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ND Softball: Team splits games at Nike Invitational

Molly Sammon | Monday, February 23, 2009

Notre Dame went 2-2 over the weekend spent at Stanford University’s Nike Invitational, its second tournament of the young season. The Irish (3-4) had two wins against Sacramento State University, two losses against the No. 5 Stanford Cardinal and a rain-out cancellation against Western Kentucky.

Friday proved to be the best day of the tournament for the Irish, as neither of the day’s pitchers, senior Brittney Bargar and sophomore Jody Valdivia, yielded an earned run.

“It felt good, and it was nice to get out there, having everything working and good pitches,” Bargar said. “It made the game more in control, in my hands.”

The first game of the invitational was a 4-1 win over Sacramento State. A strong offensive third inning, contained crucial hits from senior Linda Kohan, freshman Alexa Maldonado and junior Christine Lux.

The second game on Friday was a 2-0 defeat from Stanford University. Notre Dame almost had a chance to come back in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases, but were unable to take advantage of the situation.

On the second day of play, The Irish took on the same two teams in hopes of maintaining their proved dominance over the Sacramento State Hornets, and getting a little revenge over the Cardinal. In the 5-2 loss to Stanford, Valdivia let up five earned runs in four innings. Offensively, Maldonado, freshman Sadie Pitzenberger and sophomores Erin Marrone and Katie Fleurry each had hits, leading to the two Irish runs of the game, both scored by Maldonado.

“We gave up some big hits in big situations,” Bargar said. “In both games, we just came up a little short.”

Team morale turned around later in the day, as the Irish defeated the Hornets once again, this time an 11-0 rout. Marrone hit her first home run of the season, and junior infielder Heather Johnson had four RBIs.

“Every single girl down the line was making solid contact,” Bargar said.

Due to excessive rain, the scheduled Sunday game against Western Kentucky was terminated just short of three scoreless innings.

“We need all the little pieces of our game to get together more,” Marrone said of the coming week’s practices. “This week it’s a matter of getting everything to click in all the different areas.”

The next stop for the team is the Wolfpack Challenge in Raleigh, North Carolina, where they will take on Cansius, Buffalo and the home team, North Carolina State.