April 14, 1999
PERFECT IN THE EAST: The Notre Dame softball team may have had to stay a day later than expected, but the Irish came back home with a perfect 6-0 record in the BIG EAST after sweeping doubleheaders against Rutgers and Villanova. The team faces a crucial week of games in both the Mideast Region against Indiana and DePaul and the BIG EAST versus reigning conference champion Boston College.
BLANKING THE WILDCATS: After waiting an extra day to play a BIG EAST doubleheader originally scheduled for Sunday, the Irish blanked Villanova 3-0 and 4-0 on Monday afternoon.
The first three innings of game one showcased the pitching talents of both Irish pitcher Jennifer Sharron (Agoura Hills, Calif.) and Wildcat pitcher Keri Stoller as neither team was able to put any runs on the board. Notre Dame finally struck first with in a run in the top of the fourth after sophomore Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.) singled, advanced to second and scored on senior Kris McCleary’s (Westerville, Ohio) RBI single. The Irish then added single runs in the top of the fifth and sixth to move to a 3-0 lead. Villanova was unable to mount any sort of offense against Notre Dame pitchers’ Sharron and Angela Bessolo (Lakewood, Calif.), who entered in relief in the sixth inning, advancing only three runners to second base and none to third. Sharron picked up her 10th win of the season to improve to 10-6 overall, while Bessolo grabbed her second save this season. Stoller took the loss, dropping to 12-4.
Notre Dame continued its dominance on both sides of the ball in game two. After taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the third on an unearned run, Alkire and McCleary launched back-to-back home runs over the left field fence for the second time this season to give the team a 3-0 lead. Alkire and McCleary also hit back-to-back home runs in a come-from-behind win over Kansas in the Arizona Tournament, March 6.
The Irish would add another run in the top of the seventh to win their fifth straight game, 4-0. Bessolo won her third game in a row, two of which have been shutouts, to move to 9-5, while freshman pitcher Michelle Moschel (Naples, Fla.) tallied her third save of the season after pitching the final two innings.
ROUGHING UP RUTGERS: The Irish started off the weekend by sweeping Rutgers to avenge last year’s 1-3 mark against the Scarlet Knights. The Irish won the first game 4-2 and then eight-run ruled Rutgers 9-1 in the second game.
In game one, Notre Dame first baseman Amy Laboe (Monroe, Mich.) hit her third home run of the season and the team’s 18th to give the Irish a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. One inning later, Notre Dame added two more runs due in part to three Scarlet Knight errors and tallied one more in the top of the fifth when Laboe doubled and came around to score on Kris McCleary’s sacrifice fly. Rutgers mounted two-out rallies in both the sixth and seventh innings to score two runs. In the sixth pitcher Juliette Brooks hit a home run to right field to put Rutgers on the board, while Danielle Dalbow scored the other Scarlet Knights’ run in the seventh before their rally was cut short when Adrienne Dalbow was caught trying to advance to third on Quyen Tran’s single.
Jennifer Sharron picked up the win in game one, striking out 11 batters and limiting Rutgers to four hits.
Down 1-0 early in game two, the Irish retook the lead for good scoring three runs in the second on RBI-singles by Sharron and sophomore Danielle Klayman. Shortstop Melanie Alkire added another run for Notre Dame in the third on a solo home run to center field. After a scoreless top of the fourth, the Irish tallied five runs, highlighted by freshman Jenny Kriech’s first career home run to lead-off the inning, to take the 9-1 lead, eventually winning in five innings after the Scarlet Knights were unable to make a dent in the eight-run lead.
Notre Dame pitcher Angela Bessolo pitched her second complete game to move to 8-5 overall.
IRISH SET HOME RUN RECORD: With senior Amy Laboe’s solo home run in the top of the third in game one of the Rutgers’ series, the Irish set a new record for team home runs in a season with 18 to pass the old mark of 17 set in 1994. The team did not just stop at 18, though. In the second game versus Rutgers, Melanie Alkire and Jenny Kriech both hit solo shots, while Alkire and Kris McCleary both hit one apiece in Notre Dame’s 4-0 win over Villanova to bring the season total up to 22 heading into the games against Indiana.
