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ND Softball: Irish overheat South Florida

Bobby Graham | Monday, April 12, 2010

On a weekend when the warm weather and sunny skies stole the headlines at Notre Dame, the softball team did a little heating up of its own. The Irish stretched out their current winning streak to five after sweeping South Florida in a triple-header, including a one-hitter by junior pitcher Jody Valdivia Sunday.
The wins also kept the Irish undefeated both in games at home and in Big East play.
“South Florida is a fun team for us to play,” Valdivia said. “Our rivalry with them really gets us fired up to play.”
The Irish continued to hit the ball impressively, beating the Bulls 4-2, 10-1 and 2-0 over the course of the weekend. They registered eight hits in their first two wins and three in the third.
“We did a great job of jumping on their pitchers,” Valdivia said. “We always took away the moment by scoring runs when we needed to.”
The Irish also showed off some impressive defense throughout the weekend’s series. Valdivia pitched the bookend games of the weekend, including an impressive one-hit performance Sunday, and she improved her record to 22-3 on the season. Freshman pitcher Brittney O’Donnell also contributed with a one hit, one run performance of her own to seal up the Irish’s 10-1 victory late Saturday.
Despite impressive performances from the mound, Valdivia contributed much of the team’s defensive success to their play in the field.
“Everyone made phenomenal catches,” she said. “There were some really great plays. Our outfield robbed them of hits and our infielders robbed them of their short game. We really kept them off balance.”
In addition to their on-field success, the Irish used this weekend to promote breast cancer awareness and raise money for research with their “Strikeout Cancer” promotion.
“It always feels really good to do our breast cancer game,” Valdivia said. “We get to wear our pink jerseys, and we love to put on those pink jerseys.” 
Notre Dame will stay home this week to face Georgetown Wednesday and Cleveland State Thursday before heading to Louisville this weekend.