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ND Softball: Irish lose three of five games on Florida trip

Chris Doyen | Monday, February 25, 2008

A busy weekend for the Irish ended with a 5-2 loss to No. 7 Florida in the championship game of the Aquafina Invitational in Gainesville, Fla.

Gators pitcher Stacey Nelson struck out 13 in her 11th win of the season. The Gators scored the first five runs of the day, with the final three coming on a home run by Francesca Enea.

Irish sophomore Heather Johnson drove in two runs with a single in the sixth inning, but that was as close as the Irish would get. Junior Brittany Bargar pitched six innings and allowed four earned runs on seven hits in the loss.

The Irish dropped their first contest, 3-2, Friday to Gardner-Webb. Freshman starting pitcher Jody Valdivia pitched 3 and 2/3 innings, struck out seven and allowed three earned runs. The three runs would prove to be all Gardner-Webb would need. Johnson and Christine Lux drove in freshman Katie Fleury and senior Katie Laing, respectively, in the sixth inning, but the two runs were all the offense could muster in a losing effort.

The Irish won a defensive battle over North Florida, 1-0, later Friday. Bargar, who pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout ball in relief against Gardner-Webb, started the next contest against North Florida and pitched seven shutout innings and struck out seven batters.

North Florida loaded the bases in the bottom of the third, but Bargar got two groundouts to retire the side. Notre Dame’s only run came when sophomore Ashley Ellis scored from second on an RBI single from Fleury.

Valdivia earned her first win in an Irish uniform in a rematch with North Florida Saturday, another 1-0 victory. She pitched seven innings, issued only one walk, and struck out seven en route to the win. The lone run of the day came on an RBI from junior Linda Kohan that drove in senior Sarah Smith.

Bargar pitched well against the Gators in Saturday’s second contest, but Florida came back to win, 3-2. The Irish got out to a 2-0 lead on two runs from freshman Sadie Pitzenberger, but could not hold it.

The 2-3 weekend record moves the team’s overall record to 4-5. The Irish will be back in action when they face Pacific on March 1 to open the Worth Invitational in Fullerton, Calif.