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    Notre Dame Calms Red Storm With Conference Sweep

    FIGHTING IRISH The third conference win of the season for Notre Dame came Saturday at St. John's.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    The third conference win of the season for Notre Dame came Saturday at St. John's.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    April 5, 2008

    QUEENS, N.Y. - Junior pitcher Brittney Bargar started the first game of Saturday's doubleheader against St. John's for the University of Notre Dame softball team. Five hours and 19.0 innings later she ended the twinbill as well.

    Bargar added two wins to her total as the Irish swept St. John's in the BIG EAST Conference meeting at Red Storm Field to improve to 20-10 overall and 3-1 against league foes. St. John's entered the day with a 9-0 home record and fell to 15-21 on the season with a 2-6 BIG EAST mark.

    Game one ended in a 5-0 Irish win as the finale lasted twelve innings with Notre Dame coming out on top, 8-4.

    One run on three hits in the top of the third gave the Irish an early 1-0 edge to start the day off. Brianna Jorgensborg delivered a two-out infield single then bussed all the way home when Sadie Pitzenberger doubled off the fence in centerfield. Sarah Smith moved Pitzenberger ahead one bag with a bunt to third and stole second before Kat Lawrence (6-9) retired Katie Fleury to end the frame.

    Katie Laing sent the first pitch she saw in the top of the fourth deep to right-center, bouncing the ball off the top of the fence before it dropped over for Notre Dame's second score of the contest.

    Revving up the fifth was Erin Marrone and her double to left-center. The designated player was shifted to third on Jorgensborg's sacrifice bunt. Pitzenberger stepped up and sailed a shot to center that was dropped by the Red Storm defender to plate Marrone.

     

     

    Two more runs in final stanza gave the Irish their final 5-0 margin. Jorgensborg's infield singled was followed by a fielder's choice that retired Jorgensoborg on the play. Smith's single put two on the pond for Fleury to move each of the runners one base further with a grounder to second. Laing cranked her second hit of the game up the middle for a two-RBI single.

    Jorgensborg, Smith and Laing led the Irish with two hits apiece. Kacee Cox, Brandy Reyes, and Alyson Funn each had singles for St. John's.

    Bargar (15-6) was credited with her fourth shutout of the season and her first conference win of the campaign. She gave up only three hits and walked one while striking out seven in 7.0 innings, retiring 12 of the first 13 batters she faced in the process. Lawrence gave up 10 Irish hits but fanned eight in the loss.

    Jody Valdivia found herself in a funk to start the day's capper, walking the bases loaded with one out in the first. But she battled back to strike out the next two threats to keep the game scoreless.

    A lead-off homer in the second by Christine Lux - her fourth of the season - gave Valdivia a 1-0 cushion to work with. That cushion became a bit more comfortable in the fifth when Jorgensborg drew a walk, Pitzenberger singled, and a double-steal was followed by Fleury earning a free bag with one out for the Irish. The bases stayed loaded when Laing's fielder's choice to second was thrown home, but Jorgensborg beat the toss to the plate for the second score of the contest. Linda Kohan recorded a sacrifice fly to score Pitzenberger from third, which made it a 3-0 game in favor of Notre Dame.

    St. John's did not register a hit in the game until Lisa Geer dropped a single into left to start the bottom of the fifth. Valdivia found herself in another jam with one out and three on base before retiring the final two batters.

    Ashley Ellis' walk and Jorgensborg's bloop singled down the rightfield line sandwiched Marrone's pop up to the catcher in the sixth. With one out, Pitzenberger slapped a singled up the middle to score Ellis which left two Irish runners in scoring position when Lisa Geer induced a doubleplay ball from Beth Northway.

    Geer helped herself with a two-run shot to center in the bottom of the sixth to cut Notre Dame's lead in half, 4-2. Bionka King singled to Valdivia and would score to continue the Red Storm two-out rally on Chelsea Durning's RBI double to center. Durning, who advanced to third on the previous play when the relay throw went home, tied the game when Danielle Estrado tapped a shot up the third base line for a hit.

    Tied at 4-4, the game two went into extra innings for the first time in the history of the 26-game series. Five scoreless frames went by until Kohan belted a solo dinger to left to crack the game back open. The next two batters - Lux and Ellis - reached base safely and Notre Dame tacked on its sixth run of the game on Shannon Kelly's RBI single through the left side of the defense to make it a 6-4 game. Smith singled home Marrone to cement the final tally.

    Kohan ended game in the bottom half of the stanza with a flash of the leather by snagging a liner and doubling-off a napping Red Storm runner at first.

    Pitzenberger tied a school record when she completed her seventh at-bat of the game in the top of the 12th. She shares the honor with four other players, as Katie Marten accomplished the feat last when she did so against Loyola in 1995. Pitzenberger also had three hits, while Lux and Ellis each scored twice.

    The Irish totaled 12 hits off Greer (3-4) who pitched all 12.0 innings. Valdivia went 5.2 frames and gave up four runs on four hits with eight strikeouts. In picking up the win in her relief effort, Bargar mopped up the final 6.1 innings and gave up four hits and passed out one walk while fanning nine.

    An April 6 doubleheader at Seton Hall begins at 11 a.m. (ET) to wrap up the weekend for Notre Dame.

    --ND--
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