Feb. 27, 2004
The University of Notre Dame softball team (6-4) fell to 1-1 in the NFCA Leadoff Classic with a 7-1 loss to #6/6 Georgia (10-2) Friday evening in Columbus. The Irish offense failed to figure out Bulldog starter Michelle Green, who tossed a complete-game one-hitter with 11 strikeouts.
Notre Dame starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein kept Georgia scoreless for the first two innings, but eventually surrendered seven runs on nine hits – including two home runs.
The Irish offense was represented by a solo home run by Stephanie Brown in the fifth inning. Stenglein was cruising along until the third inning, when Ashley Godrey drilled a 3-2 pitch just over the temporary fence in centerfield for a solo home run. It was the first hit of the game for both teams.
Georgia kept the pressure on with an infield hit by Julie Milner. Stenglein came back to get a pop up for the first out of the inning. The Bulldogs then moved Milner into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt – with a nice defensive play by the Irish (Ruthrauff fielded the ball, turned and tossed it to Brown covering first).
Katie Lewis then laid down another bunt, looking for an infield hit. Liz Hartmann came in to field and faked a throw to first. Milner wandered around third base a bit too far and Hartmann threw to Schoonaert behind her – looking to get the third out of the inning. Schoonaert followed Milner down the line, but was late with the throw to get the tag at the plate. Milner scored on the mental error and suddenly the score was 2-0.
Lewis ended up at second on the play and scored when Kim Wendland doubled down the leftfield line – just out of the reach of Nicole deFau. The inning finally ended when Mallorie Lenn threw out her second base runner of the game, this time it was Wendland attempting to steal third.
While Stenglein struggled through the third inning, Georgia starting pitcher Michelle Green hit her stride. She struck out Stephanie Brown, Carissa Jaquish and Nicole Wicks in order for her fourth-straight “K” to keep the Irish without a hit entering the bottom of the fourth.
As the Irish offense lost its way, Georgia continued to score in the top of the fourth. Shannon McKeon drew a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored when Ashley Godfrey looped a single over Schoonaert’s head in short leftfield. The Irish deficit was now 4-0 and Godfrey was at second after the Irish defense allowed her to reach on the throw home. Milner followed up by drawing a five pitch walk, but Notre Dame escaped when Carroll popped up into short-centerfield (Brown chased it down on a nice play from second base).
Now the Irish offense would be challenged to figure out Green, who posted six strike outs on her first trip through the Notre Dame line up.
Green continued her domination, striking out 10 of 15 batters entering the sixth inning. Her no hitter was broken up in dramatic fashion, however, when freshman Stephanie Brown drilled a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.
The Bulldogs continued to build their lead in the seventh, putting runners on secnod and third with no outs. Stenglein came close to escaping, getting a strike out and pop up, but Wendland made her pay by drilling a three run homer on a 2-2 pitch. Wendland ended the game three for three with a home run, double and three RBI.