Alexia Clay and the Irish start the week with a single game against Valpo on Wednesday.

Fighting Irish Sandwich Road Trip To DePaul Between Home Dates With Valpo And Villanova

April 21, 2010

Games Notes Get Acrobat Reader

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – No. 23 Notre Dame (34-7) will tangle with in-state rival Valparaiso (27-12) Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium. At 12-1 in BIG EAST Conference play and sitting on top of the league standings, the Irish will travel to second-place DePaul (24-14, 8-3) in a critical BIG EAST doubleheader Thursday afternoon in Chicago. Notre Dame’s six-contest week concludes with a three-game home series against league foe Villanova (17-24, 4-7) from April 24-25.

The Notre Dame women’s basketball players and coaches will be on hand to sign autographs and pose for photos with fans before and during Wednesday’s softball game. In addition, graduating Fighting Irish senior center Erica Williamson will throw out the first pitch, while Williamson and some of her teammates will serenade the crowd with their rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” and other special women’s basketball-themed events will take place during the game.

Christine Lux will be honored after Sunday’s bout with Villanova as part of the program’s Senior Day (seniors Heather Johnson and Alexia Clay will exercise a fifth year of eligibility for the 2011 season). Live video and audio will be available only for the April 25 game.

Join for a live in-game chat on the Softball Gameday Central page for each of this week’s contests. In-game Twitter updates (@NDSoftball) and IRISH ALERT text-messaging services ( are also great ways to follow Notre Dame softball.

Live audio / video / stats / chat / text alerts:
Notre Dame Athletics Twitter: @und_com
In-game Twitter: @ndsoftball
Tickets (home games only): 574.631.7356

Wednesday, April 21 – 4:00 (ET)
Notre Dame vs. Valparaiso
Thursday, April 22 – 3:00 p.m. / 5:00 (ET)
Notre Dame at DePaul (DH)
Saturday, April 24 – 12:00 / 2:00 p.m.
Notre Dame vs. Villanova (DH)
Sunday, April 25 – 11:00 a.m.
Notre Dame vs. Villanova

No. 23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(34-7 overall / 12-1 BIG EAST)
[ –]

Valparaiso Crusaders
(23-12 overall / 7-3 Horizon)
[ –]

Series: Notre Dame leads, 29-2
Series streak: Notre Dame, W28
First meeting: April 13, 1989 – Valparaiso, 1-0 (8)
Last meeting: April 9, 2009 – Notre Dame, 17-9 (5)

DePaul Blue Demons
(24-14 overall / 8-3 BIG EAST)
[ –]
Series: DePaul leads, 23-30-1 (4-4 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W2
First meeting: April 22, 1989 – DePaul, 10-1
Last meeting: May 9, 2009 – Notre Dame, 1-0 (BIG EAST Championship – Louisville, Ky.)

Villanova Wildcats
(17-24 overall / 4-7 BIG EAST)
[ –
Series: Notre Dame leads, 36-4 (30-3 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W3
First meeting: April 13, 1996 – Villanova, 4-1
Last meeting: April 18, 2009 – Notre Dame, 7-1

One-Hitters …
– Notre Dame is arguably the hottest team in the nation at this point, having won 33 of its last 36 games and finding itself in first place in the BIG EAST Conference with a 12-1 record, three games clear of second-place DePaul … Notre Dame has posted winning streaks of 12, 11 and nine straight games … the Irish won 11 regular season BIG EAST games (12 dating back to 2009) before losing the back end of an April 17 doubleheader at Louisville … Louisville was also the last team to deal Notre Dame a regular-season defeat (May 3, 2009) … in all, the Irish have won 22 of their last 24 regular-season league games.
Jody Valdivia ranks first nationally with 27 wins and second in shutouts (13) … she is 23rd in hits allowed/7.0 innings (4.2) … Sadie Pitzenberger is fourth with six triples and is the 15th toughest to strike out … Notre Dame is third in batting average (.336), fielding pct. (.979), fifth in triples/game (0.41), sixth in slugging pct. (.589) and ninth in win/loss pct. (.829).
– The defending BIG EAST Tournament champions are 238-44 (.843) in regular season league play … now in their 15th season of BIG EAST competition, the Irish have won 10 regular season league titles (last in 2006) and six tournament titles. – With a 12-0 home record, Notre Dame has won its last 13 games at Melissa Cook Stadium dating back to 2009 for the longest streak in the facility’s three-season history … Notre Dame last won 10 straight home games in 2007 (March 22-April 1) at Ivy Field.
– The Irish moved up to No. 23 in the latest NFCA poll as the highest ranked BIG EAST team … Notre Dame has been ranked in the poll for four straight weeks … Notre Dame made its debut this week in the Today poll, coming in at No. 25.

