April 22, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind.- Notre Dame’s softball team (24-18, 9-5 BIG EAST) failed to get their offense going in a pair of 3-1 losses to University of South Florida (35-21, 7-5 BIG EAST) on Sunday, April 22 at Ivy Field. The day was also Senior Day at Ivy Field as Notre Dame recognized the five seniors on the 2007 team (Stephanie Brown, Gessica Hufnagle, Kenya Fuemmeler, Carissa Jaquish and student manager Jessica Prina) between games with a short ceremony.
The Irish nearly broke through for an early lead in the first inning of the first game, as Stephanie Brown (Chandler, Ariz./Corona del Sol) lead off with a single into left field. Fellow Gessica Hufnagle (Middlebury, Ind./Northridge) moved her over with a sacrifice bunt, but that was as far as she could advance as a lineout and groundout ended the frame.
Sophomore Brittney Bargar (Corona, Calif./Corona) held the Bulls scoreless in the second despite having to work around singles by Cat Olnick and Courtney Mosch.
Freshman Christine Lux (Glendale Heights, Ill./Glenbard West) led off the Notre Dame second with a single to left. She moved over a base on sophomore Linda Kohan (Westminster, Calif./Westminster) sacrifice bunt. A ground out moved Lux to third, but again Notre Dame offense failed to drive her in with an infield pop out ending the inning.
The Bulls broke through for a pair of runs in the third inning. Back-to-back-to-back singles by Britta Giddens, Tara Toscano and Kit Dunbar loaded the bases to start the inning. Bargar then struck out JoJo Medina, before Cat Olnick delivered a double off the leftfield wall to score both Giddens and Toscano.
Hufnagle would spark an Irish rally in the bottom of the frame. She reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and hustled home on junior Katie Laing’s (Chandler, Ariz./Corona del Sol) single through the right side to cut the deficit in half.
The score remained the same until the seventh when South Florida added an insurance run as Dunbar’s double scored Giddens, who had singled earlier in the inning and went to second on a bunt, from second.
The Irish continued to fight in the bottom of the seventh as both Brown and Hufnagle drew one-out walks causing USF to bring in relief pitcher Kristen Gordon. Gordon ended the first game though with two fly outs for her fourth save of the season.
Bargar (16-9) pitched well in taking the loss for Notre Dame giving up all three runs on nine hits with nine strikeouts. USF’s Cristi Ecks (9-6) went the first four innings for her ninth win of the year.
In game two, the Irish took an early 1-0 lead in the second. Junior Sarah Smith (Oklahoma City. Okla./Heritage Hall) drove in pinch runner Brittany Glynn (Seymour, Conn./St. Joseph’s), who was pinch running for Kohan, with an infield single.
Senior Kenya Fuemmeler (Salisbury, Mo./Salisbury) made the lead stand until the fifth when USF tied the game and then took the 3-1 lead all with two outs. Mosch and Ashley Bullion both singled with one out. After a strikeout, Giddens drove in Mosch with the game-tying run with a single up the middle. With runners on the corners, Toscano pushed a ball to the Irish shortstop and beat the throw to score Bullion. After a Dunbar single loaded the bases, Danielle Urbanik drove in Giddens with her single to left field. The Irish leftfielder, Smith, prevented Toscano from scoring on the play with a perfect throw to nail her in a close play at the plate.
Fuemmeler took the loss in the second game, working the first six innings with three runs allowed and five strikeouts. Bargar came in to throw a scoreless inning of relief for the Irish.
Next, Notre Dame will continue the busy homestand with a non-conference doubleheader against No. 8/10 Northwestern (36-10) at 7 p.m. on April 24.
Irish Notes: The Irish have now lost four in a row … the two losses dropped Notre Dame to 14-5 in home games this season … Laing led the Irish offense with three hits on the day … the upcoming game against Northwestern will be the seventh time this season the Irish have played a ranked opponent.