March 8, 2008
LAKEWOOD, Calif. - Wins over No. 24 Virginia Tech and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday at the Long Beach State Invitational snapped a two-game losing skid for the University of Notre Dame softball team. The 2-1 win over the Hokies followed by a 1-0 shutout against the Titans to close the day at Mayfair Park improved the squad's overall record to 9-8 this season.
Notre Dame will now play its final game of the Long Beach State Invitational against Cal State Northridge on Sunday (March 9) at 10 a.m. (PT).
Irish pitcher Brittney Bargar (7-5) got the run support she needed in the sixth against the 24th-ranked Hokies, with the offense starting off with one-out singles by Sadie Pitzenberger and Katie Fleury. A passed ball during Christine Lux's at-bat moved each of the runners ahead one bag, then Lux mashed a two-out double to dropped past a diving Jessica Everhart into the leftfield gap to put Notre Dame on top, 2-1.
The Hokies (14-8) threatened in the bottom of the sixth as Charisse Marcionda singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on the play on a throwing error. She got to third with one out but was halted when Bargar - who was aided by a couple of smooth plays by Fleury at shortstop - sent back the next two Hokie batters.
Angela Tincher (7-4) went the distance for the Hokies, giving up two runs on six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. In the game, she moved into fifth place on the NCAA all-time strikeouts to bring her career total to 1,644. Tincher was out-dueled by Bargar who gave up only one run on six hits with four strikeouts in the win.
Virginia Tech took its 1-0 lead in the second when Misty Hall was hit by a pitch, stole second, and then scored on Jess Hodge's single.
It was a scoreless battle heading into the sixth inning of the nightcap with the Titans. In fact, Notre Dame recorded its first hit of the contest in that frame when Pitzenberger doubled to right. Fleury stepped in and drove a change-up into right to score Pitzenberger from second to give Notre Dame its final 1-0 advantage.
Freshman pitcher Jody Valdivia (2-3) punched in an impressive 7.0 innings of shutout ball and fanned nine batters while scattering only two hits. The Titans' Christine Hiner (6-5) not only took the loss but allowed her first earned run in 30.0 innings.