Notre Dame travels to Providence and Georgetown this week.

Softball Regular Season Nearly Complete, Irish Back On Road

April 29, 2009

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame softball team has five games in four days this week with the opportunity to claim the BIG EAST Conference regular season title with a five-game sweep. Should both Notre Dame and DePaul win-out this week, the Irish would take the title after splitting an earlier doubleheader with the Blue Demons (Notre Dame outscored DePaul across the two games, therefore gaining the tie-breaker advantage).

But plenty of work awaits Notre Dame with a trip to Providence (16-31 overall, 8-11 BIG EAST) and the resumption of the back half of a March 28 doubleheader at Georgetown (14-28, 6-13). The Irish return home on Sunday (May 3) to face Louisville.

Notre Dame seeks its 11th BIG EAST regular season title, with its last coming in 2006.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish
34-14 overall / 15-3 BIG EAST
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Providence Friars
16-31 overall / 8-11 BIG EAST
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Thursday, April 30 • 12:30 p.m. (ET)
Raymond Field • Providence, R.I.
TV: Cox Sports • Live stats:

Georgetown Hoyas
14-28 overall / 6-13 BIG EAST
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Friday, May 1 • 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Guy Mason Field • Georgetown, Md.
Live stats:

One-Hitters …
• Notre Dame is receiving votes in the latest NFCA Top 25 poll … it is the fourth time this season the Irish have received votes in the poll.
• The Irish have won 13 of their last 14 and 24 of their last 27 games.
• Notre Dame continues to litter the national statistical rankings: batting average (.296 / 43rd), ERA (1.98 / 33rd), runs per game (5.33 / 29th), win-loss pct. (.708 / 34th), home runs per game (1.08 / 19th), doubles per game (1.42 / 42nd) and slugging pct. (.495 / 18th) … individually, Brittney Bargar is 48th with a 1.61 ERA while Christine Lux is 33rd with a .750 slugging pct. and 31st with 13 home runs … Heather Johnson ranks eighth overall with four sacrifice flies.
• A .294 batting average in BIG EAST play puts the Irish at third among league teams … Notre Dame is second in slugging pct. (.498) and third in on-base pct. (.374) … the team is tied for second with Louisville with 24 home runs and first with six sacrifice flies … the pitching squad ranks second with a 1.82 ERA while holding opposing teams to a .210 clip … Irish defenders have put together a .972 fielding pct., good for second in the league … Lux is third overall with a .429 batting average and second with a .857 slugging pct. … she is also tied for second with six home runs … Jody Valdivia is holding batters to a .173 average, second-best among pitchers … her 1.29 ERA ranks fourth.
• Last Sunday’s doubleheader at Melissa Cook Stadium drew a record crowd of 782 fans … it was the highest total in the facility’s history … the fans were on hand for Notre Dame’s Breast Cancer Awareness Day, and the team raised over $1,000 by auctioning off commemorative pink adidas game-worn jerseys.

It’s Always Miller Time …
Dani Miller saw her 20-game hit streak come to an end last week against North Dakota State (April 22) … previously, the last time she went hitless was a match against St. John’s (March 22) … two weeks ago she led Notre Dame with seven RBI and a .556 slugging pct. … of her six hits she had one double and one home run, both of which came against BIG EAST opponents … Miller currently has a .343 batting average and a .676 slugging pct. … over half of her hits (18) have been for extra bases (10 doubles, eight home runs) … Miller’s school-record 20-game hit streak was the longest of any BIG EAST player this season.

Bound for a Home Run …
One long-standing record may be broken by the end of the 2009 season … the Irish hit 54 home runs in 61 games in 2002 … Notre Dame now has 52 home runs through 48 games this season … of the 2009 total, only five of those home runs were hit during the first 14 games … 15 games have been marked by multiple home runs, with a season-high four coming against both Northern Illinois (April 1) and Connecticut (April 11).

Behind Brittney’s Arm …
Brittney Bargar was named the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week on April 20 … she held BIG EAST opponents to just one earned run in 14.0 innings for the week … Bargar went 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA including a shutout against league foes … she struck out eight while surrendering just one hit for extra-bases … in three overall appearances, Bargar posted a 0.33 ERA with a second shutout at Wisconsin … she struck out eight Badgers in that midweek affair … Bargar also walked just two batters in 21.0 innings.

