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ND Women’s Softball: Irish head to Kalamazoo

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, March 18, 2008

After competing in tournaments in Arizona, Florida, California, and South Carolina over the past month, Notre Dame will head to Kalamazoo, Mich., to take on Western Michigan University.

Irish coach Deanna Gumpf hopes that the switch to a colder climate will do nothing to cool off her team’s red hot hitting. The Irish scored 46 runs in five games at last weekend’s Lowcountry Invitational in Charleston, S.C., including a 16-2 thrashing of Charleston Southern.

“We’ve gotten better offensively and that showed this past weekend,” Gumpf said. “We hit the ball much better.”

While she was satisfied with the offense’s improvement, Gumpf said the team still has work to do on defense. She credited the defensive problems to the fact that the team has only been able to practice outside at Notre Dame twice this season. The weather has kept the team inside where they have spent most of their practice time focusing on hitting. “We’re doing the best we can to get in reps,” Gumpf said. “But once we get on dirt every single day I think we’ll get a lot better.”

One strong spot when the Irish are on the field has been the pitching of junior Brittney Bargar. Bargar has posted an 11-5 record so far this season along with a miniscule 0.89 ERA.

“She’s getting smarter,” Gumpf said of Bargar. “She has a very confident air about her.”

Gumpf described the Broncos as “scrappy.” She pointed to Western Michigan’s speed and ability to hit the long ball as two aspects her team would have to shut down in order to be successful.

“Playing them at home isn’t easy,” Gumpf said. “Their strength this year is their offense and our pitchers will have to do a good job.”