April 22, 2004
The University of Notre Dame softball team (34-13) hits the westbound lanes of the Indiana Toll Road again this evening, heading to Chicago for the second time in three days for a road game. The Irish were rained out at Northwestern on Tuesday, but the weather looks good for tonight’s match up with UIC (24-19) at Flames Field on Chicago’s south side. The single game will begin at 6 p.m. (5 p.m. EST).
Irish looking to erase last week’s loss to the Flames:
Notre Dame’s trip to Chicago this evening is a welcome one, as the Irish will get a chance to avenge one of their two home field losses this season. UIC came to Ivy Field last week (Thursday, April 15) and scored on the international tiebreaker the top of the 10th to come away with a 4-3 victory. Notre Dame’s rally in the bottom of the 10th ended when the tying run was thrown out at home plate to end the game.
The Flames have won 12 of their last 13 games and will have the benefit of playing on their home field, where the Irish have posted a record of 5-5.
Notre Dame and UIC have met a total of 24 times, with the Irish leading the all-time series 16-8. UIC’s victory last week was its first at Ivy Field.
A look back at last week’s meeting:
Notre Dame jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game last week, before UIC came back to take a 3-2 lead with two runs in the fifth inning. Notre Dame came back to tie it in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Mallorie Lenn and the teams followed with three consecutive scoreless innings.
The game switched to the international tiebreaker rule in the 10th inning and UIC quickly took advantage. Jessica Ruesnow reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a one-out RBI single from Alycia Creese.
Notre Dame was down to its last out, with its lead runner still on second base, when Nicole deFau bounced a hard ground ball up the middle. UIC shortstop Joyce Cathey reached the ball, but dropped it for a fielding error. DeFau was safe easily at first and Carissa Jaquish rounded third in an attempt to score the game tying run. Cathey recovered to make a solid throw home and UIC catcher Elizabeth Jacoby put down the tag on a bang-bang play at home for the final out of the contest.
Creese not only provided the game-winning RBI, but she also shut down the Irish line up late in the contest. She pitched the final 3.2 innings, striking out six and allowing just one hit. Alison Aguilar started the game for UIC, giving up seven hits, three runs and striking out one.
Heather Booth was the starting pitcher for Notre Dame last week, going 4.1 innings, giving up six hits and three runs. She also walked three and struck out six. Carrie Wisen took the loss by throwing the final 5.2 innings, giving up five hits and one unearned run.
Creese had two hits in the game and one RBI, while deFau paced the Irish offense with a two for four performance and two runs scored.
Huge BIG EAST weekend lies ahead for Notre Dame:
After Thursday’s contest at UIC, the Irish will hit the road after classes on Friday for a key BIG EAST Conference road trip. Notre Dame will face Villanova (first place in the BIG EAST with a 9-3 conference record) on Saturday at 12 noon, then head to Piscataway, N.J., for a doubleheader with Rutgers at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
National statistical rankings:
The NCAA has updated the national statistical rankings for Division I softball and Notre Dame appears three times in the rankings. The Irish fielding percentage of .972 is ranked 12th in the nation and is a mark to be proud of, considering that Notre Dame replaced its entire infield with new players in 2004.
Junior centerfielder Megan Ciolli is ranked 50th in the nation in batting average (.404), while sophomore Meagan Ruthrauff checks in at 24th in RBI (0.91 per game).