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Softball: Irish overcome early deficit

Jack Yusko | Monday, March 28, 2011

An early deficit did not faze Notre Dame, as Notre Dame’s efficient offense helped the squad edge past Northern Illinois 4-1 on Friday.

Down one run in the first inning, the Irish (21-2) kept their calm and not only scored four runs off five hits, but also held the Huskies (10-12) scoreless after the first frame.

“The team, especially this year, has responded really well to being down early,” senior catcher Lex Clay said. “Because it was so early in the game, I don’t think the team really worried about it because we know that we’ve been a good hitting team.”

Clay said that the team saw being down early as a challenge.

“We don’t really pressure ourselves to get a lot o f runs early because we know we’re going to hit well and come back,” Clay said. “I think we were anxious for the challenge to get back, that if they have one run, lets see how many we can score.”

While the Irish did not hit particularly well, they performed efficiently. Clay had two Notre Dame’s five hits, each of which produced an RBI.

However, team play was a major theme throughout the game, as Clay did not credit individual outstanding players, but outstanding teamwork and cooperation.

“We didn’t have a lot to work with that game. We only had five hits, but a lot of people did their jobs when asked, a lot of people participated,” Clay said.

Notre Dame’s other major strong point in this game was their ability to operate under pressure, not only while losing, but also with two outs on multiple occasions.

“We had a couple people who got on base with two outs and we had someone else hit them in,” Clay said. “We had [senior outfielder] Brianna Jorgensberg score someone with a triple with two outs, then get hit in.”

Great defense and outstanding pitching kept the Huskies scoreless after the first inning, as sophomore Brittany O’Donnell kept the Huskies’ hitters off-balance.

“One of our starting pictures, [senior] Jody Valdivia, came in and they got a few hits off of her,” Clay said. “Brittany came in and struck out five batters. Another pitcher came in the next inning and struck out six. We had people playing really good defense. It was really a team effort, our win. Even though we didn’t have many hits, everyone really participated.”

The Irish next take the field when they face Western Michigan Tuesday at 6 p.m.