And You Thought the Third Time Was a Charm …
Jody Valdivia was named BIG EAST Conference Pitcher of the Week (April 19) for the fourth time this season … Valdivia won five games from April 14-18 without allowing an earned run … she punched in 27.1 innings of work over five appearances for the Irish, including four cameos versus BIG EAST teams … now 10-0 in BIG EAST games this season, Valdivia (27-3) has been victorious in each of her last 20 regular-season league decisions (her last conference loss came during her freshman campaign in 2008) … Valdivia blanked Georgetown (April 14) with 12 strikeouts and one walk and tossed a brilliant one-hitter at No. 25 Louisville (April 17) … she also notched the win over the Cardinals one day later (the only hit permitted in the opener against Louisville, a two-out bunt single in the fifth, was the first hit allowed by Valdivia in three appearances covering 9.1 innings) … Valdivia went 35.0 innings without allowing a run – earned or unearned – until the seventh inning of Sunday’s contest at Louisville, an unearned score by the Cardinals … Valdivia has not allowed an earned run in her last 35.1 frames in the circle.

Valdivia and the BIG EAST …
With an April 18 win at No. 25 Louisville, Jody Valdivia became the third pitcher in league history (since round-robin play began in 1992) to record two or more double-digit win totals in regular-season league play … Valdivia went 10-0 in 2009 as a sophomore, and is currently 10-0 against league foes in 2010 … DePaul’s Becca Heteniak has had three 10+ win seasons, and Notre Dame Brittney Barger accomplished the feat twice … here is a breakdown of Valdivia’s 20-game winning streak over league opponents:

20100.57 ERA, 10-0, 9 GS, 10 APP, 61.1 IP, 63 K
20091.60 ERA, 10-0, 11 GS, 13 APP, 74.1 IP, 81 K
2009-101.14 ERA, 20-0, 20 GS, 23 APP, 19 CG, 135.2 IP, 144 K1 no-hitter, 4 one-hitters, 7 shutouts, 22 extra-base hits, .175 opp./avg.5 games with 10+ strikeouts

Tit for Tat …
Notre Dame has allowed two runs in the seventh inning this season (both unearned) … the Irish have stolen 16 bases in 16 attempts in league play … no member of the Irish outfield has committed an error in 2010 (125 chances) … Brianna Jorgensborg (1.083) and Christine Lux (1.000) are leading the Irish in slugging pct. over the last five games … Notre Dame has hit 25 home runs, 21 doubles and five triples in 12 home games while out-scoring opponents, 85-12.

Lux Eyes BIG EAST Prize …
Christine Lux needs one more league home run to tie the BIG EAST record (24) set by Seton Hall’s Laura Taylor (2002-05) … Lux is tied for seventh with 58 RBI in league play … the record is 64 and was set by Notre Dame’s Jarrah Myers (1999-2002).

Touch Em All, Lux …
Christine Lux had two game-winning home runs in one week, as her two solo home runs against Georgetown (April 14) made the difference in a 3-2 win and her three-run bomb at No. 25 Louisville (April 18) gave Notre Dame a 3-1 victory … the pair of home runs against the Hoyas was the third two-homer output of her career, as she became the first player since 2003 to record three two-homer affairs … Jarrah Myers (last time in 2002), Liz Hartmann (last time in 2003) and Andria Bledsoe (last time in 2003) also hit two home runs in three different games.

Johnson Does It Again …
Third baseman Heather Johnson was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week (April 12) for the second time after she helped the Fighting Irish hold on to its unblemished conference record with a three-game sweep of USF (April 10-11) … Johnson showed she could play under pressure as she went a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with a solo home run and a sacrifice fly in a nationally televised victory over USF (April 10) on CBS College Sports … she continued her strong play in game two of the doubleheader, blasting her first career grand slam and finishing with five RBI … for the week the third baseman totaled seven RBI while hitting .500, slugging 1.500 and recording an on-base mark of .500.

