May 7, 2000
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The 19th-ranked Notre Dame softball team won its 11th straight game to claim it second consecutive BIG EAST championship, defeating Connecticut 7-0 Sunday at Boston College’s Shea Field. The Irish, who earned an automatic bid to the NCAA championships, moved to 46-12 on the season and 15-2 versus BIG EAST teams, while the runner-up Huskies fell to 36-17.
After three scoreless innings, Notre Dame loaded the bases after three straight walks by Connecticut pitcher Barbara Cook with no outs. Sophomore catcher Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Kan.) then took a ball deep to right-center field for a double to drive in all three runs and give the Irish a 3-0 lead. After a Lizzy Lemire (Irvine, Calif.) fly ball moved Myers to third, junior Danielle Klayman (San Diego, Calif.) drove in Notre Dame’s fourth run of the game on a single to second base. The Huskies got out of the inning with a ground ball double play, but the Irish had already done the damage with a 4-0 lead.
The Irish scored another run in the top of the seventh when Klayman reached on a two-base error by Huskies’ first baseman Abbie Link, moved to third on a bunt single by freshman Alexis Madrid (Temecula, Calif.) and then scored on a wild pitch. Junior shortstop Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.) capped off the Irish victory with a two-out, two-run home run, her third of the season and her school-record 13th of the season.
Connecticut had just five runners reach base on a pair of singles in the third inning, one in the sixth and two in the seventh. Irish pitcher Jennifer Sharron (Agoura Hills, Calif.) earned her school-record 25th victory of the season to move to 25-6 on the season after allowing just the five hits and striking out seven. Sharron beat the previous record of 24 set back in 1995 by All-American Terri Kobata.
Alkire was named the tournament’s most outstanding player, going 6-for-8 at the plate with three home runs, five runs scored and six RBI. Earlier in the weekend, Alkire had received her second straight nod as BIG EAST Player of the Year.
NCAA Tournament bids will be announced next Sunday, May 14, with regionals scheduled for May 18-21.