BACK-TO-BACK: For the second time this season sophomore Melanie Alkire and senior Kris McCleary hit back-to-back home runs in the 4-0 win over Villanova. The first time the two hit back-to-back home runs came in a thrilling come-from-behind 6-4 win over Kansas in the Arizona Tournament. McCleary currently leads the team with seven home runs, while Alkire is one behind with six. The Notre Dame individual season record still stands at 10 by Sara Hayes in 1994.
MILLERS RECORDS HER 800TH: The Irish hit another milestone in the two-game series with Rutgers. Notre Dame Coach Liz Miller recorded her 800th career win when the Irish beat the Scarlet Knights in game two. With the two victories over Villanova Monday, Miller now has a overall record of 802-273 in 24 years and is 261-130 in seven seasons at Notre Dame.
SCOUTING THE HOOSIERS: This is the 17th meeting between the Irish and Indiana. The Hoosiers are leading the all-time series 7-9, however, the Irish won both games in 1998 2-0 and 9-3.
This season Indiana is 16-23 overall and fell by a slim 2-3 margin Tuesday to Ball State. Under 12th-year coach Diana Stephenson, senior outfielder Khara Good leads the team in batting with a .327 average, while Teresa Martinez is the team’s top pitcher so far with a 8-7 record and a 2.15 ERA.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES: The two-time defending BIG EAST champion Boston College Eagles travel to Ivy Field Saturday for a twin-bill with the Irish.
The Eagles are currently 12-14 overall not including a Wednesday match-up with Brown University. Under head coach Jen Finley, BC returns all nine of its starters from a year ago including 1998 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year Jennifer Perrotta and first team selections pitcher Mary Dietz and infielder Chris Vicari. Among the Eagle starters, Vicari leads the team in batting with a .351 average, three home runs and 21 RBI. Dietz, meanwhile, is BC’s ace on the mound with a 4-5 record and a 1.46 ERA with 107 strikeouts in a little over 80 innings.
The Irish are 3-4 all-time against Boston College and the two teams split their regular season meeting last year with the Eagles winning the first game 3-2 and Notre Dame taking the second 1-0.
SCOUTING THE BLUE DEMONS: Not including four games against Youngstown State, DePaul currently has a 31-10 record and is ranked 22nd in the latest NFCA poll. Under head coach Eugene Lenti, the Blue Demons have posted impressive wins over second-ranked Arizona (2-0), fourth-ranked Washington (6-2) and 16th-ranked Illinois-Chicago (5-0, 2-0). They also finished second in the prestigious NFCA Leadoff Classic, falling to fifth-ranked Southwest Louisiana 2-1 in the final game.
Offensively, outfielder Shavaughne Desecki leads the team with a .421 average and 22 RBI. On the mound, pitcher Nicole Terpstra leads the way with a 15-2 record and a 0.77 ERA and Liza Brown has a 11-6 record with a 1.12 ERA.
Last year, the Irish fell to DePaul 1-0 and 3-1 to end the 1998 season. The Blue Demons, meanwhile, continued onto the NCAA Tournament where they fell to Michigan in the NCAA Regional Final.
UP NEXT: Loyola-Chicago travels to Ivy Field Tuesday for a doubleheader at 4 p.m., while the Irish will continue BIG EAST play next weekend at Connecticut (Saturday) and Providence (Sunday).
