March 18, 2000
FULLERTON, Calif. – The Notre Dame softball team posted its second straight win over a ranked opponent Saturday, defeating sixth-ranked Oklahoma 4-2 in the quarterfinals of the Kia Classic at Cal State Fullerton. With the win, the Irish improved to 18-5 overall and 4-1 in the tournament, while Oklahoma fell to 34-5.
Notre Dame got started early as lead-off batter Jennifer Kriech (Indianapolis, Ind.) walked, designated player Jennifer Sharron (Agoura Hills, Calif.) singled to left field and junior pitcher Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.) tallied a bunt single up the right field line to load the bases with no outs. Clean-up batter sophomore Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Kan.) then sent her second career grand slam over the fence in centerfield to give the Irish the 4-0 lead.
The Sooners threatened in their first at-bat when shortstop Kelly Braitsch singled to center field and was later thrown out at the plate by Irish second baseman Alexis Madrid (Temecula, Calif.). Still in the first inning, Oklahoma had the bases loaded with two outs, but Alkire got Erin Evans to go down swinging to end the threat.
Oklahoma, however, finally put two runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning when Leah Gulla scored from second on a single by leftfielder Christy Ring and LaKeisha Washington, who advanced to second on Ring’s single, scored on a two-base error.
The Irish had a chance to widen their lead in the top of the sixth when freshman Andria Bledsoe (Higley, Ariz.) was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Lizzy Lemire’s (Irvine, Calif.) double to right field. The Irish then had runners at second and third with two outs, however, Sooner centerfielder Evans made a diving save of an apparent Kriech hit to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh with sophomore Michelle Moschel (Naples, Fla.) pitching in relief of Alkire, Oklahoma pinch hitter Mandy Fulton popped up to Bledsoe for the first out. Ring then got on board with a walk, before Moschel struck out Braitsch for out number two. Lisa Carey then walked to put runners and first and second. With clean-up hitter Ashley Barrett batting and a 3-2 count, Moschel got Barrett to fly out to left field to end the game.
The Irish move on to the semifinal game Sunday at 11 a.m. against the winner of the #2 Arizona-Cal State Northridge game, which will be played later Saturday evening.