March 4, 2006
The University of Notre Dame softball team lost its third straight game and second of the day late Friday evening, as Tulsa bested the Irish 2-1 on day one of the Best Western Airport Festival – hosted by the Golden Hurricanes. The Irish fall to 5-6 on the season while Tulsa improves to 10-3.
Notre Dame hoped to get back on track after battling #17 Nebraska for eight innings earlier in the day, but the Irish were struck by another key defensive lapse which led to the game-winning run. Freshman Brittney Bargar suffered the loss for Notre Dame, though the rookie righthander pitched well enough to earn a victory throughout the contest. Bargar’s final line stood at six innings, five hits, three walks and nine strikeouts. Tulsa’s Maren Genow out dueled her, however, scattering four hits, walking one and striking out three.
There were little offensive highlights for the Irish in the second game of the day. Notre Dame continually made contact against Genow, but committed seven fly ball outs – including two that were caught just steps in front of the outfield fence. The Irish also were frustrated by surrendering their second lead of the day. Notre Dame had led 2-1 over Nebraska in the first game on Friday, only to see the Cornhuskers rally with four unanswered runs. Against Tulsa, Notre Dame built a 1-0 lead and experienced the Golden Hurricanes erase the advantage immediately in the next half-inning.
The tournament will continue on Saturday with a matchup against Northern Iowa at 11 a.m., followed by a night cap game against Kansas at 7 p.m. Irish fans should be aware that the games will most likely be delayed, as Friday’s game between Notre Dame and Tulsa, scheduled for 7 p.m., did not see its first pitch until 9:30 p.m.
Notre Dame broke through for its first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning. Freshman Linda Kohan reached on a dropped throw at first and was replaced by pinch runner Sarah Smith. Smith moved to second base on a wild pitch and eventually ended up on third base on a deep fly ball out by senior Meagan Ruthrauff. Mallorie Lenn stepped in next and hit the ball hard, but straight to Tulsa third base Lindsay Galloway. Galloway fielded the play cleanly, looked Smith back to third base and threw across the infield for the second out of the inning.
Senior Sara Schoonaert made sure the Irish would not miss out on the scoring chance. After falling behind 0-2, Schoonaert fought back to line a base hit through the left side of the Golden Hurricane defense for an RBI single that put her team ahead 1-0.
Tulsa came right back with its own scoring chance in the bottom of the fourth. Kelli McGlasson led off with a single through the right side and was moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Angela Osbon stepped in next and grounded a ball to third base. Kohan fielded the play cleanly for the Irish, but after looking the runner back to second base, her throw to first was wide. Osbon ended up at second and McGlasson advanced to third on the errant throw
Lee Anne Pepper was due at the plate and blooped a hit behind first base to drive in Tulsa’s first run of the game. Bargar was not out of trouble as the home team boasted runners on first and third with just one out. She moved to two outs with a strike out of Galloway, but Brooke Smart followed with a 3-2 single up the middle to push her team into the lead 2-1.Bargar struck out the final Tulsa batter of the inning, but the Golden Hurricanes had managed two runs on three hits and an error in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Notre Dame could not answer in the final three innings of the contest. Singles by freshman Alexandra Kotcheff in the fifth and Lenn in the sixth were the only hits the Irish could manage during the team’s final nine outs. Bargar was equally effective, retiring Tulsa in order in both the fifth and sixth innings but her season record still fell to 3-2.