May 13, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - No. 24 Notre Dame posted a 6-2 win over Providence Thursday at Louisville's Ulmer Stadium in the first round of the 2010 BIG EAST Conference Softball Tournament. The Irish have now won 10 opening round games in the BIG EAST showdown in 15 appearances and will play the winner of Thursday evening's matchup between third-seeded Louisville and sixth-seeded Pittsburgh at 5:00 p.m. (ET) Friday live on CBS College Sports.
The win was Notre Dame's 10th straight and put head coach Deanna Gumpf in a two-way tie with Liz Miller (377) for career wins as Irish skipper. The double-digit winning streak is the third such for Notre Dame this season after earlier streaks of 11 and 12.
Notre Dame (45-9) improved to 3-0 all-time against seventh-seeded Providence (22-28) in the BIG EAST Tournament and 29-2 in the series history.
The second-seeded blue and gold left Ulmer Stadium a bit black and blue as a pair of starters in Sadie Pitzenberger and Jody Valdivia left the game with injuries. Valdivia (36-4) struck out the side in the top of the first and gave up five hits in 5.0 innings of scoreless ball. She left the game in the sixth after taking a Justine Stratton shot off the shin. Brittany O'Donnell stepped in with a runner on first and induced a trio of outs while leaving two on base in the frame. O'Donnell gave up two runs on one hit with three strikeouts in 2.0 innings of relief.
Christine Lux smacked a two-RBI single in the top of the first to score Katie Fleury and pinch-runner Kelsey Thornton. Fleury began the inning by beating out a grounder to shortstop Jenna Garcia, moved to second on a Pitzenberger chopper and was joined on base by Thornton who came in to trot for Heather Johnson after she drew a walk.
Providence record two hits in the second but left both runners on base.
Fleury recorded her second hit and second run of the game in the second frame to capture the Notre Dame single-season record with 53 taps on home plate. In the same stanza, Pitzenberger doubled home two runs with a shot to the leftfield gap in the second, tying a single-season record with her 17th two-bagger to put Notre Dame ahead, 4-0.
Pitzenberger parlayed her offensive output with a spectacular catch in the third to save a pair of Friar runs from scoring. With two outs, Pitzenberger dove into the fence to snag a Stratton screamer while giving herself a chainlink tattoo across the face. Pitzenberger left the game in the fifth after colliding with Fleury on a Katelyn Revens double to shallow left.
Lux brought her RBI total to four on the day with a two-run home run in the third. The round-tripper, which followed a Johnson single, was Lux's 17th of the season.
Providence had two runners on base in the seventh when Stratton doubled in two runs with a two-out shot off the fence in center.
Revens had two hits for the Friars. Providence pitcher Corinne Clauss (8-11) lasted 2.0 innings and gave up six earned runs on six hits. Alicia Grosso stepped in and gave up three hits in 4.0 stanzas of scoreless ball.