April 4, 2004
On a cold and blustery Sunday afternoon in Northern Indiana, the University of Notre Dame softball team capped a great weekend with two victories over Boston College (20-15, 2-4) at Ivy Field. The two victories (5-0 and 7-1) give the Irish a 4-0 start in BIG EAST Conference play and move their overall record to 28-10. While the Notre Dame offense stole most of the headlines in Friday’s doubleheader sweep of Connecticut, the Irish pitching staff wrestled away the spotlight on Sunday. Sophomore Heather Booth and junior Steffany Stenglein combined to post two complete game victories, giving up just three hits and one earned run during the doubleheader.
Booth collected her sixth shutout of the season in game one, going the distance while giving up two hits and striking out five. Stenglein flirted with a no-hitter in game two after Boston College scored on a two-base error to begin the game. The Eagles managed just one hit off Stenglein, who struck out eight and walked one.
Offensive stars for Notre Dame during the two games included sophomore Mallorie Lenn, who was three for six with four RBI – including a two run home run in game one. Junior Nicole Wicks started to break out of her slump, collecting three hits in four at bats and scoring one run. Senior Nicole deFau hit her first home run of the season in the sixth inning of game two, providing the last run in Notre Dame’s 7-1 victory.
What the Irish offense did not earn with its bats, Boston College gave up with their gloves. The Eagles committed six errors in the two games (three in each) and the BC pitchers witnessed seven unearned runs cross the plate over the course of the afternoon.
GAME ONE RECAP:
Notre Dame scored in the first three innings of the first game, taking advantage of three Boston College errors in each scoring opportunity. In the top of the first inning, Megan Ciolli singled with two outs and moved to second base when Meagan Ruthrauff drew a walk. Mallorie Lenn followed up with a high fly ball to leftfield which was affected by the wind and glanced off the bottom of BC leftfielder Erin Mackey’s glove. Ciolli was running on contact and scored easily on the error to put the Irish up 1-0.
A fielding error by BC’s third base cost the visitors a run in the second inning. Nicole Wicks doubled with two outs and stole third. Lead off hitter Stephanie Brown then drew a walk to put two runners on. Nicole deFau followed with a ground ball to third which Kristin Allain misplayed, allowing Wicks to score as the ball skipped into foul territory. Boston College did manage to track the ball down and tag out Brown at third base to end any further scoring chances for Notre Dame in the inning.
The third unearned run occurred in the third inning and it involved Lenn yet again. Ciolli and Ruthrauff had both reached base again and Lenn attempted to move them into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Everything went as planned, save for Boston College second basemen Jenna Macchi dropping the throw at first base – allowing Ciolli to score on the play.
Notre Dame’s fourth and fifth runs were undisputed, however, when Lenn drilled a home run to right-centerfield which just cleared the fence – driving in herself and Meagan Ruthrauff (who had doubled).
Booth was never really threatened by the BC offense in the game, allowing just three runners to reach second base. The Eagles were unable to advance a runner to third base in the game.
GAME TWO RECAP:
While Boston College was struggling defensively, it was actually a Notre Dame defensive miscue which led to the first run of game two. In the top of the first Macchi drew a walk and sccored when an errant throw by Liz Hartmann sailed into rightfield. Macchi was quick to third base and caught the Irish defense napping while attempting to retrieve the ball – allowing an unearned run to begin the contest.
What Boston College would not know at that time, however, is that miscue would be the lone scoring opportunity Stenglein would allow for the rest of the day. Only a bloop hit in the sixth inning by Kimmy Hopkin broke up the no-hit bid for the Irish pitcher – and the play might have been made had the Irish defense not been playing in to defend against a slap hit from Hopkin.
Boston College committed three more errors in game two, while Notre Dame went a step further than game one and scored two runs in each of the first three innings.
Brown walked to begin the bottom of the first and soon found herself at third base when deFau’s sacrifice bunt attempt was dropped by BC starting pitcher Britney Thompson. Ruthrauff came through with a two-RBI single to put Notre Dame ahead to stay 2-1.
Notre Dame’s two runs in the second inning came on a hit by pitch and walk with the bases loaded, while RBI singles from Carissa Jaquish and Stephanie Brown represented the scoring in the third inning.
The seventh Irish run of the game came off the bat of Nicole deFau, who crushed the first pitch she was offered in the sixth inning over the wall in leftfield – a hard hit ball to be sure, as the home run was hit directly into a howling wind which made a bright and sunny day into an uncomfortably cold one.
Notre Dame will return to action on Tuesday, when the Irish play host to the Purdue Boilermakers at 4 p.m.