Ode To Jody …
Jody Valdivia is a perfect 7-0 against BIG EAST teams this season … in 52.2 innings she has give up just 11 earned runs with 53 strikeouts while holding opposing teams to a .178 batting average.

The .400 Club …
Both Erin Marrone (.412) and Christine Lux (.415) have batting averages greater than .400 in league play … 11 of Lux’s 22 hits in league play have been good for extra bases, including six home runs.

Almost Perfect …
Notre Dame softball team split an April 22 non-conference doubleheader with North Dakota State … the 2-1 game-one loss was the first home non-BIG EAST Conference defeat for the Irish since 2007, breaking a 14-0-1 (10-0-1 at Melissa Cook Stadium, 4-0 at Ivy Field) streak for Notre Dame … the Irish were previously a perfect 8-0 on their turf for the season against non-conference foes.

Streak Ends, Streak Begins …
A two-run dandy by Linda Kohan against North Dakota State in game two of the April 22 doubleheader snapped a three-game homerless streak for Notre Dame … it was the longest drought without a home run since the second week of the season.

Badgered Seven Times …
Notre Dame got seven hits from seven different players during the second game of a doubleheader at Wisconsin (April 14).

Spearing the Crusaders …
Three different Notre Dame players homered against Valparaiso (April 9) as the Irish swept the Crusaders by scores of 11-0 and 17-9 … Dani Miller jacked two home runs – including her second grand slam of the season – to bring her season total to six, and Linda Kohan delivered a game-one home run that gave the senior six round trippers on the year … it was Kohan’s third home run in as many games … a pair of home runs in game two by Christine Lux brought her career total to 30 and tied her for fourth on the school’s all-time list … the 17 runs in game two marked a season high and was one score shy of the school-record 18 set against Robert Morris in 1994 … Brittney Bargar tossed a one-hitter to start the day and did not allow a single walk … after a first-inning Valparaiso single, Bargar retired 18 straight batters and recorded seven strikeouts along the way … Notre Dame recorded 16 hits in game two.

Sharing With Demons …
One of the best BIG EAST Conference softball rivalries got better after an April 8 doubleheader with DePaul … the Irish and Blue Demons exchanged a number of blows before splitting the twinbill at Melissa Cook Stadium … Christine Lux had five hits across the two games with a pair of home runs including a game-one shot that cleared the right field fence and landed on Twyckenham Drive, a 334-foot shot that would have sailed the right field fence at Frank Eck Stadium, the home of Notre Dame’s baseball team … both Lux and Linda Kohan sent home runs out of the park in each of the two games as the teams combined for eight home runs on the day.

Homering the Huskies …
Speaking of home runs, the Irish hit three in one inning against Northern Illinois … Linda Kohan, Heather Johnson and Katie Fleury homered in the fourth inning to spark an Irish scoring fest of nine unanswered runs … it was the third time Notre Dame recorded three home runs in one inning, with the first two occurring in 2008 … Kohan, Fleury and Christine Lux homered in the same inning during a home game versus Wisconsin (April 16) and the same trio duplicated the feat exactly one month later in an NCAA Tournament bout with Kent State … the last time Notre Dame hit four home runs in a single game was against the Badgers last season.

Northway Slugs Way On Top of BIG EAST …
Senior Beth Northway was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week on March 30 … the designated player earned the honor after her consistent bat helped the Irish run their winning streak to seven games with three conference wins at Georgetown (March 28) and USF (March 29) … Northway came through in pinch-hitting duties for Notre Dame with nine hits in 16 at-bats as the Irish posted a 6-0 record for the week … Northway hit for a .562 batting average with a 1.125 slugging percentage in the six contests, including a pair of home runs and three doubles … she had four multi-hit games, scoring seven runs and collecting seven walks … Northway connected for four hits in seven at-bats at USF to help Notre Dame secure its first ever sweep of the Bulls … at the time of the honor, Northway’s .500 batting average in league play was tied for sixth overall among BIG EAST batters while her 1.200 slugging percentage tied for first … the Kentwood, Mich., native began the 2009 campaign as a nonstarter and has emerged as one of the Irish’s most productive hitters this season … after her sophomore season she underwent shoulder surgery and converted her throwing technique from right- to left-handed.

