May 8, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Brittney Bargar tossed a three-hit shutout and Linda Kohan had three of the Notre Dame softball team's eight hits Friday during the BIG EAST Conference Championship semifinal matchup at Ulmer Stadium to breeze past host Louisville, 3-0. Unfazed by a six-hour rain delay the second-seeded Irish improved to 40-15 overall and in doing so achieved the 11th 40-win season in the 21-year history of the program.
Louisville, the tournament's third-seeded squad, had knocked Notre Dame out of the last two BIG EAST Championships and kept the Irish from claiming this year's regular season title by splitting two games at Melissa Cook Stadium last week. The Cardinals fell to 47-9 with the loss.
The final pairing is now set as Notre Dame faces top-seeded DePaul at 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday. The game will be televised live on CBS College Sports with Ann Schatz and Jason Knapp calling the action. Live stats will be available at UND.com.
For up-to-the-minute results and highlights, sign up for IRISH ALERTS text messaging services at UND.com.
Melissa Roth wore the first pitch of the game and ended up on third after a pair of Cardinals groundouts. She would stay on third after Bargar induced a Colby Wherry grounder back to the circle for the third out.
A one-out double by Beth Northway in the third came in front of Kohan's second hit of the contest, a bloop single to left. But the Irish stranded two more runners in scoring position when Kristen Wadwell (40-8) got Christine Lux to pop out to left field.
Defense ruled the top of the fourth - and most of the game - for Notre Dame after Bargar loaded the bases with three Cardinals. Heather Johnson gloved a grounder and fired home while Bargar took care of herself with a strikeout against Mandi Rodriguez to put out the fire.
Dani Miller singled to center to begin the home half of the fourth but it became another Irish hit that went for naught.
Alexa Maldonado slapped a shot between the legs of Cardinal third baseman Chelsea Bemis to begin the fifth for Notre Dame, a play that was ruled an error as Bemis could not get a glove on the rock. A third Kohan hit caromed off of Wadwell's glove and traveled to right field. Kristin Austin's throw sailed over third base in an effort to catch Maldonado which allowed Notre Dame's first run to cross the plate. Kohan stood on second when Johnson crushed an RBI-double off the center field fence. Miller added another double - a moonshot to center - to plate a two-out score.
Bargar limited the Cardinals to two hits through six innings but Louisville received a one-out double from Kristi Cunningham in the seventh.
Miller finished 2-for-3 for Notre Dame. Wadwell gave up one earned run and struck out three Notre Dame batters from the circle for Louisville.