Softball set for conference play
Coming off of a home doubleheader sweep to Central Connecticut State University on Tuesday, the Pirates will start their confernce season with a three game series against Notre Dame this weekend.
The Pirates’ (5-11) pitching led the way in the double header.
Senior pitchers Ashley Forsyth and Danielle Zanzalari made the starts and each gave up five hits in their outings.
Forsyth struck out eight in her seven innings.
Zanzalari gave up no runs and struck out four in her start, which was the first shutout for the Pirates this season.
The Hall’s bats gave the Pirates a 10 run lead in the first inning and 15 runs overall
Sophomore infielder Laura Canulli had three RBIs in the game.
Freshmen Booke Tull and Kirby Groves both had two RBIs.
The Irish come into the series with an overall record of 19-5. After starting their season with a 22-game slate on the road, they beat Eastern Michigan on Tuesday at home in a double header with scores of 9-0 and 9-3.
A strong pitching performance by Jody Valdivia and four home-runs helped the Irish to score the 18 runs and stay consistent with the strong home-field performances that they are known for. The win brought them to 20-2 all-time in season openers.
They most recently won 11-0 against Toledo at Melissa Cook Stadium on Monday.
On Monday, two junior members of Notre Dame were honored by the Big East Conference with its top weekly awards.
Outfielder Sadie Pitzenberger earned the first Player of the Week award of her collegiate career. In addition, Valdivia won Pitcher of the Week recognition for the second time this season.
Heather Johnson and Christine Lux took home the award for the league’s Top Player of the Week earlier in March. These awards collectively signify the first sweep by a pair of teammates.
Pitzenberger reached base safely in all six games this past week and in doing so, extended her team-best-hitting streak to 16 games. She tallied three triples, a double, a hit-by-pitch, and only one groundout in her six leadoff at-bats.
She finished the week 10-21 at the plate, racking up five runs, two runs batted in, two doubles, and three triples. She had multiple hits in three games and achieved a .500 on-base percentage as well as a slugging percentage of .857.
Valdivia earned five wins in five appearances from the circle. Throughout the past week, the right-hander pulled off three shutouts and three one-hit efforts. This helped her attain wins in each of her last 11 decisions.
Valdivia also struck out nine batters in games against Cal State.
She struck out 10 against UNVL and ended the week with 40 strikeouts over 31.1 innings pitched.
Notre Dame will be Seton Hall’s first Big East opponent so far this season and vice versa. The Pirates’ five wins come from Boston University, Howard, Mercer, and the two from Central Connecticut State University.
The Irish have multiple shutouts up until this point. The team has blanked Louisiana Tech, Stephen F. Austin, George Washington, UC Riverdale, Cal State Northridge, Buffalo, Purdue, and Eastern Michigan.
The only teams that have beaten the Irish are Oregon, Auburn, Oregon State, Washington and San Diego. Four of those losses happened in the first five games of the season during the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
The series between the Pirates and the Irish starts with the first game on Saturday at noon and the second game at 3 p.m. The final game is set for Sunday at 11 a.m.
Gabrielle Kiger can be reached at email@example.com.