April 1, 2002
The University of Notre Dame softball team kept up its hot hitting with an 8-0 five-inning victory over Loyola-Chicago on Monday afternoon. The Irish were scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Ramblers, but the second game was not played due to worsening weather conditions on Chicago’s north side.
Notre Dame was able to carry over its steady hitting from last Saturday’s doubleheader sweep of Pittsburgh (13-1, 9-2), led by the red-hot bat of reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week Jarrah Myers. Myers posted another multiple hit game once again against Loyola, going two for four with two doubles and three RBI.
The Irish threatened in the top of the first, but after Megan Ciolli and Andrea Loman posted one-out singles, Loyola starting pitcher Sarah Smith struck out Myers and induced a fly out to leftfield from Andria Bledsoe.
Loyola would get a lead off hit in the bottom of the second, but the runner was immediately doubled off first base when Andrea Loman stabbed a line drive and threw to Lisa Mattison at first for the two outs. Irish starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein struck out Sue Stanley for the third out of the inning.
To start off the Notre Dame portion of the second inning, Mattison blooped a single into centerfield and Nicole deFau came in as a pinch runner. deFau moved to second on a wild pitch and Liz Hartmann laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runner to third. After Alexis Madrid drew a walk, Jenny Kriech came through with a single to leftfield to put the Irish ahead 1-0.
Another Notre Dame run would be posted in the third inning. With two out, Bledsoe reached on a throwing error by the Rambler short stop, moved to second on a single by Mattison and came home on an RBI single from Hartmann. Smith escaped further damage in the inning by getting Carrie Wisen to line out hard to first base.
Stenglein started the third inning and got one out before issuing a seven-pitch walk to Keilah Williams. With a doubleheader against Valparaiso scheduled for Tuesday, Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf decided to use Wisen in relief of Stenglein. Wisen ended the inning by getting two consecutive ground outs.
The fourth inning ended up as Notre Dame’s big inning. Madrid led off with a solid single to centerfield and Kriech moved her into scoring position with a sacrifice slap-bunt. Ciolli followed by drilling a ground ball to short stop, but Natalie Martin was unable to field it cleanly and the Irish had runners at the corners with one out.
Loman stepped in next and was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Myers. After looking at two pitches outside the strike zone, Myers ripped Smith’s third offering down the leftfield line to score both Madrid and Ciolli.
With runners on second and third, Bledsoe drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases once again. Loyola head coach Stephanie Henderson brought in Mia Pangere for relief of Smith, but her first pitch to Mattison hit the Irish first base on the hands to drive in Loman from third.
Hartmann continued the streak with a sacrifice fly to leftfield that Myers easily scored on. Wisen wrapped up the hitting for Notre Dame with her first career double down the leftfield line, which allowed Bledsoe to score the seventh Irish run from second base.
Wisen worked a perfect fourth inning and the Irish came to bat in the top of the fifth looking to end the game on softball’s eight-run rule with one more score. Kriech led off with a hit, but she was forced out at second on a Ciolli ground ball. Loman followed with another fielder’s choice, but Myers stepped in and smacked a double to the wall in centerfield. Loman motored around the bases, easily scoring the eighth run Notre Dame was looking for.
Jessica Sharron was charged with holding the eight-run lead in the bottom of fifth, and the junior righthander came through. Kriech made a great catch at the wall to get the first out of the inning and Sharron got a routine ground-ball and strike out to end the game.
Notre Dame looks to get back to the .500 mark as it plays host to its home opener against Valaparaiso at Ivy Field (1 p.m.) on Tuesday. The matchup is scheduled for a doubleheader if weather permits.