May 22, 2010
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Notre Dame catcher Kristina Wright gunned down China Frost in an attempt to steal second in the top of the seventh to record the final out of Saturday’s 6-5 softball win over Wright State for the second-seeded Irish at Michigan’s Alumni Field. Fourth-seeded Wright State (31-30-1) rallied from a 6-1 deficit by scoring four runs in the sixth inning, but No. 24 Notre Dame (47-12) ultimately held on to advance to the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional championship game against No. 2 Michigan at 1:00 p.m. (ET) Sunday.
Notre Dame out-hit Wright State, 10-9, and Jody Valdivia (38-6) went the distance to earn the win from the circle. Katie Fleury, Heather Johnson, Christine Lux and Alexa Maldonado each had two hits for the Irish. The first four batters in the Notre Dame lineup recorded one RBI apiece.
Frost had two hits for Wright State, as did Mollie Berry and Briauna Birl.
Wright State’s Sharon Palma (9-12) scattered seven hits in 3.2 innings. Notre Dame blasted Palma for six earned runs – including four in the fourth inning – and tagged Melanie Heyne for three hits over the final 2.1 frames.
Johnson singled in the first but Notre Dame had to wait until the second inning to get on the board. Brianna Jorgensborg was walked with one out, stole second, moved to third on Wright’s infield grounder and scored when Amy Buntin laced a single to left. Maldonado laid down a bunt for a base hit with two away and Buntin scored when Sadie Pitzenberger was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Frost singled in the fourth and scored on Berry’s double to right-center.
Leading by a 2-1 margin, Notre Dame posted four runs in the fourth. Wright doubled to right and was relieved on the basepaths by Kelsey Thornton. Thornton scored on a wild pitch and Maldonado came home on Fleury’s bloop single to right. Pitzenberger notched a sacrifice and Johnson ripped a double to right to plate Fleury. Lux added a single to center to bring home Johnson.
Fleury kept two Raiders on base in the fifth with a two-out diving snag. Fleury had six putouts at shortstop with Johnson adding three more at third. Maldonado had three solid saves in center.
Wright State scored four times in the sixth, as Birl and Kristen Bradshaw each had two-RBI singles.
Fleury and Lux had singles in a scoreless sixth inning for the Irish.
Frost singled to center to begin the seventh. But Justine Shilt and Jamie Perkins both flew out prior to Wright sending a sniper to second to catch Frost stealing.