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ND Softball: Irish clobber Wisconsin

Jared Jedick | Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Irish blasted their way out of a slump with a one-hitter 11-5 win over Wisconsin Tuesday. The stellar performance at Melissa Cook Stadium included 13 strikeouts and four home runs.

The three home runs in the fourth inning were the most ever by the Irish (27-13; 7-3 Big East) in a single inning, and the four in the game is the most for the Irish this year.

Junior third baseman Linda Kohan hit two dingers in the game, one in the fourth and the other in the sixth. Kohan came in with three hits and four RBIs on the night.

Also going the distance for the Irish were freshman shortstop Katie Fleury and sophomore utility player Christine Lux. Fleury finished the day two-for-two with two runs and two RBIs, and Lux’s two-run home run was her only hit of the day.

Sophomore outfielder Ashley Ellis had two hits and two runs and junior DH Beth Northway had two hits and one RBI.

The first three innings appeared to be a pitching duel between junior starting pitcher Brittney Bargar and Wisconsin pitchers junior Leah Vanevehoven (4-19) and sophomore Letty Olivarez.

Things started off bleak for the Irish. Bargar (21-8), who allowed five runs (12-33; 2-10 Big Ten) in the top of the fourth, created a 5-0 deficit for the Irish, reminiscent of their shutout loss just a day before. Only two of those runs were earned, as Bargar went the distance, striking out six in the win.

The Irish had no problem responding, however, coming up with six runs on six hits in the bottom of the inning, sparked by Kohan’s lead-off home-run and followed up by the home runs from Lux and Fleury.

Freshman Erin Marrone started at catcher for the Irish for the first time this season, adding another RBI in the inning with her single to center.

Lux’s sacrifice fly added a run to the Irish tally, allowing junior pinch-runner Christine Farrell to score. Another Irish run immediately followed resulting from Northway’s two-out RBI double.

Kohan put the game away for the Irish in the sixth with her three-run back-breaking homer, allowing Fleury and senior outfielder Sarah Smith to score.

The Irish will re-enter Big East conference play on the road on Saturday and Sunday against Louisville (23-15; 9-3 Big East) and South Florida (36-13; 11-1 Big East), the number one and two teams in the Big East. The double-header against Louisville will be televised nationally on CSTV at noon, and the games against South Florida can be seen regionally on Catch 47 Sports TV.