April 17, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The two lone ranked BIG EAST Conference teams met Saturday at Ulmer Stadium on an afternoon suited for the Kentucky Derby, as No. 24 Notre Dame split a pair of games with No. 25 Louisville. Jody Valdivia (26-3) jockeyed the Irish to a 5-0 win in the opener, striking out five while holding the Cardinals to one hit. It was the 16th shutout of the year for Valdivia and six of those blankings have been against BIG EAST squads. Valdivia has not allowed a run in her last 29.0 innings from the circle.
Louisville (27-14, 6-4) left its horses in the stable until game two and ended the day with a 4-1 win, handing Notre Dame (33-7) its first league loss (11-1). Louisville was also the last BIG EAST team to beat Notre Dame, taking the front end of the 2009 regular-season doubleheader.
Notre Dame and Louisville will meet at 12:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday (April 17) to wrap up the series.
Louisville received two free rides in the first when Melissa Roth was hit by a pitch and Chelsea Bemis was walked, but the Irish did not let a runner advance past second to get out of the inning.
Kristin Austin bunted for a two-out single in the fifth, the only Cardinal hit of the game. The knock was the first hit allowed by Valdivia in three appearances covering 9.1 innings.
Brianna Jorgensborg singled past a diving Colby Wherry at short for the game's first hit in the third. Alexa Maldonado was walked and Katie Fleury soared a two-out double over the head of Austin in center, buying enough time for two runs to cross. Fleury nearly legged out a triple but was tagged out at third to end the inning.
Kristina Wright doubled off the 10-foot fence in right-center with Jogensborg clearing the obstacle for a two-run homer in the fifth. The bomb marked the second time Jorgensborg has homered in back-to-back games this season.
Jorgensborg boosted her production value with a 2-for-2 day with a pair of RBI, two runs scored and two putouts. Wright and Lux each finished with a pair of hits and Fleury had two RBI.
Sadie Pitzenberger punched in one of two sacrifices for the Irish, who scored their five runs on seven hits.
Cardinal ace Kristen Wadwell (14-9) was knocked around for five earned runs in 7.0 innings. She walked two and struck out a pair.
Louisville left five runners on base.
Louisville scored its first run of the day when Bemis battled Brittany O'Donnell (7-2) for a two-out single to right, scoring Vanessa James from second. James reached base on a fielder's choice and moved into scoring position on an Alicja Wolny groundout.
The bases were loaded for James in the second, and this time she got the job done at the plate by smoking a single past Lux at first base to score two runs, putting Louisville up by three.
Heather Johnson and Lux teamed for a double play to end the fourth, but Notre Dame could not provide any offense for O'Donnell or Jackie Bowe, who entered the game in the third and had four strikeouts in 4.0 frames. O'Donnell gave up three earned runs on four hits in 2.0 innings.
Johnson put Notre Dame on the board in the sixth with a solo yank to center for her team-high 13th home run. Lux nearly went yard with a two-out skyball to right which was caught at the warning track by James.
Louisville neutralized the run on Jennifer Esteban's RBI-double and left the door open for Notre Dame as the Irish rallied to strand three Cardinal runners.
The Irish were retired in order in the seventh.
Teri Collins (9-3) got the complete-game win. She struck out four and walked one.