March 14, 2008
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Riding a three-game win streak into Friday’s opening day of the Lowcountry College Softball Invitational, the University of Notre Dame softball team added a pair of non-conference victories to its win total by flashing its offensive firepower at the Charleston Southern University Softball Field.
Notre Dame (12-8) swept Towson, 7-0, and then turned around to pound host Charleston Southern, 16-2, in five innings. The team’s 23 scores on 25 hits marked the program’s highest run total over a two-game stretch since taking a pair of contests from Valparaiso on April 23, 2003, by scores of 11-0 and 15-1.
Saturday’s (March 15) action will begin at 8:30 a.m. (ET) for Notre Dame when they matchup with Campbell.
Brittney Bargar (9-5) earned the win against the Tigers (10-9) in the opener by throwing 5.0 innings of four-hit ball. She was replaced by Christine Ferrell, who stayed sharp by allowing only one ht in 2.0 innings. Towson starter Shannon Johnston (5-4) gave up four earned runs and five hits as she lasted only 2.0 innings.
The Irish banged out two runs in each of the first three innings followed by one score in the fourth. The defensive unit gave the team the support it needed to secure the shutout by stranding 10 Tiger runners on base.
Katie Laing and Linda Kohan notched two hits apiece while Ashley Ellis and Christine Lux both ripped two-run homers. Laing led the squad by scoring two runs, getting on base courtesy of a triple and her seventh double of the young season. Erin Marrone was good for an RBI-double.
In her first action of the season since returning from a preseason injury, Stephanie Mola entered the game in the second inning to run for Kohan and would score on Ellis’ dinger.
Sammi DiPompo led Towson with a pair of singles.
An astounding eight-run second inning against Charleston Southern (11-18) gave the Irish a 9-0 lead out of the gate as they would go on to match the highest single-game run total in the Deanna Gumpf era. Gumpf’s 2002 squad scratched out 16 runs in a shutout win over Oakland in 2002 – her first season at the helm of the program.
Marrone drew a walk to begin the epic second frame. She moved ahead one bag on Kohan’s sacrifice bunt and scored when Beth Northway roped a singled down the rightfield line. Ellis drove a singled off Buccaneer pitcher Jill Shondel (3-3) to leave two on base for the Irish, who were then down to their last out of the inning when Sarah Smith flied out to center. Sadie Pitzenberger wore a Shondel pitch to juice the bases for Katie Fleury. Fleury delivered a two-RBI single which was trailed by Laing’s two-RBI double down the leftfield line. Marrone singled in her second at-bat of the inning, as did Kohan and Northway.
The Irish continued to make it rain in the third by posting four runs on two hits. The rally was highlighted by Lux’s second longball of the day, which cleared the centerfield fence with more than plenty of room to spare to plate three runs and gave Notre Dame a 13-0 lead.
Northway begin the fourth inning with a double to left-center and scored when Ellis singled up the gut of the CSU defense. Shannon Kelly reached base on a fielder’s choice and scored when Pitzenberger singled to center. Pitzenberger tallied Notre Dame’s third run of the inning on a passed ball to put the finishing touches on her team’s offensive output for the day.
Irish hurler Jody Valdivia (3-3) continued her outstanding streak from the circle by allowing seven hits without an earned run in 5.0 innings to pick up the win. She got herself out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of third by inducing a Buccaneer fly to left before recording two of her seven strikeouts on the day.
Charleston Southern scratched out two runs in the top of the fifth.
Notre Dame totaled a season-high 14 hits in 25 official at-bats against CSU, marking the fifth time during the 2008 campaign that the team has recorded at least 10 hits in a game. Laing paced the Irish by finishing the day with five hits and five RBI. Ellis, Kohan, Fleury, and Northway each secured three hits across the two-game sweep. Eight of the team’s hits on the day went for extra bases.