Feb. 21, 2004

The University of Notre Dame softball team played an exhibition game against the U.S. Olympic Team on Saturday evening, taking a break from the Palm Springs Classic to face the Olympians in exhibition play. The Irish eventually fell to Team USA 10-0 in six innings, but the final score doesn’t tell the whole story of the Notre Dame effort.

Junior Steffany Stenglein started the game for Notre Dame, seeing her first action of the day after sophomore Heather Booth pitched six innings against #8/8 Stanford earlier in the day (a 4-2 loss for the Irish). Stenglein pitched extremely well, holding the best softball team in the world to one run on four hits over three innings. The run was scored in the second inning off back to back doubles from Jessica Mendoza and Kelly Kretschman.

Booth entered the game in the fourth inning to earn some valuable experience and pitched well, surrending four runs over two innings, one of which came o a solo home run by Crystl Bustos.

While the Olympians chipped away at the Irish, the Notre Dame offense was trying to deal with staring pitcher Lori Harrigan and relief pitcher Lisa Fernandez. The Irish managed just two hits – but both of those were provided by Notre Dame’s star in the game, sophomore Sara Schoonaert.

Schoonaert singled in the first and fourth innings to represent both of Notre Dame’s hits in the game. In addition, the Houson, Texas, native stole a base and was perfect on six defensive chances.

The game ended in the sixth when Carrie Wisen entered to pitch for the Irish. Unable to find her control, Wisen walked the bases loaded to the first three batters she faced, which brought up Fernandez with the bases loaded. The Team USA veteran made Wisen pay, drilling a line drive grand slam home run to end the game.

Notre Dame will wrap up action in the Palm Springs Classic on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 9 a.m. against #12/18 Tennessee.