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Irish set to face non-conference foe

Jack Yusko | Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The No. 22 Irish, who have won 21 of their last 22 games, look to extend their seven game winning streak and kick off a six-game week right with a victory against Valparaiso today.

Notre Dame (38-8, 14-1 Big East), currently sitting in second place in the Big East, is coming off a three-game sweep of conference opponent St. John’s this weekend, winning each game by at least seven runs. Valparaiso (30-18, 10-6 Horizon) recently took a series 2-1 against Green Bay and is tied for first in the Horizon League.

“Teams that come to play us always bring their top game,” junior outfielder Alexa Maldonado said. “As long as we stick to how we’ve been playing and put them away early, we will beat them with ease.”

The Irish are confident in their abilities, and for good reason. Their impressive performance this past weekend earned senior outfielder Brianna Jorgensborg Big East Player of the Week honors. Jorgensborg hit .600, scored eight times, drove in nine RBIs and recorded two stolen bases. She is the third player this year to be awarded the honor, joining Maldonado and senior captain Heather Johnson.

“Everything has really been clicking for us lately, from hitting to defense,” freshman pitcher Laura Winters said. “All around we have come together to make great plays on defense and string hits together to push in runs.”

With this week’s games drawing the regular season to a close, the Irish are looking to finish strong and go into the Big East tournament with the momentum they’ve gained.

“We are in a great position now to make some impressions on teams not only in the Big East, but all across the board,” Winters said.

“We are the most ready [for the postseason] we’ve been since I’ve been here at school,” Maldonado said. “We’re ready to make history and take this program to the next level.”

The Irish will play Valparaiso at home in Melissa Cook Stadium today at 5 p.m.