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Bats spur Irish to four victories

Joe Meixell | Monday, March 17, 2008

After relying heavily on its pitching staff for the first part of the 2008 season, Notre Dame’s offense broke through in a big way, giving the team a 4-1 record on the weekend in the Lowcountry Softball Invitational at Charleston Southern University.

The Irish carried a three-game winning streak into the invitational, and they used that momentum to pick up convincing victories in Friday’s games against Towson and Charleston Southern. While the offensive output was impressive in both games, the pitching staff held up its end of the bargain as neither opponent was able to notch an earned run in Friday’s action.

Notre Dame 7, Towson 0

The opening matchup against Towson ended in a victory for Notre Dame. Junior Brittany Bargar, fresh off being named Big East Pitcher of the Week, turned in another solid performance, going five innings while giving up only four hits. Christine Ferrell relived Bargar and allowed only one hit in her two innings of work.

Four of the seven runs against Towson resulted from two-run homers – one from sophomore Ashley Ellis and the other from sophomore Christine Lux. Senior Katie Laing had two hits and scored two runs, and freshman Erin Marrone contributed an RBI double.

Notre Dame 16, Charleston Southern 2

In game two on Friday, the Irish jumped on Charleston Southern early on with an eight-run second inning, which was as much as freshman pitcher Jody Valdivia would need in the contest that ended after five innings. Lux launched two home runs in the game, while Laing came up with five hits and five RBIs to lead the potent Irish offense.

Notre Dame 5, Campbell 0

Bargar returned to the circle Saturday morning and was once again nearly flawless, pitching a complete game shutout to lead the Irish to a victory over Campbell.

Leading the way for the offense was senior Sarah Smith who had two RBI singles. The offense managed ten hits in the game, all of which were singles.

Towson 6, Notre Dame 2

The Irish would suffer their only loss of the weekend in the next game, a defeat in a rematch with Towson. Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead into the fifth inning, but that lead was erased by a six-run fifth inning put together by Towson that included a base clearing double by Towson’s Nina Navarro and two errors by the Irish defense. Valdivia took the loss despite pitching a complete game and striking out eight batters.

Notre Dame 10, Charleston Southern 2

The Irish rebounded quickly and closed out the weekend on a high note, defeating Charleston Southern one more time. In the top of the third, the Irish used nine hits to post ten runs and wipe out a 2-0 Charleston Southern lead. Freshman Sadie Pitzenberger notched a single, a triple and two runs scored in the decisive inning. Bargar was dominant once again, allowing only one earned run on four hits and striking out six.

Notre Dame will be back in action Wednesday as they travel to Western Michigan for a double header. The first game is set to begin at 3:30 p.m.