April 16, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A school-record three home runs in the fourth inning helped the University of Notre Dame softball team overcome a 5-0 deficit to post an 11-5 non-conference win over Wisconsin on Wednesday. The three homers were the most ever for Notre Dame in a single inning as the Irish totaled four homers in the contest at Melissa Cook Stadium, the first time since the team has done so since an April 9 meeting at Pittsburgh in 2006. Megan Ruthrauff had three blasts in that game with Linda Kohan – who tallied a career-high two round-trippers against the Badgers – adding the fourth.
Kohan was joined by Katie Fleury and Christine Lux in the home run department today as Notre Dame (27-13 overall, 7-3 BIG EAST) racked up 12 hits to post three multi-run innings. Four of Notre Dame’s runs were accounted for by Kohan with her three hits and four RBI. Fleury was a perfect 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBI, and Ashley Ellis scored twice and collected two hits. The lone hit for Lux happened to be a two-run jack in the fourth, and Beth Northway added two hits and one RBI.
Neither team decided to score until the fourth when Wisconsin (12-33 overall, 2-10 BIG Ten) managed to put up a handful despite scratching out only one hit but got help with one Irish error. Entering Tuesday’s game at Northwestern, Notre Dame had only surrendered seven runs in the fourth inning through 38 games played on the year. The Irish gave up five to Northwestern in the fourth and five more today to Wisconsin in the same stanza.
The Irish responded with a bang in the bottom half of the frame by batting through the lineup to take the lead with six runs on six hits and a Badger error. Kohan led off with a solo homer that bashed the scoreboard in left-center, Ellis singled to left, and Lux accounted for two more runs with her bomb to right-center. Northway singled to third with a bunt and went to third on a throwing error. She would score when Erin Marrone singled to center. Marrone started the game behind the plate for Notre Dame at the catcher’s position for the first time this season. After Brianna Jorgensborg reached first on a fielder’s choice that put out Marrone, Fleury delivered her second homer of the season to the grass outside of the leftfield fence.
Two more runs on two hits in the fifth put the Irish on top, 8-2. A single by Kohan put her on first where she was substituted for by pinch runner Christine Farrell. Farrell and Ellis worked their way into scoring position with Farrell plating a run on Lux sacrifice fly to left. A two-out double by Northway found the rightfield line to score Ellis.
Singles by Fleury and Sarah Smith laid the groundwork for Kohan’s second dinger of the day in the sixth, a three-run missile that capped off an 11-0 Irish scoring run.
Brittney Bargar started and finished the game to move her record from the circle to 21-8. She gave up two earned runs and fanned six in 7.0 innings. The loss was given to Leah Vanevehoven (4-19) who went 2.2 innings and scattered six hits and six earned runs without a strikeout.
Conference contests at Louisville (April 19) and South Florida (April 20) are next up for Notre Dame. The first of two games at Louisville will be televised live nationally on CSTV at noon (ET), while both ends of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Bulls will be shown regionally on Catch 47 Sports TV.