May 10, 2002
The University of Notre Dame softball team (39-15) avoided elimination at the 2002 BIG EAST Championship with three big home runs to down Syracuse (25-21) in the second round of action in the tournament. The Irish move on to face Villanova in the next game at 5 p.m. for the right to take on Virginia Tech on Sunday for the league title.
Notre Dame’s first two runs came off two solo homers from Andrea Loman (in the first inning) and Jarrah Myers (third inning). Lisa Mattison’s clutch two-out RBI single in the sixth gave the Irish a 3-2 lead, but Syracuse’s Katie Kaempfer hit her second home run while leading off the bottom of the sixth to tie the game again.
After Irish starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein gave up a single and hit by pitch, Carrie Wisen came on in relief. With runners at fist and second, Alexis Madrid fielded a ground ball and appeared to tag the runner from first and throw to the bag for a double play.
Madrid missed the tag and got the runner at first, but the Syracuse player continued around second base. The Irish alertly tagged the runner out for the unusual double play. Wisen escaped the inning after getting a fly out to centerfield.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Jenny Kriech blooped an apparent single to centerfield, but the Orangewomen failed to cover second base and Kriech took advantage with a hustle double. Ciolli then stepped in a drilled her fourth home run of the season to right-centerfield to give the Irish a 5-2 lead.
Syracuse did not go quietly in the bottom of the inning. Nikki Lincoln reached to lead off the inning when Mattison came off the bag on a ground ball to third base. After a wild pitch moved Lincoln to second, she ended up at third on a ground ball to second base. Wisen got the second out of the inning when Kristen Collins fouled out to third base.
Lead off hitter Christina Holowich made sure the Orangewomen stayed alive, hitting a solid single to centerfield to cut the Irish lead to one.
Due next was Kaempfer, who at that point was two for three with a team-record two home runs in the game. Wisen worked the count to 1-2, then pulled the string on a great change up for a strike out to end the game.
The Irish face Villanova next at 5 p.m.