March 9, 2003
The University of Notre Dame softball team (7-7) split a doubleheader at Cal State Northridge (12-10) on Sunday to begin their Southern California swing during Spring Break. The Irish had game one won, but surrendered three runs in the bottom of the seventh and eventually lost in extra innings 5-4. Notre Dame rebounded in game two, helped by a two-run double from Lisa Mattison and a one-hitter from freshman Heather Booth, to win 3-1.
Senior co-captain Alexis Madrid was the offensive star for Notre Dame, putting up four hits in the two games with a triple and three runs scored. Mattison was hot at the plate as well, posting the game-winning hit in game two and a home run in game one.
Notre Dame handled the Matadors in game one, building a 4-1 lead on 12 team hits. The Irish got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning when Mattison led off with her second home run of the season. Madrid singled and advanced to third on a CSUN error and eventually scored when Andrea Loman reached on another defensive miscue by the home team.
Two more runs were added by the Irish in the top of the seventh. Madrid led off with a single and advanced to second on an infield hit by Megan Ciolli. Ciolli moved to second on a stolen base and Notre Dame was sitting pretty with runners on second and third with no outs. Mallorie Lenn struck out next, but Madrid scampered home on a passed ball to for the first run of the inning. Meagan Ruthrauff ended up driving in Ciolli with a double to left field.
The Matadors were only able to touch Notre Dame starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein for a single run in the sixth and the Irish righthander was able to scatter seven hits over that same span. Unfortunately for the visitors, they had yet to play the bottom of the seventh. Stenglein looked strong early, getting a ground out and fly out. Pinch hitter Shannon Acevedo stepped in and singled to center field. Christy Menefee then scratched out an infield single to bring the tying run to the plate. Matador lead off hitter Christen Bedwell responded to the opportunity by drilling a three-run home run to right field and the game was suddenly up for grabs.
Carrie Wisen entered in relief of Stenglein and got a ground out to send the game into extra innings. Notre Dame threatened in the top of the eighth when Liz Hartmann singled and Nicole deFau reached on a fielder’s choice, but CSUN starter Jenny Wheeler struck out Madrid to escape the inning.
The Irish came back to threaten again in the ninth and force Wheeler out of the game. After Ciolli led off with a ground out, Lenn was struck by a pitch. Loman drilled a double to right center to put runners at second and third. Kia Fennell was brought in for relief and struck out Ruthrauff. Andria Bledsoe then dribbled a ground ball to the pitcher and Lenn was thrown out a home to end the inning.
Given enough opportunities to seize the game, the Matadors finally responded in the bottom of the 10th. Emilee Moore led off with a single, followed by another single from Fennell. Jade Abel moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. Wisen would come back to get a ground ball to short for two outs, but Jan Moshier singled deep in the right side hole to drive in the winning run.
Game two was highlighted by an outstanding pitching performance by freshman Heather Booth. Take away the three walks issued by the rookie and she worked six perfect innings. CSUN’s lone threat over the first six came in the second inning when Fennell and Janine Grund earned walks. Booth got out of the inning by picking off the lead runner at third on a ground out back to the circle and getting a foul out behind first base that Madrid ran down.
Booth’s third walk occurred in the fourth, but the runner was immediately dealt with on a 1-6-3 double play.
All of Notre Dame’s three runs were scored in the fourth. Madrid led off with Notre Dame’s first triple of the season, drilling a pitch to the wall in left center. Loman couldn’t get her home, though, and fouled out to left field. Bledsoe stepped up to drive Madrid in with a single to the pitcher. The Notre Dame scoring threat looked to be over when Lenn popped up to short but the Irish had a two-out rally in them. Rutrauff singled and advanced to second on the throw and Bledsoe moved around to third base. Mattison responded to the challenge with a two-RBI double to right field.
Notre Dame was quiet on offense the rest of the game, but Booth was pitching well enough to make the three-run cushion stand. Fennell broke up the no-hitter in the bottom of the seventh with a looping a double to right field. She moved to third on a wild pitch and scored the only Matador run of the game on a fly out.