March 10, 2005
The University of Notre Dame softball team (8-7) began the Hawai’i Spring Fling tournament in fine form Wednesday evening, easing past Campbell (17-10) on a season-high six runs and 12 hits. Junior Meagan Ruthrauff and sophomore Gessica Hufnagle led the Irish offense, combining for three hits and three RBI. Ruthrauff hit her second home run of the season in the fifth inning and finished one for two with three RBI (including two sacrifice fly balls), while Hufnagle logged her first career multi-hit game, going two for three with an RBI and stolen base.
Irish starting pitcher senior Steffany Stenglein proved untouchable over the first portion of the contest, facing the minimum in her four innings of action (and picking up her third victory of the year). Stenglein walked one batter (who was wiped out by a double play) and struck out five. Senior Carrie Wisen pitched the fifth and sixth innings, allowing just one hit. Sophomore Kenya Fuemmeler, making her first pitching appearance of the season, finished off the bottom of the seventh for the Irish allowing one run on two hits and two walks.
Sophomore Stephanie Brown also was a catalyst at the plate for Notre Dame, pounding out a season-high three hits. The Irish were able to play all 16 available players on their roster in the contest (the only player not to see action was game two starter Heather Booth).
Notre Dame moves on to face the host team, Hawai’i in the nightcap of day one.
Notre Dame jumped all over Campbell starting pitcher Kelly Weaver in the first inning, scoring three runs off four singles and a sacrifice fly. With one out, Brown reached base on a slap hit to shortstop and moved to second on a single to leftfield by Mallorie Lenn. Both runners moved up on a passed ball, which allowed Brown to score the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Ruthrauff.
Kellie Middleton kept the momentum going with a single to leftfield, driving in Lenn with the second run of the inning. Middleton followed up to swipe second base for her team-high seventh stolen base of the year and scored on a single down the leftfield line by Liz Hartmann.
Katie Laing drew a walk to put runners at first and second and Hufnagle stepped in. The Irish catcher posted her first hit of the year, a solid ground ball single through the left side. Campbell made a good defensive play, however, throwing out Hartmann at home plate to end the inning.
The first inning was easily the best offensive output in a single inning for the Irish this season in terms of hits (the Irish scored four runs in the third inning in their victory over #4/5 Tennessee). It also marked the most runs scored in the first inning by Notre Dame in 2005.
Stenglein took the momentum and ran with it, striking out the side in the bottom of the first to get the Notre Dame offense back in the batter’s box.
Notre Dame added to its lead in the top of the third when Meagan Ruthrauff drilled a 1-1 pitch deep over the left-centerfield wall for her second home run of the season and 17th of her career (sixth on the all-time list). The Irish tacked on another unearned run in the third inning when Middleton laid down a perfect bunt single and ended up on second base when Campbell catcher Chelsea Gates threw the ball far down the rightfield line. Middleton scored on an RBI single to centerfield by Hufnagle – her second hit of the season and first RBI in ’05.
The sixth Irish run was delivered in the top of the seventh when Brown led off with a single and Carrie Wisen doubled down the leftfield line. Ruthrauff drove her in with her third sacrifice fly of the contest.
GAME NOTES: Stephanie Brown’s three hits in the game marked her third multi-hit performance of the year (2-2 vs. Utah, 2-3 vs. Arizona State) and she stole her first base of the season in the second inning … the Irish turned a nifty double play in the second inning after Stenglein issued her first walk of the game … on a 3-1 pitch, Campbell’s Jessica Huffman popped up a bunt attempt, which Irish catcher Gessica Hufnagle stabbed and threw to Katie Laing covering first base for a double play … with her RBI in the first inning, senior Liz Hartmann now has 98 career RBI and moves closer to becoming the eighth Irish player to reach the 100-RBI career milestone … Gessica Hufnagle logged her first career multi-hit game for the Irish against Campbell, going two for three at the plate … Brittany Glynn made the first appearance of her career in the fourth inning, pinch running for Mallorie Lenn.