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    Irish Softball Starts BIG EAST Play Versus St. John's

    FIGHTING IRISH Sophomore Jody Valdivia
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Sophomore Jody Valdivia
    FIGHTING IRISH

    March 21, 2009

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    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Notre Dame softball team opens BIG EAST Conference play Sunday at Melissa Cook Stadium against St. John's. The doubleheader will begin at 11:00 a.m. (ET). Live video, audio and stats will be available at UND.com.

    This will be the 27th matchup between the two programs, with Notre Dame winning each of the last 26. In fact, Notre Dame's 26-game win streak over the Red Storm matches the most against any opponent (the Irish won 26 straight games against Valparaiso and carry a 27-2 all-time record against the Crusaders).

    The opener will mark Notre Dame's 14th season as a member of the BIG EAST. The Irish have an all-time BIG EAST regular-season record of 206-39 (.841) along with 10 regular-season titles.

    Notre Dame was tabbed third among league members in the BIG EAST preseason poll. The league's 13 head coaches voted in the poll, which named DePaul as the preseason favorite after the Blue Demons won the 2008 tournament title. St. John's was picked 10th.


    Notre Dame Fighting Irish
    10-10 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST
    [UND.com • BIGEAST.org]

    St. John's Red Storm
    8-9 overall / 0-1 BIG EAST
    [RedStormSports.com • BIGEAST.org]

    Melissa Cook Stadium
    March 22 • 11:00 a.m. (ET)
    University of Notre Dame • Notre Dame, Ind.
    Live video / audio / stats: und.com


    One-Hitters ...
    • Notes from Wednesday's home opener against Toledo (W, 15-0 / W, 9-1): Notre Dame is now 19-2 all-time in home openers, winning its last 12 consecutive ... the two losses came in 1992 and 1997 ... the Irish posted the most runs in a home opener (15) and the most runs in a doubleheader (24) since 2003 ... first back-to-back five-inning wins since 2004 ... first five-inning home opener ... first home opener at Melissa Cook Stadium ... the opener ended an 18-game road trip that included stops in four states (Alabama, California, North Carolina and Nevada) and featured six ranked opponents.

    •Sadie Pitzenberger scored a career-high four runs in game one against Toledo ... Christine Lux had five hits - including two home runs and two doubles - to pace the Irish ... her 13 total bases yielded a single-day slugging average of 2.167 ... freshman Dani Miller had two doubles and one home run in her home debut.

    • With a career record of 299-146-1 (.672), head coach Deanna Gumpf is one win away reaching the 300-victory plateau.

    • Trailing by a 1-0 count in game two against Toledo, the Irish put up a nine-spot in the bottom of the fourth to secure the victory ... ironically, Notre Dame had scored a total of nine runs in the fourth inning of its last 19 games combined, doubling that output on Wednesday ... the Irish scored seven runs in a single inning against Sacramento State (Feb. 21) earlier this season ... last year, Notre Dame scored nine runs in one inning against Charleston Southern (March 14) only to score 10 - tying the school record - in the third frame during a rematch with the Buccaneers one day later.

    • Notre Dame stayed flawless against St. John's with a doubleheader sweep in 2008 ... the Irish needed all of 12 innings in their 8-4 win to finish the twinbill, which was the largest margin of victory in program history in a game extending past the regulation 7.0 innings ... before that, the last time Notre Dame won a 12-inning contest was in 1994 when it defeated Indiana on May 20 by a count of 3-1.

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