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ND Softball: Irish take three from Villanova in two days

Meaghan Veselik | Monday, April 26, 2010

The No. 23 Irish had a dream weekend Saturday and Sunday at Melissa Cook Stadium, sweeping Big East rival Villanova in three games.

Senior Christine Lux and junior Jody Valdivia tied three school and conference records between the two of them Sunday when Notre Dame (38-9, 15-3 Big East) defeated the Wildcats 10-0 in five innings, with eight runs coming in the second inning. Notre Dame had six hits and used three Villanova errors in the second to fuel its outburst. The Irish defeated the Wildcats 8-0 and 11-3 in Saturday’s two games, both of which lasted only five innings.

“Our entire team has been taking it one game at the time and that has been the approach that has been getting us the wins so we wanted to stick with it,” Valdivia said.

Lux celebrated her senior day Sunday by tying former Notre Dame player Jarrah Myers’ (1999-2002) Big East career record for RBIs with 64. Lux went 2-3 on the day with an RBI single in the second inning.

Valdivia pitched a two-hit shutout with four strikeouts in 69 pitches for her third straight win against the Wildcats. Her 15th shutout matches the Irish single-season record set by Terri Kobata 16 years ago and her win total matches Brittney Bargar’s (2006-2009) school record of 30 set in 2008.

“Tying these school records is a really proud moment for me,” Valdivia said. “Being part of the Notre Dame softball history is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I wouldn’t be able to achieve any of this without my teammates. We win all of our games together and it is their hard work and dedication that has given me this great opportunity.”

Sophomore Alexa Maldonado had her own special day Saturday, going 5-5 at the plate driving in four runs, scoring four more and set new career single-game highs in hits and RBIs with three of each.

“Obviously our bats were working this weekend,” Valdivia said. “Our team came off of the week with a bad taste in our mouths so we really wanted to prove something against Villa-nova.”

Notre Dame outscored Villanova 29-3 in the series.

“Not sweeping Villanova was not an option,” Valdivia said. “Our entire goal this season has been putting ourselves in the best position for Big East, and a Villanova sweep was a necessity.”  

The Irish stay at home this week to take on Bowling Green Wednesday at 3 p.m. for a doubleheader at Melissa Cook Stadium.

“We hope to continue on the same path we have been going and keeping up the wins in order to finish out the Big East,” Valdivia said. “If we continue to play our game, we are going to be unstoppable.”