Taking USF By the Horns …
Jody Valdivia hurled a one-hitter with six strikeouts to lead Notre Dame past visiting USF, 2-0, wrapping up a three-game sweep of the Bulls on April 11 … Valdivia’s 13th shutout of the season boosted Notre Dame’s home record to 9-0 … the Irish sweep ran the team’s winning streak over the Bulls to five contests following a two-game sweep in 2009 … Valdivia finished the series with two wins and an ERA of 1.00 in 14.0 innings of action … a pair of comeback wins provided plenty of highlight-reel material for Notre Dame in a doubleheader with USF (April 10) … the nation’s leader in team batting average entering the day, Notre Dame racked up 16 hits in the twinbill including three doubles and three home runs … two of the homers came off the bat of Heather Johnson and her game-two grand slam was part of an eight-run fourth inning.

Lux Is the First Ever …
After hitting her 10th home run this season, Christine Lux is the only player in school history to have 10+ home runs in three campaigns … Lux posted a single-season school record 15 home runs in 2008 and 2009.

All Good Things Come To An End …
Sadie Pitzenberger saw her 26-game hitting streak (Feb. 20-April 1) come to and end in the series finale with Rutgers … she broke the school record with a single in her second at-bat in the first of two games at Seton Hall on March 27 … Dani Miller held the previous record (21) and accomplished the feat as a freshman in 2009 … coming off a pair of knee injuries that sidelined her for much of her freshman and sophomore seasons, Pitzenberger was used primarily as the lineup’s designated player early in the season and became a fixture in the outfield during the Southern Miss Mizuno Classic (Feb. 20-21) … in fact, the hitting streak began with her first defensive start against Louisiana Tech (Feb. 20) … over the course of the 26-game streak, Pitzenberger was good for 43 hits (nine doubles, six triples), 30 runs (scored at least once in all but five games) and 17 RBI in 94 at-bats … amazingly, she struck out only once … Pitzenberger posted a .469 on-base percentage and a .681 slugging pct. with a .457 batting average during the jaunt … furthermore, Pitzenberger was not walked once during the streak.

Two Times Three …
Notre Dame kept its focus during a pair of rain delays and used three two-run home runs to help down Rutgers (April 3) by an 8-0 count in a game that lasted 5:25 … Notre Dame’s fourth home run, a solo blast by Alexia Clay, ended the game in unconventional walk-off fashion in the sixth inning … Notre Dame was out-hit by Rutgers, 6-5, as all but one of the Irish hits went for four bases … Christine Lux, Brianna Jorgensborg and Dani Miller each accounted for the two-run shots.

Wins On Top of Wins …
Jody Valdivia ran her BIG EAST regular-season winning streak to 14 in her 10th complete-game shutout of the year against Rutgers (April 3), working around six hits and punching out five without a walk … since the beginning of the 2009 season, Valdivia is now 16-0 in BIG EAST play (including tournament games) … she is on pace to shatter the Notre Dame single-season records for both shutouts (15 by Terri Kobata in 1994) and wins (30 by Brittney Bargar in 2008).

Junior Duo Sweep BIG EAST Weekly Awards For Second Time …
For the second time in three weeks, Notre Dame swept the BIG EAST Conference’s weekly softball awards (March 29) … Sadie Pitzenberger became the second repeat winner for the Player of the Week distinction and third-year starter Jody Valdivia earned her third Pitcher of the Week award this season (the only league hurler to earn the award multiple times) … Notre Dame won every game (7-0) for the week by at least four runs, winning five by nine or more … Pitzenberger set a Notre Dame record by extending her hitting streak to 24 games … her two triples on the week gave her six this season, which tied her for second in the nation … the outfielder added to her statistical totals with four doubles, 12 runs, 11 RBI and a stolen base while going 14-for-26 (.538) at the plate … six of her 14 hits went for extra bases … the final game of the week against Seton Hall (March 28) saw Pitzenberger go 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI … Valdivia went 5-0 with three shutouts (two solo, one combined), including her first career no-hitter during Notre Dame’s BIG EAST opener at Seton Hall (March 27) … the junior extended her winning streak to 17 straight games and moved to 12-0 in her last 12 BIG EAST decisions … she struck out 32 batters in 26.0 innings with 20 of them coming in two starts against the Pirates.

