Feb. 12, 2010
TEMPE, Ariz. – An 11-3 win over Creighton was followed by a 4-1 loss to Oregon in non-conference softball action as Notre Dame opened the 2010 season Friday at Arizona State’s Kajikawa Classic. Senior pitcher Jody Valdivia led the way in the opening victory with a complete-game 10-strikeout performance against the Bluejays in the abbreviated six-inning contest, extending her winning streak from the circle to 18 straight games dating back to March 2009.
Valdivia (1-0) gave up four hits and three earned runs while going the distance and was backed by 11 Irish (1-1) hits. Notre Dame lit up the scoreboard with two four-run innings against the Bluejays.
Oregon (1-0) was aided by solo home runs from twin sisters Kelsey and Lindsey Chambers in addition to a three-run fifth inning in the day’s second game.
Notre Dame returns to the Tempe Sports Complex for two games on Saturday (Feb. 13). Auburn will be the first opponent at 6:30 p.m. (ET) with Oregon State facing the Irish at 9 p.m. Live stats will be available at UND.com along with in-game updates at twitter.com/NDSoftball.
Valdivia brushed off a shaky start to earn the win in the season opener. Renae Sinkler hit a two-run homer in the top of the first for Creighton (0-2) but Valdivia retired 14 of the next 15 batters over the next few frames as the Bluejays managed one more run on two hits in the top of the sixth.
Singles by Katie Fleury and Heather Johnson came before back-to-back homers by Christine Lux and Dani Miller in the third. Notre Dame sat on its 5-2 lead through a scoreless fourth inning and posted two more runs in the fifth. Fleury and Lux found themselves on first and second, executed a flawless double steal, and were then joined by Amy Buntin after a walk to load the bases. Erin Marrone reached first on a fielder’s choice to shortstop to score Fleury, and Brianna Jorgensborg grounded out to the pitcher which bought enough time to plate Lux.
Liz McKewon put down a leadoff single that died on the third base line to start the sixth inning for Creighton, the first Bluejay hit allowed by Valdivia since the first inning. Jessi Jadlowski added a second single and Sinkler was walked to load the bases with no outs. Michelle Koch was hit by a pitch to score a run and Valdivia induced three straight outs to take care of the remainder of the side for Creighton.
Fleury and Johnson went back-to-back again in the bottom of the sixth, this time with shots of the double variety. Fleury’s double scored Kristina Wright, who singled up the middle to start the inning. Johnson returned the favor to score Fleury. Buntin’s first collegiate hit was good for an RBI-single that scored Johnson. The game ended by means of the eight-run mercy rule when Marrone slammed Notre Dame’s fifth hit of the inning to score Buntin from second.
Fleury was 3-for-4 with three runs and Lux scored twice while driving in three runs on her home run.
Johnson and Marrone each drove in two runs as seven Irish players recorded at least one RBI and eight tallied at least one hit.
McKewon led the Bluejays with two hits.
Creighton’s Tara Otman (0-2) gave up four earned runs on five hits in 4.0 innings as Kylie Hovinga tossed the final 1.2 frames and was tagged for six earned runs on six hits.
Jackie Bowe (0-1) got the start for the Irish in her first collegiate appearance and kept the Ducks at bay for the first three frames. She was aided by spectacular defensive efforts by Jorgensborg and Alexa Maldonado, each of whom robbed Oregon of what would have been home runs. Fleury also snagged a Sam Pappas liner in the third to start an inning-ending double play.
Bowe lasted 4.2 innings for Notre Dame and gave up four earned runs on six hits. Classmate Brittany O’Donnell tossed 1.1 scoreless innings while finishing the contest for Notre Dame in relief.
Maldonado recorded Notre Dame’s first hit of the game, a two-out triple in the third inning. However, she soon became one of four Irish players left on base in the contest.
Fleury singled in the top half of the fourth and was joined on base after a Johnson sacrifice bunt was misplayed which left two Irish runners on the pond. Oregon’s Sam Skillingstad (1-0) stood strong and retired the next three Notre Dame offensive threats.
Kelsey Chambers belted a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth as twin sister Lindsey smacked a one-out home run in the fifth. The Ducks went on to score two more runs on an additional two hits to take a 4-0 lead.
Notre Dame put up a fight in the seventh, beginning with Marrone’s one-out single through the left side of the infield. She moved to second on a wild pitch and scored when Buntin delivered a two-out double down the leftfield line.
Skillingstad threw 7.0 frames of four-hit ball with one earned run and 10 strikeouts for the win.