Feb. 26, 2010
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A very cold and an even windier Friday by the beach could not keep the Notre Dame softball bats from cranking out 19 runs on 27 hits to sweep the first day of Virginia’s Cavalier Invitational at Captains Field on the campus of Christopher Newport University. The Irish needed just five innings in both of their games to hand losses to George Washington, 8-0, and Virginia, 11-3.
Four different players hit home runs – including career firsts for Amy Buntin and Kristina Wright – as Wright led the Irish (6-4) with four RBI on the day to extend Notre Dame’s winning streak to five games.
Heather Johnson, Alexa Maldonado and Erin Marrone each had four hits across the doubleheader with Dani Miller and Sadie Pitzenberger chipping in three apiece. Marrone crossed the plate a team-high three times.
Brittany O’Donnell (2-0) earned the win over George Washington (0-2) after striking out nine batters and surrendering just one hit in 4.0 innings. Jackie Bowe fanned one batter in 1.0 inning of relief against the Colonials.
The Irish stayed aggressive on the paths, notching steals on five of six attempts.
Notre Dame will play George Washington on Saturday (Feb. 27) at 10 a.m. (ET) and Virginia at 12:30 p.m. to wrap up the invite.
Five hits led to three runs in the top of the first, capped off by Alexia Clay’s base-clearing RBI to left-center. The two-out shot gave Notre Dame a comfortable lead to work with for the rest of the game as Buntin made it a 4-0 contest with a solo shot to center on the second pitch of the following inning.
Pitzenberger’s second hit of the game moved Alexa Maldonado to third in the top of the second, and Maldonado would score on a Johnson fielder’s choice to second base.
Another leadoff homer – this time a third-inning shot by Marrone – gave Notre Dame a 6-0 lead, and Maldonado added an RBI-single to score Miller.
Julie Orlandi’s single up the middle was the lone Colonial hit of the day.
Johnson singled off the top of the centerfield fence with one out in the fourth and was replaced on first by Kelsey Thornton. Thornton stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and trotted home on Christine Lux’s sacrifice fly to center.
Brianna Jorgensborg’s first hit of the season came during a pinch-hit effort in the fifth.
Pitzenberger, Johnson, Marrone and Maldonado each had two hits as Clay drove in a game-high three runs. Nine players combined for Notre Dame’s 13 hits.
Kara Clauss (0-2) gave up 10 hits and six earned runs in 3.0 innings for George Washington. Heidi Penna was knocked around for three hits and one earned run in 2.0 innings.
The Irish used three multi-run stanzas after falling behind, 1-0, after the top of the opening inning when Nicole Koren hit the first of her two solo home runs on the day.
Jody Valdivia (4-2) fanned six while giving up three earned runs on four hits in 5.0 innings. For the Cavaliers, Melanie Mitchell (3-5) lasted all of 1.0 inning and gave up four earned runs on five hits. She faced just eight batters in the starting effort. Stephanie Coates pitched 3.2 innings of eight-hit ball and gave up seven earned runs.
Pitzenberger singled to third to start the game for the Irish and moved to second on Katie Fleury’s sacrifice bunt. Johnson singled up the middle to score Pitzenberger, and Marrone later singled to right to drive in a second run. Two more hits by Miller and Wright scored an additional pair of Irish runs.
Maldonado tripled down the leftfield line in the second and scored Notre Dame’s fifth run on Fleury’s groundout.
Wright went yard with a deep shot to center in the third to drive in three runs as Notre Dame had four hits in the inning.
Koren started the fourth with a solo homer and the Cavaliers (3-6) soon scored their third run of the game before the Irish got out of a bases-loaded jam to keep the count at 8-3.
Fleury’s lead-off home run in the bottom of the fourth put Notre Dame ahead by six, and Lux ended the game with a bases-loaded single to right to cross Pitzenberger and Fleury in the fifth. It was Notre Dame’s only hit of the inning and the 14th of the game.