March 1, 2002
The University of Notre Dame softball team spilt a pair of games on the opening day of a weekend tournament for the third time this season, dropping a 6-3 game to #19 Louisiana-Lafayette to start the day, but salvaging a 1-0 win over Illinois State in game two in the first day of competition in the Aggie Invitational II in Bryan/College Station, Texas on Friday. The 24th-ranked Irish have now won and lost a game during the first day of the tournament for three weeks in a row (losing to #1 Arizona, then defeating Auburn in the Arizona Pepsi Classic and losing to #11 Oregon State and defeating Southern Mississippi in the NFCA Leadoff Classic).
Notre Dame came out sloppy early in game one, giving up two unearned runs and three runs total in the bottom of the first. After getting the first out, Irish starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein walked ULL’s Becky McMurtry. Alana Addison laid down a bunt to move McMurtry to second, but catcher Jarrah Myer’s throw pulled Irish starting first base Liz Hartmann off the bag.
With runners on first and second, Missy Martin drilled a ground ball through the right side hole that bounded through the legs of Notre Dame right field Nicole deFau. Martin scampered all the way around to third base, while both runners scored on the play. Martin was eventually driven in by a ground ball out and Notre Dame faced an early 3-0 deficit.
After ULL starting pitcher Michael Parrott worked a one-two-three inning in the top of the second, the Lady Cajuns offense would drive Stenglein out of the game. Joy Webre led off with a solid single and ended up at second after a wild pitch. Summar Lapeyrouse followed with a laser beam double down the leftfield line to drive in Webre.
Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf brought in Carrie Wisen for relief. She escaped further damage in the inning by getting the Cajuns to ground out three consecutive times.
Wisen would pitch tough hard the rest of the game, but walks would come back to haunt the rookie righthander. She would end up giving up two more runs, while Notre Dame would manage just three unearned runs in the top of the fourth as its only offense.
The Irish were obviously not happy with their performance against the Lady Cajuns, dropping their third consecutive game to a higher-ranked opponent. Notre Dame’s defense had committed just seven errors in the 10 previous games before the game against ULL, but would end up with three in contest against the Lady Cajuns.
Notre Dame would regroup during the break, however, and get back in the victory column against the Illinois State Redbirds.
The Irish defense returned with a steady hand, while the offense finally started to show signs of life. Both ISU and ND’s pitchers were strong in the second game, but the Irish ended up as the team that put a run on the board. With two outs in the fifth, Jenny Kriech drilled a triple deep over the ISU centerfielder’s head to get into scoring position. Freshman Megan Ciolli came through in the clutch, crushing a line drive back at Redbird pitcher Corey Harris. Harris knocked the ball down with her glove, but Ciolli zipped down the line to beat the throw while Kriech crossed the lone run of the game.
Stenglein ended up loading the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh, but got Harris to pop up to end the game.
The schedule for the tournament this weekend has changed. Notre Dame will face Texas A&M at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Aggie Stadium, then move back to the Bryan High School’s Lady Viking Field (where both games were played today) to meet Illinois State again at 2 p.m. The Irish will face Louisiana Lafayette one more time as well on Sunday at 11 a.m.