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ND Softball: Squad set for last three games

Molly Sammon | Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Only three Big East match-ups stand between Notre Dame and the upcoming conference tournament. The Irish will take on both Providence – in a doubleheader – and Georgetown this weekend with hopes of improving their conference record before the tournament.

“Playing any Big East team helps prepare us for the tournament, because we know they will bring their best game against us,” Irish coach Deanna Gumpf said.

Gumpf said she is hoping for a strong offensive performance from her team this weekend.

“We have hitters throughout our entire line up that can change the game in one swing,” Gumpf said. “Our hitters also have the strength and ability to come back at any time, even if we are down in a game.”

Senior outfielder Beth Northway and junior infielder Christine Lux are tied for the team lead in hitting with .367 and .356 averages, respectfully. Also consistently making a name for herself at the plate is freshman third baseman Dani Miller, sporting a batting average of .343.

“Our defense is putting in the hard work day in and day out to become a better defensive unit, and they are not satisfied with anything less than perfect,” Northway said.

Defensively, the Irish (34-13, 15-3) are making great strides. Both starting pitchers, sophomore Jodi Valdivia (2.56 ERA) and senior Brittney Bargar (1.62) have lead the Irish to a strong season.

“Our best defensive quality is our pitching,” Lux said. “Both pitchers have been our defensive rock this entire season, they make sure to keep us in the ball game, and put us in a great position to win.”

While Georgetown (14-29, 6-13) and Providence (25-25-2, 8-12) are both behind the Irish in the conference standings, Gumpf’s squad isn’t looking past their opponents.

“Both Providence and Georgetown are not teams to be underestimated,” Lux said. “However, as long as we focus on Notre Dame softball and play our game, we should come back with 3 solid wins.”

Northway echoed her teammate, saying if the Irish just concentrated on their own play, the wins would follow.

“I think we just need to keep focusing on what we’ve been doing, continuing to get lots of extra swings in to stay comfortable at the plate, and defensively just keep working the fundamentals every day to stay sharp fielding,” Northway said.