Tentative Defensive Starting Lineup
Pitcher – Jennifer Sharron/Angela Bessolo
Catcher – Kris McCleary
First Base – Amy Laboe
Second Base – Rebecca Eimen
Third Base – Jarrah Myers
Shortstop – Melanie Alkire
Left Field – Lizzy Lemire
Center Field – Danielle Klayman
Right Field – Jennifer Kriech
USA Today/NFCA Poll
April 14, 1999
R School 1999 Record 1. UCLA (25) 38-1 2. Fresno State 43-7 3. Arizona 34-8 4. Washington 27-9 5. USL 37-5 6. Michigan 35-5-1 7. Arizona St. 31-11 8. Oklahoma 33-10 9. Louisiana State 32-610. Stanford 32-1111. South Carolina 37-1212. Oregon State 31-1213. California 31-1014. Oregon 30-1315. Texas 30-1216. Illinois-Chicago 50-1317. Southern Mississippi 36-518. South Florida 39-1319. Texas A&M 33-1020. New Mexico 32-821. Massachusetts 26-822. DePaul 31-1023. Missouri 31-1424. Iowa 25-14-125. Minnesota 28-13
Others: Michigan State, Florida Atlantic, Maryland, Central Michigan, Hawai’i, Hofstra, Cal State Northridge, Southern Illinois, Boston Univeristy, Nebraska, Tennessee, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Delaware, Alabama, Cal State Fullerton, Troy State.
1999 BIG EAST Players of The Week
March 8 – Megan O’Leary (Villanova)
March 15 – Vickie Lamb (Seton Hall)
March 22 – Mia Brickhouse (Villanova)
March 29 – Amy Laboe (Notre Dame), Natalie Denning (Seton Hall)
April 6 – Vickie Lamb (Seton Hall)
April 12 – Juliette Brooks (Rutgers)
1999 BIG EAST Pitchers of the Week
March 8 – Kerri Stoller (Villanova)
March 15 – Jenn Berghoff (Seton Hall)
March 22 – Mary Dietz (B. College), Carrie Walpole (Villanova)
March 29 – Misty Beaver (Seton Hall)
April 6 – Jennifer Shatton (ND), Megan Biddle (UCONN)
April 12 – Mary Dietz (B. College)
1999 BIG EAST Rookie of the Week
March 8 – Molly Hanneman (Villanova)
March 15 – Heather Garboden (Villanova)
March 22 – Rhianna Rogers (Pittsburgh)
March 29 – Jarrah Myers (Notre Dame)
April 6 – Kim Jackson (Seton Hall)
April 12 – Caryn Haskins (UCONN)
BIG EAST Statistics – All Games (4/11/99)
Team Batting 3. Notre Dame (.299)
Team Pitching 4. Notre Dame (2.18 ERA)
Individual Batting10. Jarrah Myers, Notre Dame (.364)
Individual Pitching 5. Jennifer Sharron, ND (1.41 ERA)
Hits 3. Jarrah Myers (44) 4. Lizzy Lemire (43) 5. Melanie Alkire (39) 9. Jenny Kriech (36)10. Danielle Klayman (35)
Home Runs 3. Kris McCleary (6) 5. Melanie Alkire (5)
Stolen Bases 8. Jenny Kriech (6)
Runs 4. Amy Laboe (24) 5. Lizzy Lemire (23) 9. Melanie Alkire (20)
BIG EAST Statistics – All Games ( 4/11/99)
Runs Batted In 2. Jarrah Myers (26) 6. Melanie Alkire (21)
Doubles 4. Lizzy Lemire (10) 7. Jarrah Myers (8)
Team Fielding 5. Notre Dame (.945)
Wins 5. Jennifer Sharron (9) 7. Angela Bessolo (8)
Strikeouts 3. Jennifer Sharron (96) 7. Angela Bessolo (62)
Saves 1. Melanie Alkire, Michelle Moschel (2)
Innings Pitched 4. Jennifer Sharron 94) 5. Angela Bessolo (92.1)
Shutouts 1. Angela Bessolo (3) 5. Jennifer Sharron (2)
UTAH BLUE POWER RANKINGS (4/7)
1. UCLA 2. Arizona 3. Fresno State 4. Michigan 5. Washington 6. USL 7. Arizona State 8. Oregon State 9. California10. Texas11. LSU12. Oklahoma13. New Mexico14. Massachusetts15. South Carolina16. Stanford17. Southern Mississippi18. Hawai'i, Oregon20. South Florida, Mississippi State22. Central Michigan23. Pacific, DePaul, Baylor26. Missouri27. Maryland28. Illiniois-Chicago29. Long Beach State30. Cal State Fullerton