May 7, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The second-seeded Notre Dame softball team posted three runs in the sixth inning of Thursday’s BIG EAST Championship opening round contest at Ulmer Stadium to help defeat seventh-seeded St. John’s, 5-1. Notre Dame advances to the semifinals of the tournament and will face the winner of the matchup between No. 3 Louisville and No. 6 Connecticut. The start time for Friday’s second-round battle has been moved ahead to 2:30 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on CBS College Sports. Live stats will be available at UND.com.
Notre Dame’s overall record bumped to 39-15 while St. John’s fell to 24-26. Irish pitcher Jody Valdivia (18-5) tossed a two-hit gem without allowing an earned run in 7.0 innings. Kat Lawrence (13-14) surrendered eight Notre Dame hits and four earned runs.
Beth Northway improved upon her .500 on-base pct. with a lead-off single through the right side of the infield to start the first. Northway went to second on Linda Kohan’s team-high 12th sacrifice of the season. Business was taken care of when Heather Johnson smacked a double to left to bring Northway in from second. Johnson advanced to third on the play when Red Storm third baseman Julia Sanchez misplayed the relay throw. The second RBI of the inning came on Christine Lux’s sacrifice fly to right field that scored a rumbling Johnson.
The Red Storm pieced together a one-run fourth to cut the deficit in half, 2-1. Chelsea Durning double to left-center and scored an unearned run on Sanchez’s sacrifice bunt that was capped off by an Irish throwing error.
Northway and Alexa Maldonado each singled in the fifth but the Irish could not manage a tally mark with runners on the corners.
In the top of the sixth Dani Miller made a game-saving, two-out snag by gloving a Roxy Struble right-field liner. The Red Storm had a runner on third as Kristi Cady was walked to start the frame before Miller’s grab.
Lux placed a one-out double to the right field gap in the home portion of the sixth and Katie Fleury tacked on the needed insurance run with a two-out double down the left field line. Kristi Cady lost Clay’s flyball to center in the Kentucky sun that was scored as a two-RBI triple, boosting Notre Dame’s lead to 5-1. It was Clay’s third triple of the season.
Clay finished 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI to lead all players.