosenwald (P), Bryan Smith (1), Cindi Brunot (3).
Att — 1,065.