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ND Softball: Irish earn split, snap Blue Demons’ streak

Sam Werner | Monday, March 31, 2008

Behind strong pitching performances from freshman Jody Valdivia and junior Brittany Bargar, the Irish split a doubleheader with 17th-ranked DePaul and ended the Blue Demons’ 25-game conference winning streak.

“I think taking one from DePaul is always a good win” Notre Dame coach Deanna Gumpf said. “They’re a tough team and we have quite a history with them.”

The Irish nearly managed a sweep of the twinbill, losing the first game on a walkoff single by Jackie Tarulli-Fisher. Two errors in the final inning spelled doom for the Irish. The fielding woes were especially frustrating for Gumpf, who has been trying to stress the importance of defense to her team this season.

“Our defense hurt us in the first game,” Gumpf said.

Bargar earned the loss despite allowing only four hits over 6 and 2/3 innings and allowing no earned runs while striking out 12.

In the second game, Notre Dame was determined to give its pitching more support. Linda Kohan crushed a solo home run to center field in the top of the second to put the Irish up 1-0. Notre Dame added an unearned run in the fourth, and a 2-0 lead was all Valdivia needed. The freshman struck out three in 5 and 2/3 innings to get the win, and Bargar pitched the final 1 and 1/3 for her first save of the season. The biggest stat from the second game for Gumpf, though, was that the Irish defense made no errors in the field.

“We really picked it up,” Gumpf said. “I’m really proud of the way the girls bounced back.”

The Irish (17-10 overall, 1-1 Big East) will play at home against Ball State Tuesday.