Rising From the Pacific …
Seven unanswered runs helped Notre Dame dig itself out of an early 3-0 deficit to post a 7-3 victory over Pacific in the second day of the Judi Garman Classic … Christine Lux, Katie Fleury and Beth Northway each homered as Notre Dame recorded nine hits in the contest … Brittney Bargar got the complete-game win with five strikeouts while giving up six hits, and the Irish defense stood strong to help strand seven Tigers on base.

Booming the Sooners …
Notre Dame downed No. 9 Oklahoma, 4-3, on the opening day of the Judi Garman Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton … the Irish sat on a 3-1 lead but committed three errors in the top of the seventh, though Oklahoma saved its lone error for the bottom of the seventh to help give Notre Dame the win … the victory was Notre Dame’s first against a top-10 opponent since downing No. 5 Tennessee in 2005.

Extra Jorgensborg, Please …
Brianna Jorgensborg was named the BIG EAST Conference softball player of the week on March 9 … Jorgensborg put together one of the most prolific slugging stretches in Notre Dame history at the UNLV Invitational and finished the four-game invite with a 1.889 slugging pct. which came courtesy of three triples and two home runs in nine at-bats … her .556 batting average led Notre Dame throughout the weekend … Jorgensborg tripled in three consecutive contests, becoming the first player to accomplish the feat in the 21-year history of the program … she also had two home runs.

Holy Toledo!
In a home-opening doubleheader sweep against Toledo (w, 15-0 / w, 9-1): Notre Dame moved to 19-2 all-time in home openers, winning its last 12 … the two losses came in 1992 and 1997 … the Irish posted the most runs in a home opener (15) and the most runs in a doubleheader (24) since 2003 … first back-to-back five-inning wins since 2004 … first five-inning home opener … first home opener at Melissa Cook Stadium … Sadie Pitzenberger scored a career-high four runs in game one against Toledo … Christine Lux had five hits – including two home runs and two doubles – to pace the Irish … 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.

Holy, Holy Toledo!
Trailing by a 1-0 count in game two against Toledo, the Irish put up a nine-spot in the bottom of the fourth to secure the victory … ironically, Notre Dame had scored a total of nine runs in the fourth inning of its last 19 games combined, doubling that output against the Rockets … the Irish scored seven runs in a single inning against Sacramento State (Feb. 21) earlier this season … last year, Notre Dame scored nine runs in one inning against Charleston Southern (March 14) only to score 10 – tying the school record – in the third frame during a rematch with the Buccaneers one day later.

Been Around the World …
An 18-game road trip that included stops in four states (Alabama, California, North Carolina and Nevada) and featured six ranked opponents came to an end against Toledo on March 18 … since starting the season at No. 1 Alabama, Notre Dame has faced No. 5 Stanford, No. 5 UCLA, No. 9 Oklahoma, No. 12 Arizona and No. 6 Arizona State.

Three Times As Nice …
UC Santa Barbara (March 8) 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 Katie Fleury at second who relayed the favor to Christine Lux at first to end the game in not-so-routine fashion … it was the first triple play in Notre Dame history.

Maldonado In Palo Alto …
First-year outfielder Alexa Maldonado had her coming-out party at Stanford’s Nike Invitational … after not recording a single hit in her first four games with the Irish, Maldonado went 5-for-10 with a pair of multi-hit affairs against Stanford and Sacramento State … she scored a pair of runs and hit two triples over the four-game stretch at The Farm.

Flying Past the Hornets …
Notre Dame’s offense exploded during a Feb. 21 affair versus Sacramento State … in the 11-0 blanking of the Hornets, Notre Dame buzzed through with a seven-run seventh inning courtesy of six hits in the frame … each of the six hits were singles … last season, Notre Dame posted totals of 10 and eight runs in separate innings against Charleston Southern … Heather Johnson had a career-high four hits in four at-bats and scored her first run of the season against Sacramento State … she also drove home four scores.