March 20, 2005
It was only a matter of time before senior Liz Hartmann logged her 25th career home run. Entering Sunday’s game with Eastern Michigan, the Novato, Calif., native had hit four game-winning home runs in the sixth inning or later during her career and had missed several chances at a home run this season that either turned into doubles off the wall or were caught at the fence.
She picked a perfect time to hit number 25 on Sunday afternoon.
Hartmann’s first-pitch three-run home run ended up as the game-winner in Notre Dame’s (13-8) 4-1 victory over Eastern Michigan (1-6) to end the Buckeye Invitational on Sunday. Hartmann completes the tournament with seven hits and seven RBI in three games and she also crushed two doubles in the game against EMU.
Not to be overlooked after Hartmann’s big hit was the pitching performance of junior Heather Booth. Recovering from surrendering a three-run home run in the top of the seventh on Saturday to Marshall (in Notre Dame’s 7-4 loss), Booth bounced back from an unearned run in the bottom of the first to pitch six innings of no-hit softball. After EMU touched her for that single run on two hits in the first, Booth retired 18 of the next 19 batters she faced – with her own throwing error allowing the lone EMU base runner in the fifth inning.
While Booth kept EMU off the scoreboard, the Notre Dame offense finally got the equalizer in the fifth inning when senior Megan Ciolli drove in sophomore Stephanie Brown with the tying run on an RBI single.
Notre Dame came close to getting the go-ahead run in the sixth inning when Hartmann doubled to right-centerfield with one out, but senior Carrie Wisen ground out and, after two walks, Brown flied out to end the inning.
Needing one run to take the lead in the top of the seventh, the top of Notre Dame’s order came through when needed. With one out, Ciolli beat out an infield single which was quickly followed by a single through the left side by junior Meagan Ruthrauff. Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf called for the double steal, which Ciolli and Ruthrauff executed to perfection to get in scoring position for freshman Katie Laing.
Laing hit the ball hard, but right to third base for the second out of the inning. Hartmann made sure Notre Dame would leave the tournament with a winning record, crushing her home run to leftfield. The ball cleared the outfield fence by 25 feet and landed on a satellite building beyond leftfield.
Booth retired Eastern Michigan quietly in the bottom of the seventh to earn her eighth victory of the season.
Sunday’s game was the first of three meetings with Eastern Michigan this season. The Irish and Eagles will meet against in a doubleheader at Ivy Field on Tuesday, April 5 (3 p.m.).
Liz Hartmann has now smashed FIVE game-winning home runs in the sixth-inning or later during her career … those home runs came vs. Nebaska (2002), vs. Nebraska (2004), at La.-Lafayette (2003) and vs. Saint Louis (2004) … Hartmann’s 25 career home runs leave her one behind Sara Hayes for fourth on the all-time list … she trails all-time leader Jarrah Myers (36) by 11 … Hartmann’s three hits in the game is her first three-hit performance of the season and first since she went three four four with four RBI and two home runs vs. #8 Nebraska on Feb. 14, 2004 … Megan Ciolli, who finished two for three with an RBI and run scored vs. EMU, collected her sixth multi-hit game of 2005 … Stephanie Brown ends the tournament going five for 11 with two doubles, a stolen base and two runs scored … Hartmann and Brown were named to the Buckeye Invitational all-tournament team.