April 30, 2009
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Five home runs during Thursday’s doubleheader at Providence not only gave the Notre Dame softball team a two-game sweep but set the program’s new single-season record with 57 home runs for the 2009 campaign. The wins of 9-1 (in five innings) and 7-1 moved Notre Dame’s overall record to 36-14 overall and 17-3 in BIG EAST Conference play. The Irish are also 10-0 on the road against league teams. Providence dropped to 16-33 overall and 8-13 versus BIG EAST teams with the losses at Raymond Field.
The Irish struck first with three runs in the first, two off the swing of Dani Miller. Miller belted a two-run home run that fought off the wind in left field to clear the fence after Christine Lux’s infield grounder scored Beth Northway from third. Northway started the inning with a walk and moved into scoring position on Linda Kohan’s double to right-center.
Brittney Bargar (21-9) got help with a double play to end the first and got a pair of groundouts to the left side of the infield and a strikeout to stay perfect through two frames. Providence managed one hit and one earned run off Bargar, who struck out seven Friars. Her counterpart, Alicia Grosso (21-9) was served for five earned runs on five hits in 2.2 innings. Jennifer Maccio stepped in and gave up four runs on three hits in 2.1 frames.
Northway rode the chalk on the right field line for a third-inning single. Soon after, a two-out bomb to opposite field by Lux was the team’s 54th home run of the season to tie the program’s top single-season mark.
Bargar walked the first batter of the fourth and struck the second between the shoulder blades to put two Friars on base. Bargar hit another batter with one out to load the bases and Jenna Garcia hit an infield single to post the Friars’ lone run as the bases stayed loaded. Justine Stratton blooped what appeared to be an extra-base hit but Erin Marrone came out of nowhere to making a diving snag in right field to end the inning.
Providence opted to walk Lux in the fifth to load the bases and the gamble seemed to pay off as the wind picked up heavily for Miller’s next at-bat. Miller delivered by smoking a line drive over the center field fence for her third grand slam of the season that gave the Irish a 9-1 lead and Notre Dame’s home run record. It accounted for the final four of Miller’s career-high six RBI in the game.
Miller and Marrone led Notre Dame with two hits each. Northway, Lux and Miller each scored twice.
After three scoreless innings the fourth frame started with Kohan’s second double of the day. Lux and Miller were walked to juice the bags for Katie Fleury, who laid a single into left field to plate the initial run. Working with three runners still on base, Providence came up with an inning-ending double play as Lux was tagged out at the plate while trying to turn Marrone’s skyball to right into a sacrifice fly.
Providence scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game, 1-1.
Stephanie Mola had a lead-off bunt single in the fifth but the next three Irish batters were retired.
Lux and Miller were once again awarded free bases in the sixth when Fleury crushed a long RBI-single off the top of the left field fence. Marrone wore a pitch to load the bases but the Irish left all three runners stranded.
Bouncing back in the seventh, Northway gave Notre Dame a two-run cushion (3-1) by crushing a solo home run to left field. Kohan went back-to-back by dropping a bomb next to Northway’s. A double to center by Miller paved the way for a Marrone RBI-single to make the score 5-1. Alexia Clay and Brianna Jorgensborg each added RBI-singles later in the stanza. Five of the 10 batters that made an appearance scored a run.
The win went to Jody Valdivia (15-5) who gave up one run on five hits with 10 strikeouts. Danielle Bertolette (6-15) gave up four earned runs on six hits in 6.0 innings for Providence.
Fleury finished 2-for-3 with two RBI. Kohan had two hits and each of the first six batters in the Irish lineup scored one run.
Mary Rose Sheehy went 3-for-3 for the Friars.