March 3, 2001
The 15th-ranked University of Notre Dame softball team (11-1) earned its third victory of the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn., Saturday afternoon, defeating Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) 9-1 in five innings. The game was played throughout a steady drizzle, and tournament competition was cancelled for the rest of the day after the Irish victory.
Notre Dame will not face Tennessee-Chattanooga on Saturday evening, as previously scheduled. The Frost Classic will pick up tomorrow morning when the Irish face UAB at 10 a.m., then take on Jacksonville State at 12 p.m.
Neither team mustered much of a scoring threat in the first two innings, but Notre Dame’s powerful bats came alive in the bottom of the third. Alexis Madrid (Temecula, Calif.) led off with a single to leftfield and Jenny Kreich (Indianapolis, Ind.) attempted to move her to second with a sacrifice bunt. UAB’s Adrienne Guilbeaux dropped the throw at first, though, and Kriech reached safely while Madrid advanced to third.
Danielle Klayman (San Diego, Calif.), batting in the second spot in the lineup for the first time this season, seized the opportunity the UAB fielding error provided. She scorched a single to right-center field, allowing Madrid and Kriech to score and collecting her third and fourth RBI of the season. She also advanced to second on the throw home and immediately stole third base for her second steal of 2001.
UAB starting pitcher Kelli Thompson induced Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.) to pop up, but Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Kan.) singled to knock in Klayman with the third Irish run of the inning.
After UAB changed pitchers from Thompson to Kerri Foster, Lizzy Lemire (Irvine, Calif.) lined a single to leftfield that skirted through the legs of UAB outfielder Jessica Brown. The ball rolled all the way to the wall, allowing Myers to score and Lemire to advance all the way to third base.
The UAB mental errors continued to mount as Foster uncorked an illegal pitch, which allowed Lemire to score from third and provided Andrea Loman (Riverside, Calif.) with a 2-0 count. Two pitches later, Loman doubled off the centerfield wall and eventually scored the sixth Irish run of the inning on a Jen Sharron (Agoura Hills, Calif.) single. Foster eventually got out of the inning after consecutive ground outs from Andria Bledsoe (Higley, Ariz.) and Madrid.
As the weather turning even uglier, Notre Dame posted three more runs in the bottom of the fourth to build a 9-0 lead. Kriech reached base after being hit by a pitch and moved to second when Kas Hoag’s (Wallingford, Conn.) deep fly ball was dropped by UAB’s Emily Scarbrough. Lemire posted her second hit of the game with a two-RBI triple to left-center field to provide her team an eight-run lead.
Lisa Mattison (Granger, Ind.) tacked one more run on the Irish lead with her first hit of the season, an RBI single to right field.
Jessica Sharron (Agoura Hills, Calif.) was inserted to pitch the top of the fifth inning, but UAB refused to end the game quietly. Sharron started by striking out Lucy Bass, but an Irish fielding error, a walk and a single loaded the bases for UAB’s Cliffanie Engram. She singled to leftfield to ruin the shutout and Schmidt returned to the game for Notre Dame to get the last two outs.