Dani Miller hit a grand slam against Valparaiso on Thursday.

Five Home Runs Spear Crusaders As Irish Sweep Doubleheader

April 9, 2009

Game 1: Box Score | Box Score Get Acrobat Reader
Game 2: Box Score | Box Score Get Acrobat Reader

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three different Notre Dame softball players homered Thursday against Valparaiso as the Irish swept the Crusaders by scores of 11-0 and 17-9. The first game went six innings as the second non-conference battle lasted just five frames to move Notre Dame’s overall record to 24-13 heading into this weekend’s BIG EAST Conference doubleheader at Connecticut.

Dani Miller jacked two home runs – including her second grand slam of the season – to bring her season total to six, and Linda Kohan delivered a game-one home run that gave the senior six round trippers on the year. It was Kohan’s third home run in as many games. A pair of home runs in game two by Christine Lux brought her career total to 30 and tied her for fourth on the school’s all-time list.

The 17 runs in game two marked a season high and was one score shy of the school-record 18 set against Robert Morris in 1994. Notre Dame has now won 16 of its last 19 games with a 7-2 record over the latest nine-game homestand.

Brittney Bargar (14-8) tossed a one-hitter to start the day and did not allow a single walk. After a first-inning single by Sara Strickland, Bargar retired 18 straight batters and recorded seven strikeouts along the way.

In the second inning, Alexia Clay doubled to right and went to third on a passed ball. With Alexa Maldonado on base, the duo teamed for a double-steal that scored the first run of the game.

Kohan’s home run came off the first pitch of the third inning and then Notre Dame slapped a high-five fifth. Five runs on four hits put the Irish on top, 7-0, starting with Clay’s RBI-single that scored Katie Fleury after the shortstop singled to start the stanza. Maldonado scored on Kohan’s shot to third, as did Christine Farrell. When Heather Johnson singled down the right field line, Kohan and Beth Northway crossed the plate to end the scoring.

Four more runs in the sixth came on two hits and one Crusader (18-15) error. Kohan reached on an early fielding error and Johnson singled to right-center before stealing second. Lux was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Miller sent the first pitch she saw over the fence for Notre Dame’s third grand slam of the season.

Clay and Johnson combined for more than half of Notre Dame’s 11 hits as each tallied three. Miller led the Irish with four RBI and Kohan scored three runs.

Stephanie Kelly (6-5) was handed the loss after giving up six earned runs on seven hits, and Sam McGee threw the final 1.2 innings while letting five runs score on four knocks.

–Game 2–

Miller stayed on par with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first, but Valparaiso struck back as Lisa DeBruzzi hit an RBI-double in the second to score Ashley Wolter.

Johnson brought home two more scores in the second with a single up the middle that scored Clay and Farrell. Lux welcomed Alex Lagesse to the ball game by sending the relief pitcher’s first toss over the fence in center to make it a 9-1 game.

Karen Korb put a charge into a one-out offering in the third for a solo home run, and the Crusaders scored two more to cut the Irish advantage to 9-4.

Valparaiso scored three in the top of the third but Notre Dame got back five runs in the bottom half of the inning on five hits. Marrone led the attack with a double and Brianna Jorgensborg singled down the left field line. Northway singled up the middle to score Marrone and Kohan’s single to left brought home Jorgensborg. Lux scorched a three-run home run to right to keep the rally alive.

Back came the Crusaders with four runs in the fourth, but Notre Dame added two more when an error on Stephanie Mola’s sacrifice bunt brought Fleury into the dugout as she hustled home all the way from first. Mola stood on third when she eased down the line on Jorgensborg’s sacrifice fly.

The teams traded runs in the fifth to end the contest but not before the Irish registered their 16th hit of the game.

Jody Valdivia (10-5) got the win after 4.0 innings of work that saw her strike out five with nine earned runs. Bargar finished the game with a pair of strikeouts after a hitless inning.

Shaleigh Janson (1-3) gave up eight earned runs on seven hits after starting the game, lasting just 1.1 innings. Valparaiso used three more pitchers that gave up nine hits.

Kohan, Johnson, Lux, Fleury and Northway each had multi-hit efforts for the Irish. Johnson and Lux both scored three times with Lux driving home a game-high five runs. Miller added three RBI.