May 2, 2006

Box Score

The University of Notre Dame softball team (34-18) suffered its fourth consecutive loss on Tuesday, May 2, with a 6-4 setback to Loyola Chicago (16-37) in the final home game of the season for the Irish. Notre Dame jumped out to a quick lead 2-0, then led 4-2 before Loyola rallied with two runs each in the sixth and seventh inning to earn the victory.

The four-game losing streak is just the third such streak in the Deanna Gumpf era (2002 – current), but it is the latest in the season that four consecutive losses have been dealt to the Irish. Loyola’s come-from-behind victory on Tuesday followed on the heels of a doubleheader sweep at Louisville on Monday, May 1, and a game-two loss at USF on Saturday, April 29.

Notre Dame jumped out to a 2-0 led in the bottom of the first with some solid production from the top of its lineup. Stephanie Brown led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Katie Laing’s double to centerfield. Laing eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Linda Kohan.

Loyola came back to get two runs off starting pitcher Heather Booth. Two consecutive walks to lead off the inning provided an RBI opportunity for Raven Gengler, who doubled down the leftfield line to drive in both runs.

The Irish moved ahead 4-2 in the bottom of the third on two RBI ground balls. Schoonaert led off with an infield single and moved to third on a single from Laing. The throw to third in an attempt to cut down Schoonaert was high – which enabled Laing to move to third in scoring position. Ruthrauff and Kohan followed up with RBI grounders and Notre Dame took the lead for the last time in the ball game.

Needing to get freshman Brittney Bargar back on track after a rough weekend, Gumpf turned to the rookie righthander in the fifth inning – but the move would end up backfiring. Three consecutive singles, including two bunts, loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning. Bargar earned the first out of the inning on a strikeout, but a passed ball committed by freshman catcher Erin Glasco allowed the third run of the game to cross the plate for Loyola.

Gengler was due next with runners on second and third and came through for her team again, hitting a deep ground ball up the middle. Laing made a great play ranging to her right, scooping up the ball and throwing out Gengler at first from her knees. The runner from third scored on the play, however, and the game was now tied 4-4.

Loyola scored the wining runs in the top of the seventh inning. With one out, Trish Oberhaus bounced a single through the left side of the Irish defense. Tara Miller followed up with a similar hit into the left side again and Loyola moved the go-ahead run to second base with one out. Bargar moved one out away from escaping the inning with a ground ball to second base, but Nora Schober stepped in next and drilled a triple into the right-centerfield gap – clearing the bases and providing her team with a 6-4 lead.

Loyola seemed determined to give Notre Dame a chance to rally in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Schoonaert and Laing reached on consecutive fielding errors from the Loyola defense and Ruthrauff came to the plate representing the winning run.

Loyola’s Laura DeLeon, pitching perhaps her finest game of the season (7.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks), forced consecutive pop outs from Ruthrauff and Kohan to end the game.

Bargar suffered the loss for the Irish, falling to 15-8 on the season after giving up seven hits, four runs (three earned) and striking out four.