Victories for Valdivia …
Similar to her sophomore campaign, Jody Valdivia shook off a relatively rough start to reel off win after win this season … Valdivia started 2009 with a 2-5 record (including four straight losses in her first four starts) but was victorious in each of her last 17 decisions … the 2010 season started with two losses in her first three outings, but Valdivia rallied to post 17 straight between defeats (Feb. 14 vs. No. 1 Washington – March 30 at Loyola-Chicago) … her 17-game winning streak this season tied her own second-best single-season mark in school history:

Single-Season Winning Streak22 - Kristin Schmidt -  3.2.01-5.5.0117 - Jody Valdivia - 2.14.10-3.30.1017 - Jody Valdivia - 3.18.09-5.15.0916 - Terri Kobata - 4.9.94-5.20.9416 - Jennifer Sharron - 3.28.01-5.5.0116 - Carrie Wisen - 3.30.02-5.10.0214 - Steffany Stenglein - 3.9.05-4.22.0510 - Brittney Bargar -  3.22.07-4.19.07

Three Century Marks …
Christine Lux became the sixth player in program history to record 100 hits, 100 runs and 100 RBI in a career after scoring her 100th run against Toledo (March 24) … after the doubleheader with the Rockets, Lux had 100 runs, 151 hits and 140 RBI … Katie Laing (’08) was the last Irish players to finish a career with the 100-100-100 accolade.

Hitting the Trifecta …
Three of Notre Dame’s four home runs in game two against Toledo (March 24) came in the fourth inning … Heather Johnson, Kristina Wright and Alexa Maldonado each homered for the Irish … it was the fourth time in school history that the Irish knocked three home runs in the same inning (each of the occurrences have been in the last three seasons) … it was the 10th multi-homer game of the season for Notre Dame.

Lux Named To Honor Roll …
Christine Lux hit her 39th career home run at Western Michigan (March 18), the first grand slam ever for the slugger … Lux accounted for five RBI against the Broncos, the sixth time she recorded 5+ RBI in a single contest in her career … she had two hits and scored twice in the contest … for her efforts, Lux was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll (March 22).

Welcome Home …
With the doubleheader sweep over Eastern Michigan (March 23) Notre Dame improved to 20-2 overall in home openers, winning its last 13 consecutive … the two losses came in 1992 and 1997 … it was the second true home opener at Melissa Cook Stadium, where the Irish are 2-0 in such contests … Notre Dame had 22 hits in the home-opening doubleheader with Eastern Michigan (March 23) … half of those hits went for extra bases – six doubles, four home runs and one triple.

Defending the Home Turf …
After playing the first 22 games of the season on the road, Notre Dame swept each of its first four home games at Melissa Cook Stadium … the Irish took two games from Eastern Michigan (March 23) and Toledo (March 24) … over that stretch, the Irish scored 37 runs on 42 hits … the team hit 11 home runs, eight doubles and four triples for a .938 slugging pct. … Notre Dame hit .433 as a team, stole 10 of 12 bases, and held opponents to a .200 batting average with a 1.46 ERA.

Gumpf Goes Eastbound for Milestones …
Deanna Gumpf coached her 500th game with the Irish against East Tennessee State (March 6), and won her 350th contest in the home opener with Eastern Michigan (March 23).

Space Jam …
Brittany O’Donnell escaped a pair of bases loaded jams against in game two versus Eastern Michigan (March 23) … it was the third time she has worked her way out of a juiced situation this season … in all, Notre Dame has escaped 25 jams (Shannon Kelly – 1 Jackie Bowe – 4, Jody Valdivia – 17).

We’ll Leave the Light On for Ya …
With the doubleheader sweep over Eastern Michigan (March 23) Notre Dame improved to 20-2 overall in home openers, winning its last 13 consecutive … the two losses came in 1992 and 1997 … it was the second true home opener at Melissa Cook Stadium, where the Irish are 2-0 in such contests … Notre Dame had 22 hits in the home-opening doubleheader … half of those hits went for extra bases – six doubles, four home runs and one triple.

Take Two …
Christine Lux tied the school record with her 36th career home run against Virginia (Feb. 27) and broke the mark one week later against East Tennessee State (March 6) at the UC Riverside Aten Construction Tournament … in the same game she became Notre Dame’s all-time leader in putouts (1,338) when she had an astounding 18 at first base.

Johnson Cops BIG EAST’s Weekly Award …
Senior third baseman Heather Johnson was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week (March 1) after she became the 14th Irish player in 22 seasons to hit at least two home runs in the same game when she did so against Virginia (Feb. 27) … Johnson posted a game-high three RBI in game two against the Cavaliers and drove in a team-best seven runs throughout the four-game invite … Johnson hit .583 with seven hits in 12 at bats and her 13 total bases helped her boast a slugging percentage of 1.083 … she also stole a base and assisted on four putouts from third base … Johnson had three multi-hit and two multi-RBI efforts on the weekend, including at least one RBI in each game.

Double Dipping …
Notre Dame recorded at least 10 hits in each of its four games at the Cavalier Invite (Feb. 26-27) and extended the streak to seven games with double-digit outputs at each of the three games at the UC Riverside Aten Construction Tournament (March 6-7) … in 2003, Notre Dame went 10 straight games with 10+ hits from April 13-23.

