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ND Softball: Irish take three of four in N.C.

Ernst Cleofe | Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Irish won three of four games at the Carolina Classic over the weekend, picking up two wins against tournament host No. 24 North Carolina, adding another win from Penn State and falling to Minnesota.

Coming off of a four-loss tournament last weekend in San Diego, the Irish (4-5) turned around a rough start on the season at the Carolina Classic.

“The most difficult thing we’ve had [to change] was attacking every inning of the game,” junior pitcher Brittany O’Donnell said.

The weekend started with a 6-3 win over Penn State on Saturday. Senior outfielder Alexa Maldonado and sophomore outfielder Lauren Stuhr drove in five of the six Irish runs with both players adding a homerun.

In the second game Saturday, the Irish earned a close 6-5 win against their undefeated host North Carolina.

After the Irish scored four runs in the seventh inning to push the score to 6-5, sophomore pitcher Laura Winter came in and shut out the Tarheels the rest of the inning to pull out an Irish victory. Winter had 14 strikeouts across the two games, got the win against Penn State and the save against North Carolina.

The Irish lost to Minnesota 9-1 on Sunday, but the day turned around with their second victory over host North Carolina, 9-3.

Maldonado hit one of her three home runs during the last game of the weekend to lead the Irish to victory.

“The difference between the Minnesota and [second] North Carolina game was the entire approach,” O’Donnell said. “We were late making adjustments. Everyone contributed something different during our wins,” O’Donnell said. “The toughest opponent this weekend was ourselves because we let things in our control work against us at times instead of helping our cause.”

Despite the winning record over the Carolina Classic, O’Donnell said the Irish have a lot of improvements to make in the coming weekend.

“It feels great, but we aren’t satisfied yet,” O’Donnell said. “We still have work to do in order to achieve our goal of a national championship, but we are just going to keep on attacking improvement on each area of the game.”

The Irish will head to Buena Vista, Fla. this weekend for the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic where they will play Long Island, Fordham, Ohio State and Virginia Tech.



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