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ND Softball: Squad overwhelms Toledo

Molly Sammon | Thursday, March 19, 2009

Notre Dame needed only five innings in each game of its doubleheader against Toledo Wednesday, as the Irish swept the Rockets with 15-0 and 9-1 victories in their first pair of games at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Notre Dame (10-10) senior Brittney Bargar held Toledo (2-12) to just one hit in the first game, and the Irish jumped on the Rockets from the get-go with four runs in the bottom of the first inning, which was capped by a home run from freshman right fielder Dani Miller. Junior first baseman Christine Lux paced the Irish attack, notching five hits – including two home runs and two doubles – over the two games.

“Everybody being relaxed led to good hitting,” sophomore pitcher Jody Valdivia, who earned the complete-game victory in Game 2, said. “Everyone knew what they needed to work on, and they went up with a relaxed approach and hit the ball.”

In the third inning, the Rockets switched pitchers, but the Irish were still able to show their offensive dominance by scoring four more runs in the third inning. Hits from Miller and fellow freshmen catcher Kristina Wright and center fielder Alexa Maldonado, and sophomore shortstop Sadie Pitzenberger each helped bring Notre Dame’s lead to 9-0 at the end of the third inning.

It was more of the same for the Irish in the fourth inning, when they scored six more times before holding the Rockets scoreless for a 15-0, five-inning victory by the eight-run mercy rule.

With both offenses slow to start in the second game, the Rockets got on the board first when, in the fourth inning, Toledo pitcher Brooke Gates blasted a home run to left to give her team a 1-0 lead.

That was short-lived, however, as Notre Dame plated nine runs in the bottom of the fourth to finish off Toledo 9-1.

“Toledo coming out and challenging us and by hitting a home run made them worthy opponents,” Valdivia said. “They held with us longer in the second game.”

Lux hit her second home run of the day to start the Notre Dame offensive onslaught. A tight line drive down the first base line from sophomore left fielder Brianna Jorgensborg brought in an run for the Irish to take the lead. A single from Moldonado loaded up the bases, and a triple from senior designated hitter Beth Northway cleared them and brought the score to 6-1.

Northway came home on a single from junior third baseman Heather Johnson, and senior second baseman Linda Kohan drove home two more with a double to left. Valdivia made quick work of the Rockets in the fifth to secure the victory in Notre Dame’s last non-conference matchup before it starts Big East play against St. John’s Sunday.

“Everyone should work on taking the mentality we used today and take it to the Big East teams,” Valdivia said. “We don’t play down to any opponent.”