April 7, 2005
The University of Notre Dame softball team (22-8) improved two notable streaks with its 4-1 victory over Ball State (12-23) on Thursday afternoon. The Irish earned their 11th straight victory, extending the team’s longest winning streak since 2003 and won their 11th straight game at Ivy Field dating back to last season (6-0 in 2005).
Senior Liz Hartmann cranked her second three-run game-winning home run of the season in the fourth inning on Thursday, pushing Notre Dame to its victory. After Ball State took the lead in the top of the inning on an unearned run off starting pitcher Heather Booth, Notre Dame attacked Ball State starting pitcher Amy Brownfield with five hits and four runs in the bottom of the inning.
Senior captain Megan Ciolli led off the inning with a bunt single, stole second base and moved to third on a single by freshman Katie Laing. Hartmann then stepped in and drilled her team-leading third home run over the leftfield fence – matching her three-run shot in the seventh that proved to be the game-winner against Eastern Michigan on March 20.
The Irish kept the pressure on when junior Mallorie Lenn drilled the first pitch she was offered after the home run into the left-centerfield gap for a double. She eventually scored on a two-out RBI single by junior Sara Schoonaert.
That lead was all the Irish pitching staff would need. Booth started the game, allowing three hits over four innings, striking out six. Senior Steffany Stenglein entered the game in the fifth inning and eventually picked up her first career save – mowing through the Cardinal lineup with six strikeouts in three innings while not allowing a hit.
Other offensive stars for the Irish on Thursday included sophomore Stephanie Brown, who was two for three with a double. Junior Kellie Middleton was also one for two with her 12th stolen base of the season.
Brownfield earned the loss for Ball State, allowing eight hits, four runs (all earned) and striking out three. BSU scored its lone run on a two-base error by Notre Dame’s Katie Laing. With a runner on second base, Laing made a great play to her right, snuffing out a single up the middle that would have scored the run easily. Laing threw wide of first base, allowing the runner to score from second base.
Notre Dame will return to action on Saturday, traveling to Pittsburgh for a BIG EAST Conference doubleheader at 11 a.m.