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Softball: Irish take three from Pirates

Molly Sammon | Monday, March 29, 2010

Notre Dame extended its winning streak to 11 games with three wins against Seton Hall this weekend to open the Big East competition.

“Going out there and scoring so many runs really pumped up our attitude,” sophomore catcher Kristina Wright said.

In their first day of play, the Irish defeated the Pirates twice, 12-0 and 11-1.

The first two games included two records broken by Irish players. Junior pitcher Jody Valdivia threw the first Irish no-hitter in three seasons and became the 16th player in program history to reach this feat on the mound. Also, junior infielder Sadie Pitzenberger lengthened her hitting streak to the 23rd game in a row, breaking another record before the second game ended.

“[Valdivia] threw really well, and you could just tell that they weren’t going to hit her,” Wright said. “When she’s on fire, our whole team is on fire.”

Sophomore infielder Kasey O’Connor was the first Irish hitter to score in the series as her triple and steal of home started the Irish scoring. Big hits from senior infielders Christine Lux and Heather Johnson started the Irish’s early lead in their five-inning victory.

“We were able to string a lot of hits together to score,” Wright said. “Everyone contributed in our wins this weekend.”

In Saturday’s second game, freshman pitcher Brittany O’Donnell suppressed the Pirate offense to two hits, notching two strike-outs.

“Our pitchers did a good job keeping them off-balance,” Wright said. “They didn’t have a chance against our pitchers.”

In the third of the weekend’s three-game series at Seton Hall’s Ivy Hill Park, the Irish were evenly matched with the Pirates into the fourth inning where the score was tied, 2-2, but were able to break away with an offensive rally that led them to win by 10 runs.
Valdivia won her 17th game in a row from the mound.

Pitzenberger and Fleury each put three hits on the board for the Irish.

“Now we know that any team in the Big East is going to have to try really hard to beat us,” Wright said.

The Irish will next travel to Loyola-Chicago Tuesday in search of their 12th straight win.