April 9, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Thanks, Ivy Field.
The home of Notre Dame softball since the program’s inception in 1989 saw its final pair of games on Wednesday as the Irish swept Eastern Michigan in a non-conference doubleheader. Notre Dame finished with an all-time record of 288-48-2 (.854) within the friendly confines, including each of the four home games played on its turf in 2008.
Lux tied a school record with seven RBI in a single game to start the day, a mark set exactly two years prior by Meagan Ruthrauff against Pittsburgh. The sophomore went 3-for-3 in the five-inning affair and scored a run with a three-run homer in the fourth. She added two more RBI in game two and continued her hot streak with a 2-for-3 effort which included her second triple of the year.
The Irish (24-10 overall, 5-1 BIG EAST) wasted no time getting on the board after holding the Eagles (8-18 overall, 0-2 Mid-American) scoreless in the top of the first to begin the series. Katie Fleury was walked to start the frame and moved ahead a bag on Sarah Smith’s sacrifice. Katie Laing delivered an RBI double to left and Linda Kohan drew a walk, as Lux followed with a two-run double to deep left. The fourth run came courtesy of Ashley Ellis’ single through the right side of the infield which brought home Kohan.
The Notre Dame lead stretched to 7-0 after two frames when Laing singled home Fleury after the freshman started the inning with her second walk of the contest. Ellis was hit by a pitch which put two Irish on the basepaths when Lux singled to bring home two more scores.
Eastern Michigan put up one run in the fourth when Ashley Strauss singled up the middle and scored all the way from first on Han’s double to right-center. The score ended Irish pitcher Brittany Bargar’s streak of 57.1 consecutive innings pitched without allowing an earned run, dating back to a March 15 date at Charleston Southern. Bargar (18-6) went 4.0 innings and gave up that lone run along with three hits but fanned six to get the win. Kari Chambers (3-8) gave up three hits and four earned runs, recording only the first out of the game before she was pulled in favor of Michelle Hletko.
A three-run homer by Lux sailed over the scoreboard in right-center to make the count 10-1 in favor of the Irish in the fourth. Kohan walked and Ellis singled – which was her ninth hit in as many at-bats – prior to Lux’s fifth bomb of the season.
Laing and Ellis each finished with two hits. Ellis scored three times as Fleury, Laing and Kohan tacked on a pair of runs as well.
Valdivia (6-4) stepped her game up to finish off the night as her 14 strikeouts stands as the team-high for the season. The righty had previously struck out nine batters on three occasions earlier this season. After allowing an RBI double to Stacie Skodinski in the top of the second, Valdivia walked the bases loaded but was saved when Jenny Scherer flew out to Smith in foul territory down the leftfield line. Valdivia proceeded to allow only three Eagles on base after the third inning, striking out 10 of the final 14 batters she faced in the process.
Her counterpart, Jaclyn Caro (4-8), scattered eight Irish hits and gave up five earned runs – four of which came in the bottom of the fifth. The Irish managed a run in the bottom of the third to tie the game, 1-1, when Lux smacked a two-out single up the middle to score Fleury, but Smith was out on the ensuing throw to home from centerfield to wrap up the frame.
Four runs in the fifth gave Notre Dame all the room it needed to coast away with the win. Working with two outs against them, Smith doubled home Brianna Jorgensborg all the way from first for the inning’s initial score. After Laing singled up the gut to score Smith, Lux returned the favor with her triple to make it a 4-1 game. The final score was posted when Ellis’ single allowed Lux to score easily.
The doors to the new home of Irish softball, Melissa Cook Stadium, will open on Saturday (April 12) when Notre Dame hosts St. John’s in a BIG EAST Conference doubleheader. Stadium dedication ceremonies will be held at 9:30 a.m. (ET), with the game beginning at noon.
Live video, audio, and stats will be available at no cost on UND.com for the remaining home contests on Notre Dame’s schedule.