Senior Sarah Smith and the Irish will start the Worth Invitational on Saturday against Pacific.

Worth Invitational Begins Saturday For Notre Dame Softball

Feb. 29, 2008

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Notre Dame softball head coach Deanna Gumpf and her squad will head to Fullerton,Calif., for the Worth Invitational to begin a 10-day West Coast swing for the Irish. Gamesagainst Pacific and UC Davis on Saturday (March 1) will be followed by a March 2 datewith Cal State Fullerton.

“I’m excited to get the girls back on the field,” said Gumpf. “After having played ninegames on the road, we saw what we needed to work on to improve our overall game.Playing in California against great competition will give us the opportunity to see how farwe’ve come since opening day, and it will make us a better team in both the short- andlong-run this season.”

Notre Dame carries a 4-5 overall record into the tournament after posting a 2-3 markduring last week’s Aquafina Invitational, including a pair of losses to No. 7 Florida.Fullerton, ranked as high as 17th earlier in the season, enters the weekend with a 8-6-1record including a win over fifth-ranked Oklahoma, whom they took down 10-2 in fiveinnings. They have also posted wins over St. John’s and Michigan in addition to playingto a draw with No. 24 Texas. Pitcher Christine Hiner – who tossed a one-hit shutoutagainst Santa Clara (Feb. 10) – leads the Titans from the circle with a 3-2 record and a2.42 ERA.

With a 5-10 record, Pacific has dropped three games to ranked opponents this season(No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 7 LSU, and No. 13 Stanford). They will play a pair of team’s on Notre Dame’s 2008 schedule – Florida and Louisville – before squaring off with the Irish. Four players in the Tigers’ lineup boast batting averages of .300 or better, led by Kiki Munoz hitting at a .378 clip.

UC Davis posted a 4-0 win against BIG EAST member Seton Hall (Feb. 15) and will enter the Worth Invitational with a 9-7 mark. The team is collectively hitting .265 as 18 of their 103 hits have gone for doubles.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(4-5 overall, 0-0 BIG EAST)

Pacific Tigers
(5-10 overall, 0-0 Big West)

UC Davis Aggies
(9-7 overall, 0-0 Big West)

Cal State Fullerton
(8-6-1 overall, 0-0 Big West)

Worth Invitational • March 1-2
Cal State Fullerton • Fullerton, Calif.
Live Stats:

Making a Splash at the Aquafina Invite …A morning loss to Gardner-Webb in the two team’s first ever meeting was followed bya shutout win over North Florida for Notre Dame on the opening day of the AquafinaInvitational … Brittney Bargar provided 3.1 innings of relief work from the circle againstGardner-Webb, scattering two hits without permitting a run … the Irish scored two runsin the sixth inning after punching in four hits … both Sadie Pitzenberger and Katie Fleuryhad two hits apiece to pace Notre Dame … Barger came back and threw 7.0 innings ofshutout ball and struck out seven Lady Ospreys in Notre Dame’s first win over NorthFlorida … Katie Laing led Notre Dame with two hits, and Christine Lux added a double… freshman Jody Valdivia and Bargar combined to pitch 13.0 innings without surrendering an earned run on the second day of the invite … Valdivia picked up her first career win in an Irish uniform by going 7.0 innings against North Florida, giving up only one hit while fanning seven batters … then after holding No. 7 Florida scoreless through five frames, Bargar let a trio of unearned runs cross the plate in the sixth despite giving up only five hits and two walks in the contest … Notre Dame held a 2-0 lead over the undefeated Gators until that three-run sixth gave Florida its come-from-behind win … Notre Dame began its first inning against the Gators with Pitzenberger reaching base after getting hit by a Stacey Nelson pitch … Pitzenberger advanced to third on a Gator throwing error, and would score when Laing grounded out to short with one out … that score snapped Nelson’s 40.0 inning scoreless streak which dated back to a Feb. 10 game against South Florida … three runs on three hits and one Irish error gave Florida its lead in the bottom of the sixth … the Irish totaled five hits in game two against UNF’s Devyn Findley, with two of those coming off the bat of Linda Kohan who finished the night a perfect 2-for-2 at the dish … the junior also registered the team’s lone RBI, a fourth-inning single that plated Sarah SmithHeather Johnson and Erin Marrone each recorded doubles for Notre Dame, who managed the win despite stranding nine runners on base … day three featured the Irish and Gators in the tournament’s championship game … the Gators turned away the Irish with a 5-2 win … Smith recorded Notre Dame’s first hit of the afternoon – a single to shallow left – to leadoff the sixth … a single up the gut of the Gator defense by Pitzenberger put two on the pond, and Fleury drew a walk to juice the bags … Nelson fired in a double-play ball to relieve two Irish players, but Johnson delivered a two-out single to left that scored a pair of runs for Notre Dame … Pitzenberger had five hits over the course of the tournament to lead the Irish, while Johnson posted a team-high three RBI.notre notes

