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ND Softball: Irish head to UIC in search of road victory

Sam Werner | Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Notre Dame is looking to extend its winning streak to seven games tonight when it faces off against Illinois-Chicago in Chicago today.

The Irish are coming off a successful weekend of Big East play in which they beat St. John’s 5-0 and 8-4, and Seton Hall 12-1 and 6-2. Junior pitcher Brittany Bargar earned the win in all four tilts, pushing her record to 17-6 on the year. She earned Big East pitcher of the week honors for her performance, the third time she has done so this season. Bargar currently leads the Big East in ERA (0.61), strikeouts (132), and wins (17).

So far this season, Bargar and freshman Jody Valdivia have stifled opposing offenses, combining for a 22-10 record and a miniscule 1.24 ERA.

Against the Flames, the duo will have to shut down an offense that has hit .285 this season. In their last game, a 17-2 drubbing of Youngstown State, Illinois-Chicago clobbered the Penguins pitching staff. Leading the charge for Illinois-Chicago is junior pitcher/infielder Sarah Clynes, who is hitting .328 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. Teammate Ashlee Ackerman has also been on fire offensively, posting a .347 average to go with her 14 RBIs. The Flames are riding a six game win streak after sweeping Green Bay and Youngstown State.

The Irish will look to senior second baseman Katie Laing to jumpstart their offense. Last week, Laing batted .526 with four home runs and 13 RBIs, good enough to earn her Big East player of the week honors. On the year, Laing is hitting .353 with six home runs and 36 RBIs, and has put up a tremendous .676 slugging percentage. The player of the week award was Laing’s second of the season. Laing and Bargar are the first teammates to win the Big East pitcher and player of the week awards in the same week this season.

The first pitch leaves the circle at 5:30 central time tonight.