March 7, 2009
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – An eager Notre Dame softball team that had not played a complete game in two weeks strutted to a two-contest sweep Saturday at the UNLV Invitational. The Irish posted a combined seven runs in the opening inning of each contest and totaled 12 runs on 17 hits for the day at Eller Media Stadium.
A 7-0 win over Texas Tech dropped the Red Raiders’ record to 6-15 while the Irish downed UC Santa Barbara (11-10) with a 5-2 effort which was capped off with a triple play. The Irish (5-5) face Texas Tech on Sunday at 9:00 a.m. (PT) and host UNLV at 11:15 a.m.
Sadie Pitzenberger chipped a single to left and Alexa Maldonado drew a walk in the top of the first against the Red Raiders, and both runners moved ahead on Katie Fleury’s sacrifice bunt. Heather Johnson broke off a two-RBI double to right and later scored on a passed ball.
Brianna Jorgensborg’s first triple of the day came in the second inning, but she later became one of six Irish runners left on base in the contest.
The fifth frame saw Pitzenberger’s second lead-off single come before by a Fleury walk. Pitzenberger and Fleury would score when Linda Kohan put the metal on a two-RBI double down the left field line.
Two more runs in the sixth came when Jorgensborg added a two-run home run that fought against the wind to clear the left field fence. Pitzenberger, who finished the game 3-for-4 and with two runs scored, singled up the middle in the inning as well.
Six different Notre Dame players crossed the plate with Johnson, Kohan and Jorgensborg each adding a pair of RBI.
The three Irish multi-run innings helped Brittney Bargar (4-1) record her second shutout in as many outings. She went 7.0 frames, gave up three hits and fanned seven batters while walking only one. Texas Tech’s Alex Watkins (0-5) took the loss after going 5.1 innings, surrendering seven runs on seven hits.
A four-spot in the first inning gave Notre Dame all it needed to complete the sweep for the day. Johnson drove in a run and Kohan followed with a three-run bomb to center. Jorgensborg added a triple at the end of the inning, which was one of Notre Dame’s five hits in the opening stanza.
UC Santa Barbara cut the Irish lead to 4-2 in the top of the sixth when both Amanda Ziegler and Jackie Conlin delivered singles that were each good for one RBI. The Gauchos, who had two runs on four hits in the sixth, loaded the bases with two outs before Bargar stepped in for Jody Valdivia (1-4) to put out the flames.
Pitzenberger slapped home Kasey O’Connor in the final frame to give Notre Dame a 5-2 advantage heading into the bottom half to record the last of her six hits for the day. UC Santa Barbara had two runners on base in its half of the seventh when Tiffany Wright flew out to Alexa Maldonado in center field, who started the first leg of a triple play by throwing to Fleury at second who relayed the favor to Christine Lux at first to end the game in not-so-routine fashion.
The win went to Validvia, who tossed 5.2 innings of eight-hit ball while giving up two earned runs. She struck out seven batters. Bargar finished the final 1.1 innings and allowed one hit without a run to record the save.