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ND Softball: Irish split weekend against Louisville, USF

Sam Werner | Monday, April 21, 2008

As the old saying goes, what goes around comes around, and the Irish learned that this weekend. Notre Dame swept two games at Big East rival Louisville Saturday, then promptly lost two to South Florida the next day.

The Irish beat the Cardinals in a nail-biter in the first game, winning 3-1 in eight innings. Louisville took a 1-0 when junior Kassie Stanfill scored after advancing to second on a passed ball. The Irish scored a run in the fourth, though, and in the top of the eighth, junior infielder Lindsay Kohan belted a two-run home run to left-center to break the deadlock and send the Irish to victory. Junior Brittney Bargar pitched all eight innings, giving up only five hits and the one unearned run.

In the second game, the Irish only needed five innings to dispatch of the Cardinals, earning a 12-4 win. Kohan notched another four RBIs in the second game, and sophomore outfielder Ashley Ellis added four more. Ellis jumpstarted the Irish offense in the first inning with a three-run blast to center, and sophomore first baseman Christina Lux added a solo homer in the fourth to extend the lead to 8-4.

Freshman Jody Valdivia pitched the first four innings, giving up only three runs on three Cardinal hits. Bargar came on in the fifth, and gave up one hit before sending Louisville down in order.

Sunday was a new day for the Irish, though. The first game against the Bulls remained scoreless until the bottom of the third, when South Florida pushed across an unearned run. Freshman Kelly McCarver reached on an error, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and after being bunted over to third, scored on a Kit Dunbar single.

Lux knocked a two-run shot to right in the top of the fifth to give Notre Dame a 2-1 lead, but a four-run sixth for the Bulls sealed the win. South Florida needed only one hit in its rally, but a timely error and passed ball were enough to get the win. Bargar pitched all six innings for Notre Dame, giving up only two earned runs and six hits.

Errors continued to hurt the Irish in the second game against the Bulls. In the bottom of the fourth, with South Florida up 3-2 and the Irish already having given up an unearned run, an error by shortstop Katie Fleury allowed Tara Toscano to reach base. The Bulls went on to score four runs in the inning, and put the game out of reach.

Valdivia pitched four and 2/3 innings, and Bargar finished the game. The two combined to give up only three earned runs and strike out six.

The Irish travel to Purdue for a doubleheader against the Boilermakers on Tuesday.