March 29, 2004
Two week-long dominating performances by the University of Notre Dame softball team (23-9) earned mention from the BIG EAST Conference on Monday, as sophomore first base Meagan Ruthrauff was named the conference player of the week and junior pitcher Steffany Stenglein the pitcher of the week. The player of the week award is the second for Ruthrauff this season, while Stenglein earns her first accolade of the 2004 season.
Ruthrauff and Stenglein were two of the main reasons the Irish finished last week with a perfect 4-0 record and outscored their opponents 19-4. Ruthrauff was close to unstoppable at the plate, going seven for 12 (.583) with three home runs and 10 RBI in four games. She contributed the game-winning hits in three of the four victories and slammed two three-run home runs last week. She was previously named the BIG EAST player of the week on March 1 this season.
Stenglein’s week was highlighted by her second career perfect game at Valparaiso on Tuesday, March 23. In a six-inning 9-0 victory over the Crusaders, she struck out a career-high 14 batters and did not allow a ball out of the infield. The performance was the second no-hitter of her career against Valpo (she combined with Carrie Wisen for a no-no in 2002) and her previous perfect game came vs. Virginia Tech – also during the 2002 season. The weekly award is the third of her career and first since ’02, when she claimed honors on back-to-back weeks (April 15 and 22).
Stenglein also threw seven scoreless innings vs. Saint Louis at the Hoosier Invitational over the weekend, picking up her eighth victory of the season. She ended up with 22 strikeouts in 13.0 innings pitched last week.
Notre Dame has yet to begin BIG EAST play, but will see conference action this weekend when it plays host to Connecticut (11-12, 1-1) on Friday (4 p.m.) and Boston College (18-11, 1-1) on Sunday (11 a.m.). The Irish also have a make up date at Western Michigan set for Thursday at 3 p.m.