March 19, 2005
After sitting through several weather-related delays, the University of Notre Dame softball team (11-8) was finally able to play a game at the Buckeye Invitational, but Marshall (14-8) got the best of the Irish with a three-run home run in the top of the seventh which led to a 7-4 victory. Notre Dame will continue the tournament on Sunday with games against Oakland (12 noon) and Eastern Michigan (2 p.m.).
Notre Dame’s offense was keyed by two two-for-three performances by senior Liz Hartmann and freshman Katie Laing. Steffany Stenglein recorded the no-decision, though she pitched well, striking out nine in five innings of work.
The big blow in the game was delivered by Marshall in the top of the seventh. With the scored tied at 4-4 (thanks to an RBI double by Hartmann in the sixth inning) and two outs on the scoreboard, a single and hit by pitch put two runners on in front of Marshall’s Leigh Wintter. She broke open the game with a three-run home run to leftfield off reliever Heather Booth.
Notre Dame was unable to rally in the bottom of the seventh and saw its five-game win streak come to and end.
The first three runs of the game were scored by the Irish in the bottom of the first inning. Stephanie Brown led off the inning with a double and scored when Kellie Middleton’s push-bunt single was mishandled by the Marshall defense. Megan Ciolli followed with an infield single and Middleton scored on a balk by Marshall pitcher Randi Nielson.
Notre Dame tacked on another run on an RBI single by Meagan Ruthrauff.
Marshall came back to get three runs in the third inning, keyed by a defensive miscue by the Irish. With runners on second and third, Sara Schoonaert fielded a ground ball straight to her and attempted to throw home – but her throw pulled Irish catcher Mallorie Lenn far off the bag. The Thundering Herd made the Irish pay for the mistake with a two-RBI single later in the inning, tying the score at 3-3.
Marshall inched ahead in the fifth inning on an double and RBI single, but the Irish matched with their own single (by Laing) and double (by Hartmann) to knot the score a 4-4 entering the game’s final innings.
With Stenglein’s control problems in late innings this season, Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf turned to Booth in the sixth – who has been consistent in her career relief appearances. Booth got to within one out of keeping the score tied in the seventh before surrendering the big home run.
Due to the weather delays, Notre Dame’s matchup with Ohio State was cancelled and will not be replayed.