March 18, 2006
The University of Notre Dame softball team fell to 11-9 on the season with a 6-5 loss to #4 Texas during championship bracket play at the Judi Garman Classic on Saturday afternoon. The Irish led the game 5-1 after four innings, but failed to hold the lead and fall to the consolation bracket to face #6 Alabama.
Notre Dame’s performance was keyed by two two-run home runs. One was hit by senior catcher Mallorie Lenn in the top of the first inning, while sophomore second base Katie Laing added her own in the top of the fifth inning. Freshman Brittney Bargar pitched well over the first four innings of the contest, holding Texas to four hits and one unearned run. She gave away much of the lead in the fifth inning, however, and ended up with a no decision. Senior Heather Booth suffered the pitching loss by allowing the game-winning home run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Things looked bright for the Irish after four innings. Facing Texas’ Meagan Denny, Notre Dame jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a two-run home run by Lenn. Another run was tacked on to the lead in an RBI single from freshman Alexandra Kotcheff in the top of the third inning.
Texas answered with an unearned run against freshman righthander Brittney Bargar. With two outs, lead off hitter Tina Boutelle singled to centerfield and the ball skipped by Kotcheff, allowing Boutelle to end up on second base. Shannon Thomas then made the Irish pay for the mistake with an RBI single.
Notre Dame grabbed the game momentum back in the fifth inning when Lenn drew a walk and pinch runner Beth Northway scored on a two-run home run by Laing. Whatever momentum Laing’s big hit seized for the Irish in the top of the inning, Texas was not phased and came back to tie the game up in the bottom of the inning.
The rally began with three consecutive doubles, including a two-RBI two-bagger from Boutelle. Bargar came back to get two outs, but Amber Hall posted an RBI single to force her out of the game. Booth entered in an effort to stop the bleeding, but she allowed an RBI double which knotted the score at 5-5 heading into the sixth inning.
With the score tied, Texas turned to USA National Team member and perennial All-American pitcher Cat Osterman to shut down the Irish offense. Osterman retired Notre Dame in order during the sixth inning and Rachael Cook crushed a home run to centerfield in the bottom of the inning to put Texas ahead to stay.
Lenn did manage a lead off single in the top of the seventh inning, but she was stranded on a strikeout, sacrifice bunt and strikeout to end the game.
Due to the rain delays from Friday evening, Notre Dame’s matchup with Alabama will be played at Golden West Junior College Sunday morning. Due to facility limitations, live audio and Gametracker coverage will not be available.