ND Softball: Double Trouble
Meaghan Veselik | Thursday, March 25, 2010
Notre Dame kept its win streak going Wednesday as it won its seventh and eighth straight games in a doubleheader against Toledo at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish pounded out the hits, including seven home runs to win the first game 11-0 in five innings and overcome a 3-0 deficit to win the second game 8-4.
Junior utility player Sadie Pitzenberger tied a school record Wednesday by extending her hitting streak to 21 games, the same mark sophomore infielder Dani Miller set last season.
Coming off a home opener sweep Tuesday against Eastern Michigan, the Irish (21-5) were excited to keep the win streak going, especially at home.
“Our team did really well, we came out on fire,” sophomore catcher Kristina Wright said. “It’s only a matter of time before it’s going to explode. We’re doing well, and we know we’re coming out and that we’re going to win.”
Notre Dame is off to its best start through 26 games since 2001, and Wright said the team has been consistent in getting base hits and scoring runs.
Wright launched a home run in the second game, one of seven for the Irish on the day.
Game one saw junior Jody Valdivia (16-2) reign from the circle to pitch four shutout innings for Notre Dame. Those four innings included 34 strikes on 43 pitches and only one hit in the top of the fourth. Freshman Jackie Bowe relieved Valdivia in the fifth, throwing a scoreless inning with one strikeout.
The Irish started the afternoon off strong with three runs off of three hits in the first inning. Senior infielder Heather Johnson homered to score junior infielder Katie Fleury, while senior infielder Christine Lux followed up with a solo home run.
“Our chemistry this year has been the best it has in a long time,” Wright said. “We’re all close off the field and that translates onto the field. Trust is huge, and we’re out there playing for ourselves and for our team. “
The second game proved to be more dramatic. Toledo leapt ahead in the second inning off of a two-run home run from McKenna Smith, followed by another score off an Irish error.
But Notre Dame came back in the fourth inning with a solo home run from Johnson. Wright homered for the third time in five games later in the inning to drive in three more runs and put the Irish up 5-3.
Pitzenberger managed to extend her streak by doubling in her last at bat, and later scored to bring the Notre Dame total hits to 12 for the game and 20 for the day.
The dominating Irish have a challenge coming up for Saturday when they take on Seton Hall in the first conference game of the season. Playing their best softball of the season, the Irish have their eyes set on a conference title and more.
“Seton Hall is huge because it’s our first conference game,” Wright said. “We’re really focused on keeping our hitting alive, keeping up the base hits. Our defense is solid, and our pitching has been doing really well. We want to keep doing what we’re doing.”