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    No. 18 Notre Dame Hangs On For Opening Round Win

    FIGHTING IRISH Alexa Maldonado
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Alexa Maldonado
    FIGHTING IRISH

    May 12, 2011

    Box Score | Box Score Get Acrobat Reader | Highlights

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Top-seeded Notre Dame overcame a late deficit with timely hitting for the second straight game to deal eighth-seeded Providence a 6-4 defeat Thursday at Louisville's Ulmer Stadium. The 18th-ranked Irish trailed, 4-2, heading into the bottom of the sixth before using five hits to post four runs.

    The first-round loss at the BIG EAST Conference Softball Championship brought the season to a close for Providence (23-30).

    Notre Dame (45-8) will play in the tournament's 5:00 p.m. (ET) semifinal game on Friday against the winner of today's affair between Louisville and USF.

    Alexa Maldonado scored the game's first run in the top of the first and Sadie Pitzenberger dropped a double just inside the leftfield line to drive in Notre Dame's second run of the frame.

    Pitzenberger would go on to collect one more of Notre Dame's eight hits on the day, and Heather Johnson also had two hits to share team-high honors.

    The Friars retired 12 straight Irish batters before Lauren Stuhr singled to third base in the fifth.

    Providence's first hit came in the top of the fourth, a one-out single through the right side by Michelle Huber. Its second hit was recorded one batter later in the form of a two-run homer by Justine Stratton.

    Stratton duplicated the feat in the sixth with another two-run dinger to put the Friars ahead, 4-2.

    Providence cranked out four hits and four earned runs on Laura Winter (24-3) in 6.0 innings, but Winter struck out seven without issuing a walk.

    Notre Dame loaded the bases in the bottom half of the penultimate stanza for Pitzenberger, who sent the first pitch she saw to left to bring home a run. Katie Fleury drove in the tying run with another single, the fifth straight in the inning. Erin Marrone sent a sacrifice fly to center for a fifth score and Pitzenberger crossed one batter later on one of two Providence errors.

    Brittany O'Donnell slammed the door with a flawless seventh that included a pair of strikeouts for her first save of the season to ensure a 14th straight win for the Irish.

    Corinne Clauss (11-14) went the distance for Providence and gave up all six runs on eight hits. She struck out one Irish batter.

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