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ND Softball: Team opens new field by going 1-1

Jared Jedick | Monday, April 14, 2008

The Irish earned a split to open up newly constructed Melissa Cook Stadium in this weekend’s double-header against Villanova. The Irish lost the first game 4-1 and winning the second 10-5.

The win was Notre Dame’s 200th all-time regular season victory in the Big East conference, bringing its record to 200-32 in Big East play.

Saturday’s intended stadium-opener double-header against Rutgers was cancelled due to rain. Those games have been rescheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. today at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Opening ceremonies were conducted on Saturday despite the pouring rain and featured remarks from athletic director Dr. Kevin White, coach Deanna Gumpf, senior captain Katie Laing, Lisa Hoffman, and Paul and Lisa Demo, the parents of Melissa Cook. The site was officially blessed and dedicated by University president Fr. John Jenkins.

“The ceremonies were perfect,” Gumpf said. “It was exciting and we truly appreciated it.”

However, the celebration ended quickly for the Irish (25-11, 6-2 Big East), who were out-played in all facets of the game Gumpf said in their 4-1 loss to the Wildcats (15-17-1, 4-8 Big East).

“They out-pitched us and the out-hit us,” Gumpf said. “When you get out-played like that, you cannot really expect to have a chance to win the game.”

The Wildcats jumped on the Irish early, putting three runs on the board in the second inning against junior Brittney Bargar (18-7). Bargar was charged with the loss, giving up four runs on eight hits and striking out seven.

The Irish bats were also cold in the first game, with their only run coming in the bottom of the first. Laing notched the first hit in the new stadium with her RBI single to knock in freshman Katie Fleury.

“[Villanova] pitcher [junior Laura Determan] did a great job for them today,” Gumpf said. “She was in a lot of pressure situations and she was able to work out of it.”

The second game saw a turnaround for the Irish, who finally saw their bats come alive after falling behind by two runs in the first inning.

With the bases loaded, junior third baseman Linda Kohan knocked a ball to the fence, bringing in three runs.

“That was our first really hard hit ground ball of the day,” Gumpf said. “Kohan came up with a big hit when we needed it and that lifted us up a little bit.”

Notre Dame added more in the fourth, with six runners crossing the plate for the Irish. The team batted around, with freshman Erin Marrone getting a clutch two-out hit.

“They walked [Kohan] to get to Marrone and she did exactly what we needed her to do,” Gumpf said. “That was the biggest hit of the day.”

The Irish added an insurance run in the sixth on a Villanova error that scored sophomore utility player Christine Lux from third.

Freshman Jody Valdivia started the second game but was pulled after 1-and-1/3 innings after giving up six hits and four earned runs in favor of Bargar. Bargar stepped up and allowed only one more run for the remainder of the game.

“Bargar and Valdivia have been picking each other up all year,” Gumpf said. “They both know that the other will keep on fighting and rebound from bad outings.”

The Irish have a full docket of games this week, starting with the makeup double-header against Rutgers today at 11 a.m. at Melissa Cook Stadium before traveling to Evanston, Illinios, to take on Northwestern Tuesday. The Irish will then come back home on Wednesday for a game against Wisconsin at 4 p.m.