SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of South Florida softball team (18-17 Overall, 3-1 BIG EAST) fell to the No. 23/RV Notre Dame Fighting Irish (27-6, 6-0) 4-2 in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader.
The Bulls were first to strike as USF used back-to-back walks by sophomores Janine Richardson and Gina Kafalas to bring up lefty slapper Tara Toscano. Toscano hit a single up the middle to plate Richardson from second base to take a 1-0 lead. With the bases loaded and two out, Kafalas was thrown out at home on an Olnick fly ball to end the Bulls rally in the first inning.
The Fighting Irish evened the score when their RBI leader, Heather Johnson, hit a shot to centerfield for her team-leading 11th home run of the year. Christine Lux walked and later scored on two back-to-back singles to give Notre Dame a 2-1 lead after one inning of play.
Junior Kelly McCarver hit a two-out single to the shortstop but left fielder Sadie Pitzenberger made a nice diving catch to rob Richardson of a hit in the second inning.
Notre Dame extended its lead to two when Johnson fisted a single to centerfield, bringing home Pitzenberger, for her second hit of the game in the Irish's home half of the fifth.
Senior JoJo Medina hit the 22nd homer of her career to left field to cut the Irish lead to one, 3-2, in the top of the sixth. The shot was estimated about 260 feet away from home plate.
"When you swing the bat aggressively good things will happen," said head coach Ken Eriksen on Medina's home run.
Brianna Jorgensborg hit her second homer of the season to left field, giving the Irish a 4-2 lead, in the bottom of the sixth.
Jody Valdivia (21-3) earned the win tossing a complete game and allowing two runs on three hits. The righty walked four, only striking out two.
Freshman Lindsey Richardson (8-4) suffered the loss, hurling 5.2 innings, striking out three and giving up eight hits. The Estero, Fla., native allowed four runs, all earned.
"Lindsey threw well today," said Eriksen. "I think today was a great experience for her to deal with some adversity. She is the type of pitcher that will continue to battle through the thick and thin and right now she is battling through the thick of it. I see some really good things happening for her."