40 Never Looked So Good …
Notre Dame outscored the opposition 40-3 through four games at the Cavalier Invite (Feb. 26-27), including a trio of sweeps … heading into the UC Riverside Aten Construction Tournament, the Irish have not surrendered a single run in the second or seventh innings in 12 games.

A Higher Five …
If one home run in a game is nice and two are even better, what do you call five home runs in one game? The Irish are searching for that answer after sending five home runs out of the park against Virginia (Feb. 27) … four different players hit home runs, while Heather Johnson blasted a pair … the last time Notre Dame hit five home runs in one game was in 2003 against Louisiana-Lafayette (Feb. 28) … the Irish also did the deed four times in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Where’s Maldo?
Alexa Maldonado has been keeping defenses on their heels this season by scattering shots all around the ballpark … at the Cavalier Invite (Feb. 26), Maldonado recorded two triples and two doubles in four games … as a freshman in 2009, Maldonado notched two triples over a four-game stretch at Stanford’s Nike Invitational (Feb. 20-21).

Sister Act …
Christine and Kathryn Lux became the first sisters in program history to not only record hits on the same day, but to homer on the same day … the duo did so Feb. 27 at the Cavalier Invite … Kathryn belted a two-run shot versus George Washington in her second collegiate at-bat … Christine sent her bomb out of the park one game later against Virginia.

Catch Me If You Can …
Seven different Irish players stole at least one base through four games at the Cavalier Invite (Feb. 26-27) … Sadie Pitzenberger led the attack with three swipes.

Valdivia Named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week …
Jody Valdivia was named the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 22 … she started each of Notre Dame’s three games at the Southern Miss Mizuno Classic (Feb. 20-21), earning two wins and even notching a save … she tossed 16.2 innings with 24 strikeouts while giving up eight hits as not a single run crossed the plate under her watch … Valdivia limited Louisiana Tech (Feb. 20) to three hits and fanned 13 Techsters … it was the sixth game of her career with 10+ strikeouts … she started against Southern Miss (Feb. 20) and received four runs in the first inning from the Irish offense … she was pulled after the first inning, and Notre Dame then gave up six runs to make it a 7-6 contest in the bottom of the sixth … Valdivia reentered the game with the bases loaded and one out, taking care of the next five Golden Eagle batters to notch the save … Valdivia then blanked Stephen F. Austin (Feb. 21) and squeezed out of another jam in the seventh … sitting on a 3-0 lead, Valdivia gave up three singles in the bottom half of the final frame without an out, but retired the next three batters in order to secure the complete-game shutout.

See the Ball, Hit the Ball …
Amy Buntin (.417) and Katie Fleury (.353) were steady for the Irish at the dish throughout the Kajikawa Classic (Feb. 12-14) … Buntin had five hits – including one double – and three RBI to open her collegiate career … one of Fleury’s six hits was good for two bases as she led the Irish with three hits and three runs against Creighton (Feb. 12) … Christine Lux, Dani Miller and Heather Johnson each recorded home runs for Notre Dame over the four-game stretch … Lux’s three-run jack against Creighton brought her career total to 34, two shy of the program’s all-time record … 10 of the 14 Irish players with an official at-bat recorded at least one hit at the tournament.

Lid Lifter …
Notre Dame’s 11-3 win over Creighton (Feb. 12) marked the most runs ever scored by an Irish team in a season opener … the team posted 11 runs on 11 hits with 11 RBI … by comparison, the Irish finished six games in 2009 with double digit outputs in the hit, run and RBI categories.

A Valiant Valdivia …
Pitcher Jody Valdivia led the way in the season-opening victory over Creighton (Feb. 12) with a complete-game 10-strikeout performance against the Bluejays in the abbreviated six-inning contest, extending her winning streak from the circle to 18 straight games dating back to March 2009 … Valdivia brushed off a shaky start after giving up a two-run homer in the first inning, proceeding to retire 14 of the next 15 batters over the next few frames as the Bluejays managed one more run on two hits in the top of the sixth … with the 10-strikeout performance Valdivia eclipsed the 300-strikeout plateau, becoming the ninth Irish pitcher to do so in a career … it was the fifth game of her career with double-digit strikeouts … Valdivia shouldered the loss one day later against Auburn (Feb. 13) to end the streak … Valdivia appeared in four games at the Kajikawa Classic (Feb. 12-14), pitching 20.0 innings with 26 strikeouts.