Laing Shines In Homecoming …Senior second baseman Katie Laing earned the first BIG EAST Conference Softball Player of the Week honor for the 2008 season (Feb. 18) … Laing, a native of Tempe, Ariz., recorded a team-best batting average (.429), slugging percentage (.714), on-base percentage (.500) and RBI total (4) over the four-game stretch … she totaled 10 bases on the weekend and had multi-hit performances in the 6-5 loss to Western Kentucky and the4-3 win over California in front of her hometown crowd … against the Golden Bears,Laing recorded a two-run homer to put Notre Dame on the board early in the contest,and then knocked a walk-off double to drive in the game-winning run in the bottomof the seventh inning … now with 45 career doubles, Laing is four shy of tying MeaganRuthrauff’s (2003-06) school record.

Bend It Like Bargar …Junior Brittney Bargar made three appearances and logged 18.1 innings of work to carrya 1.91 ERA for Notre Dame during the Kajikawa Classic to earn a seat on the BIG EASTWeekly Honor Roll (Feb. 18) … she struck out 23 batters over that stretch and earnedtwo wins while giving up only nine hits through three games … Bargar helped the Irishto a comeback win over California after punching in 4.1 innings of relief time and gaveup only two hits without a run … she also held No. 3 Texas A&M to only four hits in acomplete-game effort … she opened the season against Utah with a 6-2 win, limiting theUtes to only three hits.

First Time for Everything …For the first time in Notre Dame history, the Irish scored four runs in a season’s openinginning when they accomplished the feat in the top of the first against Utah … the previous record of three was set against Indiana in the 1990 season opener … the four-run output in a single inning was the team’s first since they racked up five scores in the top of the third against No. 12 DePaul (May 11) at last season’s BIG EAST Tournament … five freshmen earned starting nods at some point during the Kajikawa Classic … Ashley Ellis’ first career homerun – a deep solo shot to center – came during the seventh inning to wrap up Notre Dame’s scoring against the Utes … in her first career at-bat, freshman Brianna Jorgensborg laced a three-RBI double down the rightfield line.

It’s O.K. To Steal …The Irish swiped six stolen bases at the Kajikawa Classic, as freshman Sadie Pitzenbergerwas a perfect 3-for-3 in taking free bags … graduated-senior Stephanie Brown led theteam with 13 stolen bases in 2007.

Mutli-Tasking …Both Sadie Pitzenberger and Katie Laing registered a pair of multi-hit efforts during theKajikawa Classic … Laing had two hits against both California and Western Kentucky … in her first collegiate contest, Pitzenberger lit Utah for three hits and snagged a pair ofdoubles against the Hilltoppers … four players – Pitzenberger, Laing, Heather Johnson,and Brianna Jorgensborg – had multi-RBI performances over the four-game stretch aswell.

Let the Sun Shine …Although the temperature was not quite ideal for a season-opening tournament in Arizona, the Irish squad was nonetheless ready to rip out and relish the opportunity to play outdoors after practicing in the indoor Loftus Center on campus for the past severalweeks … Notre Dame wasted no time lighting its offensive fire, exploding for four runson three hits in the top half of the first inning to open the season against Utah … eachof the nine batters in the lineup saw action at the dish in that frame … the Irish defenseturned around and shutout the Utes for four innings, also leaving them without a hit during that stretch.

Take a Load Off …It’s great to open a fresh season with a win, and head coach Deanna Gumpf has now donethat on three occasions in seven tries with the Irish following a 6-2 triumph over Utah …the program has won over 250 contest since Gumpf’s first career game as Notre Dame’shead coach was against the top-ranked team in the nation … Notre Dame fell in that duelto No. 1 Arizona, 3-0, in Tucson during the Arizona Pepsi Classic.

Johnson Comes Up Big …With their backs against the wall and trailing Western Kentucky, 5-3, the Irish needed a lift in the top of the seventh to stay alive … Sadie Pitzenberger led the frame with a double but was stranded on base after the next two batters were retired … facing a 2-2 count, Heather Johnson crushed a two-run homer to left-center to tie the game and keep the Irish pulse beating … it was the third homerun of the sophomore’s career.