March 18, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame softball team won its 12th consecutive home opener with a doubleheader sweep over Toledo at Melissa Cook Stadium on Wednesday. A 15-0 victory was trailed by a 9-1 win, and both non-conference games lasted just five innings.
The Irish evened their record to 10-10 while Toledo left with a 2-12 overall mark.
Christine Lux had five hits – two home runs and two doubles – to pace the Irish (10-10) for the day. Her 13 total bases yielded a single-day slugging average of 2.167. Dani Miller had two doubles and one home run in her home debut.
Next up for Notre Dame is a home twinbill against St. John’s on Sunday (March 22) to begin BIG EAST Conference play.
The Irish turned a double play to end the opening half of the first to start the afternoon, and then went to work with two outs against them in the bottom portion. Sadie Pitzenberger reached first on a Brooke Gates throwing error and trotted home on a Lux double. After Linda Kohan drew a walk, Miller knocked a three-run bomb in her first plate appearance in front of the home crowd.
Lux doubled home Pitzenberger in the second to give Notre Dame a 5-0 lead after Pitzenberger got on base with a lead-off double.
Four runs in the third buffered the Irish comfort zone to 9-0. Notre Dame used three hits and two Rocket errors to build upon its lead, highlighted by doubles from Miller and Beth Northway.
A six-spot in the fourth gave Notre Dame its highest run total of the season with 15 tally marks. Kasey O’Connor singled up the middle to get things started and Alexa Maldonado reached on a fielder’s choice back to the circle. Pitzenberger’s single crossed O’Connor, and Heather Johnson delivered a single to left two score a pair of runs. Lux’s three-run homer put the final touches on the scoreboard.
Brittney Bargar (7-4) faced the minimum 15 batters in the shutout effort. Kelly Hmiel singled in the second for the only Rocket hit against Bargar, who also struck out four. Hannah Rockhold (1-5) started the game and went 2.0 innings, only to give up five hits and five runs. Trisha Rons tossed the next 2.0 innings and gave up 10 earned runs on eight hits.
Pitzenberger was 3-for-4 with two RBI and scored four runs. Johnson and Miller had three RBI each while both players were trumped by Lux’s total of five.
Pitcher Brooke Gates helped her own cause with a solo home run in the top of the fourth, which was Toledo’s fourth hit of the game.
Lux answered with her second home run of the day in the home half of the inning to knot things at 1-1. Kohan smacked a single down the left field line and Brianna Jorgensborg chose to place her single down the right field line to plate the go-ahead run. After Kristina Wright was walked the bases found themselves loaded on a Maldonado single to left. Gates’ wild pitch scored one run, and Northway just missed out on a grand slam but settled for a base-clearing triple. Northway would put the Irish ahead, 7-1, by scoring on Johnson’s single to right. The runs kept coming when Kohan’s double bounced just under the foul pole in left to score two more. The nine-run output was the highest single-inning total of the season for the Irish.
Jody Valdivia (3-5) went on to earn the win after defueling the Rockets in the fifth. Valdivia threw 5.0 innings and gave up one earned run on four hits. She fanned nine batters. Gates (0-6) remained winless after she was battered for eight hits and seven earned runs in 3.2 innings.
Northway punched in a game-high three RBI with Lux, Kohan and Jorgensborg collecting multi-hit efforts.