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ND Softball: Solid defense keys nonconference win over?Ball State

Molly Sammon | Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Notre Dame used a pair of crucial double plays and a three-run homer by freshman second baseman Dani Miller to top visiting Ball State 5-1 Tuesday.

“We put the ball in play hard and consistently, we put constant pressure on their defense, and we capitalized on mistakes that they made,” sophomore right fielder Erin Marrone said.

Neither team managed to score in its first inning, as Irish (12-11) senior Brittney Bargar and Cardinals (9-13) pitcher Elizabeth Milian each started strong.

In the bottom of the second, an overthrow from Cardinals shortstop Alicia Barkley moved Irish runners to second and third. Senior Brianna Jorgensborg hit a grounder that brought in junior Christine Lux for an RBI and put the Irish in the lead, which they kept for the remainder of the game.

“Defense is where we took control of the game,” Marrone said. “We shut down any momentum that they had.”

The game was a defensive gem for the Irish. A double play from junior third baseman Heather Johnson to Lux at first base and back to Johnson gave the Irish a little defensive momentum. Later in the game, a double play from Miller to sophomore shortstop Katie Fleury at second to Lux showed that defensively, the Irish were on top of their game.

“The double plays just pump us up. They were big plays, and they ended innings,” Marrone said. “It switched the momentum in our favor.”

Notre Dame’s big inning came in the third. Both senior designated hitter Beth Northway and Johnson singled early on. Shortly after, Miller hit a home run, bringing Northway, Johnson and herself around the bases for a 4-1 Irish lead.

In the fourth inning, the Irish found a big hole in left field as Jorgensborg, freshman Kristina Wright and Fleury each placed the ball just out of the reach of the Cardinals’ left fielder. Freshman Alexa Maldonado’s sacrifice fly brought home Jorgensborg to give Notre Dame the 5-1 advantage.

“Same as with the defense, any window they thought they had to get something going, with a combination of good pitching and good solid defense, we just shut them down,” Marrone said.

The Irish will hope to take the momentum from the nonconference victory into this weekend’s doubleheaders at Georgetown and South Florida.

“We’re going to work on team chemistry on the field,” Marrone said. “We have all the right parts, we just need get everything clicking again. The hitters are there, pitchers are there, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”

Notre Dame will return to action today with a home doubleheader against Western Michigan.