April 24, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Ashley Ellis lined an infield single in the bottom of the eighth inning to score Linda Kohan from third to give the University of Notre Dame softball team a 4-3 non-conference win over Loyola-Chicago on Thursday evening at Melissa Cook Stadium. Kohan started the inning on second by means of the international tie breaker rule and advanced to third on a passed ball before Ellis connected with her second hit of the game.
Game two ended in a 2-2 tie when the contest was called due to lightning in the area. The Irish (31-16-1 overall, 9-5 BIG EAST) had one runner on base in the bottom of the seventh when Katie Fleury singled to left to start the inning, which would prove to be the last play of the game.
Loyola (15-19-1 overall, 9-4 Horizon) surrendered a one-out double to Sarah Smith to begin the opener, and Smith would come around on a Christine Lux single to center. But the Ramblers tied the game in fourth, 1-1, with an unearned run caused by two of Notre Dame’s four errors in the contest. Ellis saved the Irish from allowing another run in the stanza by gunning down Lindsay O’Gean at the plate from centerfield.
Both teams added two runs to their totals in the fifth. Once again, Loyola took advantage of two fielding errors and an Angie Funston single up the middle that scored a pair of runs. The Irish responded with Fleury wearing a pitch and Smith cranking a single to left to put two on base for Katie Laing. Laing’s sky shot to deep center was caught at the fence by Nora Schober for the out. Schober mishandled the rock when she pulled it from her glove, and the ball was fumbled long enough for Fleury to score from second with Smith advancing to third. Kohan was walked and Ellis battled off 11 pitches before driving in Smith with a single.
Stephanie Cihlar started the eighth on second base for Loyola and got a free bag on a passed ball. O’Gean grounded out to the pitcher before Funston chopped one to Brittney Bargar (23-10) on the next play. Bargar fielded Funston’s shot and immediately threw the ball back to the plate where it was snagged by catcher Erin Marrone, who applied the tag to Cihlar in time for the second out.
Bargar went 8.0 innings to get the win and struck out three without surrendering an earned run and gave up six hits. Amy Solova (11-10) tossed 3.0 innings of relief and got the loss after giving up two runs – one earned – and four hits. Starter Krista Crosson was pulled after 4.0 frames of five-hit ball.
Smith steered the charge for the Irish with a 3-for-3 showing at the dish with Lux, Ellis and Beth Northway adding two hits each. The quartet accounted for all of Notre Dame’s nine hits. Schober had two hits for Loyola.
Loyola took advantage of several stellar individual defensive efforts, most notably by Cihlar in left field, to leave eight Irish runners on base in game two. Cihlar made a leaping grab to snag a one-out rope by Ellis with the bases loaded in the third.
The Ramblers put up one run in each of the first two innings on Jody Valdivia, who left the game after 1.2 innings and gave up two earned runs on three hits. Bargar stepped in with the bases loaded in the second and induced a Schober grounder back to the circle to end the inning. Bargar tossed the final 5.1 scoreless frames and scattered five hits.
The Irish trailed, 2-1, heading into the bottom of the sixth when Brianna Jorgensborg doubled to left-center with two outs. That hit scored Marrone from first, and Jorgensborg lost her footing while rounding second and was put out at third on the exchange.
Funston and Jenna Grim both tallied two hits for the Ramblers, who out-hit Notre Dame by a 6-5 margin. Lux crushed her ninth homer of the season to tie the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the second.
The 2-2 tie was just the third in the 1,173 games played in Irish history. The last came in 1992 when a 6-6 stalemate with Indiana State ended in the 11th inning of an April 28 ballgame.
Notre Dame stays at home and will host Providence on Saturday (April 27) in a conference doubleheader scheduled to start at noon (ET).