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ND Softball: Coach earns 400th career win

Jack Yusko | Monday, April 4, 2011

Irish coach Deanna Gumpf earned her 400th career win this weekend, as the Irish swept Big East conference opponents Providence in a three-game series at Melissa Cook Stadium, winning 12-4, 7-3 and 9-0.

The outstanding performance, including two five-inning victories, put Coach Gumpf’s record in 10 seasons with the Irish at 400-172-1, a .699 winning percentage. The Irish as a team move to 21-7 overall, 3-0 in the Big East.

“Coach Gumpf works around the clock for our team every day,” junior infielder Alexa Maldonado said. “She really cares about the team and our success. It’s awesome how much time she puts into her family and is still always there for us, her second family, every single day.”

While the Irish dominated the Friars throughout the weekend in all aspects of the game, Maldonado referenced the outstanding offensive production as the most important factor determining each victory.

“Our outstanding areas were producing runs early in the games to get ahead and getting clutch hits to drive in runners when we needed to,” Maldonado said.

One of the most notable feats of the weekend was that of senior captain Heather Johnson, who broke the career RBI record, 175, with a two run walk-off double Saturday. This is Johnson’s second RBI record — she set the single season record in 2010 with 68 runs batted in.

“Heather is a great player for our team,” Maldonado said. “She always finds a way to produce runs.”

Johnson’s hitting has greatly helped the Irish since the beginning of the home season. In the five home games played so far, she has gone 12-for-17 at the plate with 15 RBIs and three home runs.

Maldonado herself was a key part of the Irish offense, with multiple hits in each game, runs scored and bases stolen. Senior catcher Lex Clay has also been an integral part of the offense, scoring multiple times, notching multiple RBIs and hitting a home run.

Impressive pitching by freshman Laura Winters and senior Jody Valdivia controlled Providence, allowing only seven runs over three games.

Maldonado said the coaching staff has been key to the team’s recent success.

“We really appreciate coach Gumpf as well as our two assistant coaches, Lizzy [Lemire] and Kris [Ganeff], and our volunteer coach, Dawn [Austin],” Maldonado said. “They work hard for us and we produce wins for them.”

The Irish go on the road Monday to face Wisconsin.