April 22, 2005
The University of Notre Dame softball team (34-9, 10-0 in BIG EAST) put together its best doubleheader performance of the year on a cold Friday evening at Ivy Field, sweeping St. John’s (17-28-1, 4-8) with identical 8-0, five-inning victories. The Irish offense and pitching staff shined, as the Irish posted 17 hits in 10 innings while the pitching staff allowed just two hits and struck out 19 Red Storm batters.
Notre Dame now looks forward to its doubleheader on Sunday at 11 a.m. with BIG EAST Conference leader Seton Hall, who will play at Pittsburgh before heading to campus on Saturday evening.
Coming off a doubleheader sweep of Akron on Thursday, during which the Irish scored just four runs of 14 hits, Notre Dame turned that trend around in Friday’s doubleheader. The Irish scored 16 runs off 17 hits, ending both games early on the collegiate-softball eight-run rule.
Each Irish starter posted at least one hit in the doubleheader, save for senior Liz Hartmann (who had only one official at bat and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly). Junior Kellie Middleton led the way from the second spot in Notre Dame’s order, going four for seven in the two games with three runs scored. Freshman Katie Laing continued to pound conference pitching as well, putting up three hits and three RBI in the doubleheader.
Notre Dame’s clean up hitter was effective as well, as junior Meagan Ruthrauff ended up two for four with three RBI and a home run in game one.
While the Irish offense was crushing Red Storm pitching, the Notre Dame pitching staff was continuing to dominate its opponents.
Senior Steffany Stenglein took to the circle for game one and after surrendering a lead off single to SJU’s Megan Oliver she retired the next 15 batters for a complete-game shutout victory. Stenglein struck out 12 batters, hitting double-digit strikeouts for the 11th time this season. She also reaches double-digit strikeouts for the fourth consecutive start and has piled up 55 strikeouts in those four appearances.
Junior Heather Booth was equally effective in game two for Notre Dame. After also giving up a lead off single to Oliver, she retired 15 of the next 17 batters – issuing just two walks while striking out seven. Booth and Stenglein both picked up her 16th win of the year in the doubleheader.
The Irish pitchers were so dominating on Friday that the St. John’s hitters were able to get just one ball out of the infield – a fly out to centerfield in the second inning of game one.