April 17, 2002
The University of Notre Dame softball team overwhelmed Indiana State on Wednesday at Ivy Field, posting two five-inning blow-out victories. The Irish improve to 24-13 on the season after the 14-1 and 11-2 victories, while the Sycamores fall to 11-27.
Both games were ended early due to collegiate softball’s eight-run rule (an eight-run lead after five innings played ends the game), but were still able to tally 25 hits in the two games. Every Notre Dame starter had at least one hit on the day, and pitcher Carrie Wisen picked up her ninth and 10th victories of the season.
This offensive explosion also came with two of Notre Dame’s best hitters taking the day off. Lisa Mattison rested her slightly sprained ankle, while Liz Hartmann was also on the bench to give her back another day off.
Notre Dame got on the board early in game one off two Indiana State errors. Jenny Kriech led off the bottom of the first and reached on an error, then stole second and moved to third on a throwing error. Andrea Loman brought Kriech home on a sacrifice fly, the first of five RBIs on the day for Loman.
After Wisen worked a perfect second inning, she led off with a double to right centerfield. Nicole deFau struck out next, but Annie Dell’Aria out hustled a infield single to put runners at first and second base. Alexis Madrid then moved both runners over with a ground out to second base.
Kriech made good on the RBI opportunity, drilling a single through the left side that scored both runners. Always aggressive on the bases, Kriech moved to second on the throw home and was eventually knocked in by an RBI single from Megan Ciolli.
The Irish scoring burst wasn’t over yet. Loman stepped in and drilled the first pitch she was offered over the centerfield wall for a two-run home run. Sycamore staring pitcher Cassie Reeser finally got out of the inning by striking out Andria Bledsoe.
Two more Irish runs were added in the third inning. With one out, deFau was hit by a pitch and moved to third base on a single up the middle by Dell’Aria. Madrid followed by getting the first of her two RBIs in the game, grounding out to second base and allowing deFau to score.
Given another RBI opportunity, Kriech took advantage with an RBI double over the centerfielder’s head to score Dell’Aria and put the Irish up 8-0.
Jessica Sharron entered in relief of Wisen in the fourth and ran into some self-imposed problems. She walked the first two batters she faced, but was able to get Sarah Kothe to pop out to the catcher for one out. ISU’s Tiffany Wasniewski then grounded back to Sharron in the circle, and she turned to third base to get the out. The throw was too high for Bledsoe and the runner from second scampered around third for an unearned run on the throwing error.
Sharron recovered quickly from her defensive gaffe, sandwiching a walk around two strikeouts to end the inning.
Indiana State brought in Dawn Minas to pitch the bottom of the fourth, but the Irish offense would keep up the frenzied scoring pace. After Loman drew a lead off walk, Jarrah Myers sent a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall for a two-run homer (her sixth of the season). Chantal DeAlcuaz popped up for the first out of the inning while pinch hitting, but Sharron looked good in the third at bat of her career, drilling a single into centerfield to keep the pressure on Minas.
After deFau popped out to the catcher, Dell’Aria posted her third hit of the game with a single up the middle and Sharron advanced to third base. Madrid then beat out an infield hit to drive in Sharron and put two runners on base for – you guessed it – Jenny Kriech.
Notre Dame’s centerfielder posted her fourth RBI of the day with a double to leftfield, scoring Dell’Aria and moving Madrid to third base. She would not stay there long, however, as Ciolli singled to centerfield on an 0-2 pitch for the sixth and final RBI of the game for the Irish.
After giving up a lead off hit in the top of the fifth, Sharron retired the next three batters to end the game.
Indiana State came out in game two determined to make it a contest and they would touch Wisen for a run in the first inning after a lead off hit, sacrifice bunt, stolen base and sacrifice fly.
The one-run lead would not last long. With one out, Ciolli bunted to get on for Loman, who crushed her second home run of the day over the left centerfield wall and erase the Sycamore advantage.
Given a one run lead, Wisen was unable to keep the Sycamores off the scoreboard in the second. A lead off walk ended up as the culprit during the inning. Indiana State moved the runner over on a sacrifice bunt and Jennifer McQueen followed with a base hit. Another walk loaded the bases and after a strike out to get to two outs, Sarah Lemond ended up getting hit by a pitch to force in a run. A ground ball back to Wisen in the circle ended the inning.
The score remained tied at 2-2 until the Irish came up with another huge inning in the bottom of the third. With the top of the Notre Dame order up, Kriech touched ISU staring pitcher Dawn Minas for her fourth hit of the day. Ciolli then singled through the right side and advanced to second base after the Sycamore short stop dropped the ball.
Minas pitched around Loman this time, walking her on four pitches to load the bases for Myers. Once again, Minas wanted little to do with another one of Notre Dame’s power hitters, walking Myers on four more pitches to force in a run.
Bledsoe lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score the second run and move Loman to third. Myers quickly got into scoring position with a stolen base and Loman scored on a wild pitch. Wisen added to the Irish advantage with an RBI single and by the time the inning was over, six more Notre Dame runs were on the board. Dell’Aria contributed a sacrifice fly and Madrid an RBI single during the burst.
Another one-two-three inning worked by Wisen in the fourth gave the team one goal – they needed two more runs to end the second game of the doubleheader early. Two infield singles with one out by Loman and Myers, followed by simultaneous stolen bases put both runners in scoring position. Bledsoe was walked on four pitches to load the bases and Wisen was walked on five, forcing in the ninth Notre Dame run of the game. ISU changed pitchers back to Reeser, the starter from game one, but the results were the same. deFau came through with a two-RBI single to rightfield to get the Irish the runs they needed.
Wisen made sure the game ended early, working a perfect inning in the fifth to get the win and push the Irish record to 24-13.
Notre Dame is back in action tomorrow, Thursday, April 18, at 3 p.m. against Bowling Green. The Irish and Falcons will only be playing one game.
GAME NOTES: With Lisa Mattison out of the lineup on Wednesday, the Irish shifted around the infield … Megan Ciolli made her second and third starts of the season at third, while Andrea Loman was back at first (a position she played in every game last season) … Mattison and Hartmann are both expected back in the lineup by Saturday (Virginia Tech) at the latest and were available for pinch-hit duty vs. Indiana State if needed.