Freshman pitcher Jody Valdivia turned in a strong performance from the circle against the second-ranked UCLA Bruins on Friday.

Fighting Irish Softball Suffers Pair Of One-Run Setbacks

March 14, 2008

Final Stats

LAKEWOOD, Calif. – Pitchers Jody Valdivia and Brittney Bargar combined to allow only two earned runs over 13.0 innings during the University of Notre Dame softball team’s pair of games on Friday to open the Long Beach State Invitational at Mayfair Park. But their efforts were not enough to get the Irish over the hump as the squad fell to No. 2 UCLA 3-2, then stumbled to host Long Beach State, 1-0.

Notre Dame (7-8) now looks forward to matchups with Virginia Tech and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday (March 8).

An early GiOnna DiSalvatore standup double to right scored the first two UCLA (22-2) runs of the game in the top of the first to direct the Bruins towards their 16th straight win.

The Irish got themselves out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the second when Valdivia (1-3) mustered a Monica Harrison grounder to third for the final out of the frame. Valdivia fought hard from the circle for Notre Dame in the most impressive outing of her young career. The freshman went 6.1 innings and let only a pair of earned runs score and dwindled her way out of several tight situations to help the Irish defense strand 10 Bruins on base.

Ashley Ellis’ solo missile that scaled the leftfield fence for her third homer of the season put the Irish on the board in the bottom of the third.

After a one-out double to the rightfield wall from Christine Lux in the bottom of the fourth Linda Kohan was walked by Bruin starter Donna Kerr. The Bruins got out of the inning unscathed by setting down the next two Notre Dame batters.

Notre Dame prevented UCLA from altering the score a few stanzas later when Harrison laid down a bunt that died in front of home but was fielded cleanly by catcher Sadie Pitzenberger who tagged a barreling Lauren Mirable for the second out in the top of the sixth. Jennifer Schroeder grounded out for the third out.

Katie Fleury shelved Notre Dame’s third hit of the contest in the home half of the sixth by beating out an infield grounder to Harrison at shortstop. She was retired on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Katie Laing but Lux plunged a single in front of the leftfield line to leave a pair of runners on base for Kohan. Kohan was then walked for the second time on the day to load the bases. Bruin reliever Megan Langenfeld (3-0) then stepped in, opening the gates for the Irish to tie the game, 2-2, when Schroeder’s errant throw from behind the plate to first bought enough time for Lux to score.

When an Irish fielding error put Krista Colburn on base, she soon jetted the Bruins ahead, 3-2, on DiSalvatore’s double to center in the seventh for the game-winning run.

Notre Dame was hindered by three fielding errors.

Bargar (6-5) rode a no-hitter into the fifth inning of the nightcap until Jennifer Griffin singled to left for Long Beach’s (13-7) only knock of the game. Griffin would work her way around to third before bringing it home on a wild pitch for the game’s lone tally.

Brooke Turner (9-2) struck out 11 and gave up five Irish hits to earn the win.

Lux recorded the team’s first triple off the season in the top of the fourth. The sophomore had three hits on the day, and Beth Northway recorded a pair of singles to go along with a stolen base against Long Beach State to pace the Irish.

Notre Dame is now 4-6 this season in contests decided by one run.