March 7, 1999

TUCSON, Ariz. – A day after losing to Arizona 16-0, the Notre Dame softball team gave a valiant effort Sunday but lost for the second time in as many days to the second-ranked Wildcats, 8-3, in the semifinals of the Hillenbrand Invitational hosted by the University of Arizona. The Irish fell to 9-6 overall this season and placed fourth at the tournament, finishing with a 2-4 record over the three days.

The Irish took the early lead in the top of the third inning when pitcher Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.) hit a double to centerfield to score two runs off Arizona pitcher Jennie Finch. The Wildcats got one run back in the bottom of the inning after Nicole Giordano doubled to left-center field to score Finch, who had reached base on a walk by Alkire, who was making her first start on the mound for the Irish this season.

Arizona scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 3-2 lead. The young Irish squad responded, however, with a run of their own in the top of the fifth after freshman Angie Grimmer (Crown Point, Ind.) scored from third on a grounder by freshman Jenny Kriech (Indianapolis, Ind.) to make the score 3-3.

The Wildcats retook the lead once again at 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth and later added four more insurance runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning to win 8-3 and advance to the finals of the tournament against Louisiana State.

The Irish will play a mid-week game at Cal State Fullerton, Wednesday, March 10, before heading up to the three-day National Invitational Tournament, March 12-14, in San Jose, Calif.