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    Maldonado's Monster Mash Secures UCF Invite Title For Irish

    FIGHTING IRISH Junior Alexa Maldonado
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Junior Alexa Maldonado
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Feb. 20, 2011

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    ORLANDO, Fla. - Meeting for the second time in three days, Notre Dame defeated Miami (Ohio), 4-1, Sunday at the UCF Softball Complex. The victory wrapped up a 5-0 season-opening weekend for Notre Dame, who claimed the UCF Invite title by rolling through the competition.

    The Irish allowed eight earned runs through five contests while out-scoring opponents, 27-8.

    Much of that offensive spark came behind the efforts of Alexa Maldonado, whose deep, deep, deep fourth-inning home run against the Redhawks not only plated a pair of Irish runs, but went down as her third hit for extra bases on the weekend.

    Maldonado's junior season picked up right where the 2010 all-BIG EAST selection left off, as she hit .500 (7-for-14) and scored six times while driving in six runs. The lefty slapper also stole two bases while connecting for one double, triple and home run in the tournament.

    Six hits were recorded by Amy Buntin, Dani Miller and Alexia Clay, as Heather Johnson drove in five scores on four hits.

    Jody Valdivia held the Redhawks (3-2) to six hits and one earned run in the complete-game effort for her second win of the season. The reigning BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year was matched at the tournament by first-year tosser Laura Winter, who logged a 0.84 ERA in 8.1 innings across three appearances while earning two wins and a save.

    Brittany O'Donnell earned Notre Dame's fifth win after tossing 5.0 innings of one-hit ball.

    The Irish made quick work of the Redhawks by scoring one run in each of the first two innings. Katie Fleury's sacrifice moved Maldonado to second, and the speedster then scored on Miller's single up the middle.

    Buntin's second-inning single scored Brianna Jorgensborg, who led off the inning with a double, to make it a 2-0 contest.

    Notre Dame left two ducks on the pond in the third but cashed in a pair of scores in the fourth on Maldonado's home run, the sixth of her career.

    Miami (Ohio) used consecutive hits to begin the fifth to score its only run. The Redhawks left seven runners stranded.

    Jessica Simpson (2-2) gave up eight Irish hits in 6.0 innings. Each of Notre Dame's four runs were earned.

    Next up for Notre Dame will be four games from Feb. 26-27 at the College of Charleston Invite. The Irish open the event Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (ET) against the host Cougars.

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