Feb. 13, 2004
The first day of action for Notre Dame is complete at the UNLV Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. The second-ranked California Golden Bears (7-0) defeated the Irish (1-1) 2-1 on Friday evening, as Notre Dame was able to out-hit the Bears 7-4, but could not come through with a timely hit to get over the hump.
Megan Ciolli led the Notre Dame effort with a three for three performance at the plate (she also had two steals), while senior Nicole deFau provided the lone RBI of the game for the Irish with a single in the sixth inning. Steffany Stenglein pitched a solid effort in her first game of the year against one of the top offensive teams in the nation, giving up four hits and two runs with one strikeout and five walks.
Ciolli led off the game for Notre Dame with a double down the rightfield line and eventually made it to third base on a ground out, but Mallorie Lenn struck out and Ruthrauff lined out sharply to rightfield to end the Irish threat.
California came through with its own quick scoring chance in the bottom of the inning. Vicky Galindo led off with a triple to the fence in centerfield and scored when catcher Haley Woods singled to centerfield. Stenglein recovered to get a pop out and fielder’s choice to end the inning.
A defensie struggle ensued for the middle inning of the contest, as Stenglein struggled with her control (three hit by pitch, five walks) but worked her way out of trouble on several different occasions. California would tack on another run to their lead in the bottom of the fifth with a lead off hit, a walk (followed by a double steal), then a sacrifice fly from Haley Woods to score the run.
Notre Dame scratched across its first run of the game in the top of the sixth. Meagan Ruthrauff and Liz Hartmann posted back to back hits to put runners on first and second. Pinch running at second base, Nicole Wicks baited a throw to second and stole third base to get 60 feet away from home plate. Senior Nicole deFau then came through with an RBI single to centerfield to cut the Bear lead to 2-1.
Stenglein escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the bottom of the sixth with two consecutive ground outs to keep California off the board and give the Irish a chance to tied up the game with a single run in the seventh.
The rally would not develop, however, as California staring pitcher Kelly Anderson closed out her victory with a quiet inning (only allowing a Ciolli walk). Anderson finished her complete game victory by scattering seven hits and striking out six.
Notre Dame returns to action Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. against #8/9 Nebraska, followed by a match up with UNLV at 6:30 p.m.