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Softball: No. 24 ND falls to Loyola

Meaghan Veselik | Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No. 24 Notre Dame saw its 11-game win streak end Tuesday when it fell 8-0 to Loyola-Chicago in a non-conference matchup at Loyola Softball Park. The Irish dropped to 24-6 while the Ramblers improve to 7-12.

“Today was an upsetting loss, not because of the fact that we lost but how we lost the game,” sophomore catcher Kristina Wright said. “Our hitting wasn’t on, we didn’t make the adjustments needed to produce enough hits, and we just couldn’t string any together to get some runs. Our team needed to improve on all areas to win that game.”

The Ramblers scored twice in the fifth inning between grabbing three runs in both the sixth and third innings.

Junior pitcher Jody Valdivia (18-3) lost for the first time since February, ending her 17-game win streak on the mound. She struck out eight batters and gave up five runs in her five innings of work.

Freshman Brittany O’Donnell took over for Valdivia in the sixth and final inning, giving up three runs on one hit.

“Losing that game does have some positives,” Wright said. “It’s going to be that reminder that we all need that we can’t take any team for granted, we need to attack improvement every day and that begins with the first inning.”

The Irish were out-hit 8-4 by the Ramblers. Junior Sadie Pitzenberger had a double to right-center in the first inning to extend her school-record hit streak to 25 games. Fellow junior Katie Fleury had another hit for Notre Dame, while sophomore Alexa Maldonado added in a team-high two singles.

Loyola-Chicago’s Angie Funsten went 2 for 3 with two runs and three RBIs while Brooke Andreson scored twice on two hits.

Notre Dame will take on its second Big East opponent of the season in Rutgers (12-15) this weekend at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish know that their conference competition is some of the toughest in the country, and that they will have to make a comeback if they are to compete at that level against Rutgers, a challenge they are ready to face.

“We know that this weekend we are going to bring all we have to each game against Rutgers, and show that Notre Dame is better than what was displayed in today’s game,” Wright said. “This weekend will be a good test on how we can bounce back from a bad loss, and being able to have a good mindset while taking on each of these teams. We are going to stay positive and keep on playing the game like we have this whole season.”

The Irish defeated the Scarlet Knights in both of their two meetings last season.

The two teams will meet Thursday at 6 p.m. with a doubleheader on Saturday with games scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.