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Balmy Palm Springs awaits softball team

Justin Schuver | Friday, February 25, 2005

A week after flying out to California only to see rain cancel four of the five games they were scheduled to play, the Irish are hoping for a little more cooperation from nature this time around.

Notre Dame (4-2) is scheduled to play in the Palm Springs Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., this weekend in the team’s third straight road tournament. The Irish expect to face a wide variety of opponents, including three ranked teams.

The team’s 12-1 loss to Pacific was the worst loss for the Irish last season, but Notre Dame will have a chance for redemption this Saturday when they take on the No. 20 Tigers.

The Irish open with two games on Friday – against Loyola-Marymount and then a battle with No. 4 UCLA.

Notre Dame was scheduled to play UCLA last weekend, but that game was rained out in San Diego.

The Irish then face Pacific Saturday, followed by a game against Arizona State at 8 p.m. Notre Dame closes out the Classic with a battle against No. 6 Tennessee Sunday at 9 a.m.

Notre Dame opened its season with two losses – both against ranked teams – but has come back to rattle off four wins in a row, particularly thanks to outstanding pitching as the team has only scored 14 runs in those victories.

Senior starter Steffany Stenglein has been especially impressive on the mound, averaging 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. She also recently became just the third Notre Dame pitcher to amass 500 strikeouts for a career.

The Irish are scheduled to play three more tournaments on the road, before opening their home schedule with a matchup against Western Michigan March 23.