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Irish win twice in last at-bats in opening tourney

dan Murphy | Monday, February 19, 2007

Freshman Heather Johnson wasted no time making her presence known at Notre Dame.

In her debut this weekend, the rookie racked up eight hits, four RBI’s and a walk-off home run as the Irish went 2-3 to open their season at the Tiger Invitational.

Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh against Tennessee Tech Saturday, Johnson stepped up to the plate with a runner on third. She got a hold of a pitch and drove her third hit of the game over the fence to help Notre Dame pick up a win over a weekend where the Irish went 2-3.

Johnson, who leads the team with a .500 batting average, also played a big role in the first win of the season. Friday afternoon the Irish took on Auburn at Jane B. Moore field and won in another final at-bat thriller.

Tiger outfielder Myesha Finney gave Auburn a 2-1 lead in the seventh with a sacrifice fly, but the advantage did not last long. Senior captain Stephanie Brown led off the inning with a bloop single for Notre Dame and eventually scored on a sacrifice from Johnson to tie the score.

Sophomore Erin Glasco ended the game in the very next at bat with a line drive single down the right field line.

Sophomore pitcher Brittany Bargar threw complete games in both wins, striking out a combined total of 15 batters and allowing three earned runs. Bargar lost her first game of the year Sunday in a 2-0 pitcher’s duel with Virginia Tech.

Hokie junior Angela Tincher continued her incredible start to the season with a one-hit complete game shutout. Tincher (5-0, 0.60 ERA) has thrown complete games in all five of her starts so far this season. She has three shutouts and is averaging more than two strikeouts per inning. Tincher rang up 15 batter against the Irish.

Notre Dame also dropped games to UAB and Tulsa.

UAB (4-4) jumped out to a quick lead in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader by scoring at least one run in each of the first four innings. Junior shortstop Holly Krzan put the final nail in the coffin for the Blazers with a two-run double in the sixth to bring the score to 8-0.

The Irish bats also struggled in their loss to the Golden Hurricanes. Notre Dame’s offense was dormant until the fifth inning when Brown drove in junior outfielder Sarah Smith on a double and later came around to score junior shortstop Katie Laing got a ball deep enough for Brown to tag up on.

However, the short burst was too little, too late for the Irish who had dug themselves a four-run hole earlier in the game.

Notre Dame will continue with their early season slate next weekend as the Irish head to California for five games in the Palm Springs Tournament. No members of the team were available for comment following the weekend’s games due to travel.