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ND Softball: Streaking to the city

Laura Myers | Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It’s rarely good when a team is called streaky, but Notre Dame has only seen the upside of that description.

The Irish (24-5) are riding an 11-game win streak into a matchup with Loyola-Chicago this afternoon in Chicago.

Junior pitcher Jody Valdivia (18-2) carries a streak of her own after winning her 16th and 17th straight games this weekend against Seton Hall. She pitched a no-hitter Saturday and followed that up with a complete-game, 11-strikeout effort Sunday.

Junior outfielder Sadie Pitzenberger has now hit safely in 24 straight games. Her streak is a new school record, as she surpassed sophomore Dani Miller’s 21-game stretch, which Miller accomplished last season. Pitzenberger is second on the team with a .433 batting average, behind junior Erin Marrone’s .453 clip.

But Valdivia said her team does not talk about the streaks.

“I think the greatest thing about this team and this year is to go one game at a time,” she said. “We take every game, every day as our most important game.”

The Ramblers (6-12) enter the game having lost their last four games, including an extra-innings loss to Butler. Third baseman and pitcher Angie Funston leads the team in several categories, entering the game with a .347 batting average, 10 RBIs, 17 hits and a 1.25 ERA.

The non-conference game comes after Notre Dame opened its Big East season against the Pirates; the Irish will return to conference play Thursday against Rutgers.

“Any time we have these non-Big East games our focus is to stay fresh and work a lot of things,” Valdivia said. “We look at it as another game where we have to pick up a win.”

After the game the Irish will return to Notre Dame for an 11-game, 17-day home stand.

“Excited is not even a word to describe how we feel about [the home stand],” Valdivia said. “… Being able to come home and play in front of our own fans honestly is the greatest feeling in the world.”

Notre Dame and Loyola-Chicago will begin play today at 4 p.m. CDT.