March 10, 2005
The University of Notre Dame softball team (9-7) dominated the host team, Hawai’i, 9-1 on Wednesday evening in day one action of the Spring Fling tournament in Honolulu. For the second consecutive game (after a 6-1 victory over Campbell earlier in the day) the Irish reached team highs in runs scored and hits in a game.
Senior designated player Carrie Wisen led the way with a three for three performance at the plate, driving in two runs. Senior centerfielder Megan Ciolli was also three for three, scoring a run and driving in a run as well.
Junior Heather Booth logged another solid outing for the Irish, improving her season record to 6-3. Booth held the Rainbow Wahine to two hits and one run over 5.0 innings, walking two and striking out three.
Notre Dame will move on in the tournament to face Virginia on Thursday, March 10, at 12 noon.
Game two did not start nearly as strongly for the Irish as the tournament opener. Booth struggled with her control early in the contest, working her way into trouble with two walks and a hit by pitch in the bottom of the first. She struck the leadoff batter, Kaulana Gould, but she was forced out at second on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Tara Harbert, who laid down the bunt, stole second base to get in scoring position for Denise Dahlberg. Dahlberg popped up to the pitcher, but Booth could not close out the inning. She walked Tyleen Tausaga and Louise Harriden finally made her pay for the free passes with an RBI single to leftfield.
Booth issued another walk to Ashley Ruff, but looked to have escaped the inning with a strikeout looking on Kristi Yoshizawa. A dead ball appeal was entered by Hawai’i head coach Bob Coolen, however, and the Irish were forced to re-take the field on defense.
On the Irish lineup card, a slight error was made. Coolen was then able to call for an appeal at anytime during the game and chose this specific occasion.
Booth ended the controversy by retiring Yoshizawa for a second time, this time a ground ball back to the pitcher’s circle.
Notre Dame rushed back to take the lead on five unearned runs in the top of the second inning – a memorable inning filled with base hits, throwing errors and long umpire discussions.
The inning began with Mallorie Lenn reaching on a fielding error at shortstop. Pinch runner Sarah Smith entered for Lenn and Carrie Wisen attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Wisen planted her bunt perfectly, however, and confusion in the Hawai’I defense allowed her to reach first base without a throw for an infield single. Wisen was replaced by pinch runner Brittany Glynn.
Liz Hartmann followed with a sacrifice slap-hit, moving the runners up to second and third. Katie Laing followed with a single up the middle, scoring Smith and moving Glynn to third (she also moved to second on the throw home).
Sara Schoonaert was due next and she grounded out to second base and Hawai’i forced Glynn out at home plate for the second out of the inning.
Now with runners on the corners, Stephanie Brown laid down a perfect bunt single, driving in Laing for the second run of the inning.
Next up was Kellie Middleton and she posted another hit for the Irish, a solid single into rightfield. Schoonaert rounded third base to score on the play and slid in easily, but Hawai’i catcher Denise Dahlberg attempted to throw out Middleton advancing to second base. She sailed her throw high over the shortstop’s head and the ball ended up going all the way to the centerfield wall. Middleton and Brown all came around to score on the two-base error and the Irish had suddenly blown the game open.
With the bases empty, the Irish started to string something together again. Ciolli drilled her second double of the game to centerfield and Meagan Ruthrauff followed by drawing a walk.
It was time for Mallorie Lenn to bat again in the inning – but the Irish catcher had been replaced by a pinch runner. Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf caught the error and called for time just before the first pitch was thrown to Lenn.
After a very long and drawn out conference between both coaches and the umpire (and some key help by the Notre Dame Sports Information Department) the correct ruling for the play was utilized. By not re-entering the game correctly (it was ruled that the pitch was thrown before Gumpf called timeout), Lenn was declared an illegal player. She was not subject to ejection, however, because the Irish coaching staff had alerted the umpire before the Hawai’i staff.
The teams went through several changes during the 20-minute delay, including both teams coming out on field in their defensive positions. Eventually, Lenn was back in the batter’s box and she singled – but Hawai’i leftfielder Gould came up with a perfect throw to get Ciolli at home and end the very long inning.
Notre Dame continued the offensive onslaught in the fourth inning. With one out, Middleton doubled into the right-centerfield gap and scored on an RBI laser beam single by Ciolli, who moved to second on the throw home. Ruthrauff followed with a single up the middle to put runners on the corners briefly. Briefly because pinch runner Nicole Wicks entered and quickly stole second base to put two runners in scoring position for Lenn.
Lenn drew a walk to load the bases for Wisen. She lifted a towering fly ball deep down the leftfield line which just fell fair and out of the reach of UH’s Gould. The Irish runners were forced to hold on the play, but Ciolli and Wicks were able to score once the ball was not caught. Lenn moved to third and Wisen made it to second base on a throwing error by Gould in leftfield – as she airmailed home plate attempting to throw out Wicks.
Notre Dame tacked on another run on an RBI ground out by Hartmann.
GAME NOTES: Liz Hartmann drew closer to the 100 career RBI mark, driving in her second run of the season and 99th of her career in the fourth inning against Hawai’i … Hartmann will become the eighth Irish player to reach 100 RBI in a career … Stephanie Brown (two for four) posted her second-straight multi-hit game for the Irish after going three for three in game one against Campbell … Carrie Wisen’s three hits match her career single-game high, set against St. John’s in 2004 … Kellie Middleton completed a great two games against Hawai’I, going two for four at the plate and scoring two runs … in Wednesday’s two games, Middleton was four for six with four runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base … the 13 hits for Notre Dame mark the most for the team since they pounded out 15 in an 9-1 win at St. John’s last season … the nine runs are the most since a 9-0, five-inning victory vs. Pittsburgh last season.