April 26, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Sophomore Ashley Ellis recorded a career-high five RBI including a fourth-inning grand slam to help the University of Notre Dame softball team earn a 10-1 BIG EAST Conference win over Providence on Saturday. The blast over the leftfield fence was the seventh of the season for Ellis and one of Notre Dame’s 10 hits in the contest. It was also the first Irish grand slam of the season. The Irish (32-17-1 overall, 10-6 BIG EAST) dropped game two at Melissa Cook Stadium by a 5-3 count.
Katie Fleury, Sarah Smith, Linda Kohan, and Ellis each had two hits apiece in the opener with Beth Northway adding a two-RBI double. The crew provided plenty of run support for pitcher Brittney Bargar (24-10), who gave up seven hits without an earned run to her name in 7.0 innings versus the Providence (24-20-2 overall, 8-8 BIG EAST) lineup.
Fleury started the day with a double and was joined on base by Smith following her infield single. One pitch later, Fleury was tagged out while trying to take home on a passed ball. Christine Lux was walked and Kohan singled through the right side to plate Notre Dame’s first run. After Ellis’ first hit of the game plated Lux and moved Kohan to third put runners on the corners, the Irish executed a double-steal that brought home Kohan for the inning’s third run.
Providence crossed its unearned run in the top of the second and soon had two runners in scoring position with one out. The Irish defense got the next pair of Friars out with the help of one of Bargar’s four strikeouts in the game to keep their 3-1 lead.
Northway’s two-out double to right scored Ellis and Kohan to make it a 5-1 game in the third.
In Notre Dame’s five-run fifth, Brianna Jorgensborg led off with a single that made it through the infield and scored from third when Katie Laing’s grounder was fumbled by second baseman Samantha Pittman. Laing was accompanied on base by Smith and Lux when Ellis’ poke to left fought the wind to stay fair and cleared the fence with just enough room to spare.
Gina Rossi had two hits in her two at-bats for the Friars, and teammate Danielle Bertolette (13-9) gave up nine hits and eight runs – five earned – in 3.1 innings to shoulder the loss.
Providence scored two runs on two hits to begin the latter game of the twinbill with doubles from Christy Becker and Rossi off Irish starter Jody Valdivia (8-7), who gave up four runs on five hits in the loss. She struck out five without handing out a walk.
Two more Friar runs in the fourth prompted the relief effort of Bargar. Bargar finished the final 3.1 innings and gave up one run on three hits. She also worked her way out of jam in the fifth with the bases loaded by forcing a ground ball to second for the final out.
The Irish got two scores back to cut the deficit in half, 4-2, on Fleury’s RBI triple to right-center and Smith’s infield hit that scored Fleury. A bloop single to center from Erin Marrone put her on first base to begin the frame.
The two teams traded runs in the bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh. Notre Dame had a runner on first and the tying run at the plate when Bertolette retired the last two batters to earn her first save of the season. Jennifer Maccio (9-6) picked up the win by throwing 5.0 innings of three-run ball.
Smith and Jorgensborg had two hits each in game two, but the offense missed out on several prime scoring opportunities and left 11 runners on base.
Sunday’s (April 27) doubleheader against Connecticut will begin at 11 a.m. (ET). Senior Day ceremonies are set to take place between the two games.