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ND Softball: Irish take on IUPUI at home

Laura Myers | Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Notre Dame will put its seven-game win streak on the line today against Indiana University-Purdue University at Melissa Cook Stadium.

The Irish (17-11) are coming off of a successful Big East road trip in which they won one contest against Georgetown and took two from South Florida.

In addition to their win streak, the team has won nine of its last 10.

“We struggled early in the season,” senior outfielder Beth Northway said. “But since we started getting on a roll, we’re putting the pieces together, and we’re looking good now.”

The Jaguars (3-29) have lost their last four games. The team’s latest win came in the form of a 10-1 blowout of Valparaiso on March 23. That victory broke an 18-game losing streak that dated back to Feb. 21.

“IUPUI is not a team we can just overlook,” Northway said. “This is just as important as a Big East opponent.”

IUPUI does have a potentially dangerous offensive attack in the duo of Sarah Oppelt and Mia Ettl. The women have .377 and .345 batting averages, respectively, and Ettl leads the team with five home runs and 14 RBI.

The Irish offense has been on fire during its win streak, with freshman right fielder Dani Miller and the senior outfielder Northway leading the way.

Miller has three home runs in her last six games, including one in the first game against USF, and holds a .421 batting average. Northway, who leads the team with a .483 batting average and a slugging percentage of 1.034, also homered in that game.

“The whole team has been hitting really well so far,” Northway said. “The whole team has been doing extra hitting.”

The Irish have now gone deep at least once in each of their past 10 games.

The game against IUPUI will begin a lengthy homestand for Notre Dame. The Irish will play a total of 10 games in South Bend before traveling to Connecticut on April 11.

This could bode well for the Irish, who are currently 6-1 at Melissa Cook Stadium.

“Our facilities this year are so nice, and it makes us appreciate being home,” Northway said. “There’s nothing like playing at home.”

Senior pitcher Brittany Bargar (11-6) will start on the mound for the Irish. Bargar holds a 1.63 ERA in 116 innings pitched.

The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. today.