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ND Softball: Irish open home slate with sweep

Molly Sammon | Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Notre Dame opened its home schedule by scoring 18 runs in a doubleheader sweep of Eastern Michigan, as the Irish posted wins of 9-0 and 9-3 at Melissa Cook Stadium Tuesday.

“I thought we came out really strong today,” junior infielder Erin Marrone said. “It was nice to be able to score a lot of runs, score first and come out with a ton of energy.”

After playing 20 consecutive games on the road to open the season, Marrone said the Irish (19-5) were glad to be back home.

“We love our stadium and our fans, and I think for a lot of players, you really get to feel the spirit of playing for Notre Dame on your own home field,” Marrone said. “It’s really good for team morale.”

The Irish shut the Eagles down offensively in the first game of the day, a 9-0 rout that lasted only five innings.

Junior Jody Valdivia pitched the first contest and earned her 13th straight win for the Irish.
Offensively, the Irish took early control of the game.

“They threw a couple of different pitchers at us, but we hit them all and scored in almost every inning,” Marrone said.

Junior Sadie Pitzenberger had three hits, including a triple, and senior Heather Johnson drove in four runners before the conclusion of the second game to lead the Notre Dame offense.

In the second game, the Eagles fought back harder offensively, but Irish pitchers Brittany O’Donnell and Shannon Kelly held Eastern Michigan to three runs and five hits as the Irish won 9-3.

O’Donnell earned the win, her fifth of the season, after giving up two hits in five innings of work. During that time the Irish were able to take a comfortable 9-0 lead.

The two innings in relief by Kelly, a junior, marked her first appearance on the mound this season.

“[The Eagles] were tough and scrappy,” Marrone said. “They don’t have big power hitters, but they find a way to score runs, whether it’s scoring bases and stringing hits together.”

Though Eastern Michigan took an early lead, the Irish responded quickly with home runs by sophomore Kristina Wright and senior Christine Lux, her seventh of the season.

“[Eastern Michigan] threatened until the very end,” Marrone said. “Our pitchers and defense did great, but they did a great job keeping us on our toes.”

Next up, the Irish will play another doubleheader Wednesday at home against Toledo beginning at 4 p.m.

“Weekday doubles headers are very tiring, they’re long days, but it’s always fun to play at home,” Marrone said. “That’s the reward for it.”