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Softball: Irish battle Demons to kick off Holy Thursday

Jay Fitzpatrick | Thursday, April 13, 2006

Notre Dame hopes to improve its Big East record with a doubleheader against conference newcomer DePaul today.

The double dip against the Blue Demons (18-11, 5-3 Big East) will be games No. 43 and 44 all time with the Irish (24-17, 7-1) – a series which DePaul leads 26-17-1.

After a short Easter break, Notre Dame will head to Evanston, Ill. April 18 for a one game matchup with Northwestern.

The Irish and Blue Demons split a doubleheader in the annual meeting last season.

But this year the Irish hope to outmatch DePaul and stay near the top of the Big East standings. Riding the wave of a 6-0 win over Ball State Tuesday – and having just one loss in league play this season – the Irish are confident they can succeed against DePaul.

“DePaul is on a bit of a down slope and I think we can overcome that,” senior catcher and captain Mallorie Lenn said. “We just want to stay on a high note and keep winning.”

Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf has been working on fundamentals during the team’s practices all season, something she said will keep the players focused on their performances.

“We’ve been working on the basics in practice, doing a lot with mechanics,” freshman starting pitcher Brittney Bargar said. “If we can bring our A-game against DePaul we can do well.”

One major aspect for the Notre Dame’s “A game” all season has been its mental focus and intensity, Bargar said.

But Lenn feels that the DePaul game will be good for the team to keep its intensity high – possibly as high as it has been in the past three games, in which the Irish have collected 46 hits.

“These are all three important games coming up,” Lenn said. “We are playing two tough teams and they will be really good wins for us.”


u Notre Dame senior third baseman Meagan Ruthrauff was named Big East player of the week.