March 12, 2009
FULLERTON, Calif. – It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.
The Notre Dame softball team downed No. 9 Oklahoma, 4-3, on the opening day of the Judi Garman Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton. The Irish (7-8) sat on a 3-1 lead but committed three errors in the top of the seventh, though Oklahoma (19-7) saved its lone error for the bottom of the seventh to help give Notre Dame the win Thursday at Anderson Field.
The victory was Notre Dame’s first against a top-10 opponent since downing No. 5 Tennessee in 2005.
The Irish fell to Penn State, 1-0, earlier in the day.
The Judi Garman Classic will continue for the Irish on Friday (March 13) at 7:30 p.m. (PT) against Pacific. Live stats will be available at UND.com.
Both pitchers had no-hitters going into the fourth in the opener against Penn State (8-8), when Alexa Maldonado doubled to right-center. She went to third on Katie Fleury’s sacrifice bunt but was stranded.
Kimi Wong recorded Penn State’s first hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth, putting two Nittany Lions on the paths. This time it was the Irish defense that held strong to leave a pair of runners stranded.
The extra inning started with Beth Northway getting hit by a pitch but two deep balls to left field were fielded by Ashley Griffith to close the door on the Irish offense.
Desi Giordano singled through the left side to drive home Sam Hovanec from third for the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth.
Even though a single earned run failed to cross the plate, Brittney Bargar took the loss after giving up just two hits in 7.1 innings. Jackie Hill (5-5) allowed a pair of hits and struck out three in the win.
Christine Lux came through with a home run to right-center – her first bomb of the year – in the bottom of the second to give Notre Dame a 2-0 lead over the Sooners. Linda Kohan singled to begin the frame.
The top of the third saw Amber Flores double to left-center to score Evan Sallis, making the score 2-1 in favor of Notre Dame.
Heather Johnson started the home half of the fourth with a single up the middle, and then pinch-runner Christine Farrell checked in and headed to second on Kohan’s sacrifice bunt. Farrell added two more bases to her name when she hustled home on Lux’s single up the middle.
After Oklahoma managed an unearned run in the seventh with two more threats on base, the Irish chose to walk the bases loaded. Bargar induced a grounder back to the circle and hustled forward in time to scoop and toss to catcher Alexia Clay for the second out. One play later, a double error let another run score, tying the game at 3-3.
The Irish fought back and put a pair of runners on base with Lux’s walk and Beth Northway’s single in the bottom of the seventh. Dani Miller loaded the bases with her single to left, and Pitzenberger grounded to relief pitcher Allee Allen (7-2), who couldn’t managed the roller which allowed Lux to score the winning run.
Bargar (5-4) went the final 3.0 innings and gave up three hits without an earned run to get the win. Starter Jody Valdivia tossed 4.0 innings of gorgeous four-hit ball and struck out two without a decision.
Oklahoma’s Kirsten Allen tossed the first 2.1 innings and gave up three hits and three runs. D.J. Mathis held Notre Dame to one run and two hits in 4.0 innings from the circle.
Lux paced all batters with a 2-for-2 effort from the plate, adding two runs and three RBI.