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Softball Posts Three Straight Doubleheader Sweeps

April 2, 1999

SEVEN IS HEAVEN: With a win over Purdue and two wins each over Toledo, Bowling Green and Butler, the Notre Dame softball game is on its longest win streak of the season. In the seven game stretch, the Irish have out scored their opponents by a 39-7 margin and posted three shutouts.

Last season, the Irish won 17 straight from April 11 to April 28 and had a 13-game home win streak prior to the BIG EAST Championships.

LABOE, MYERS SNAG BIG EAST WEEKLY HONORS: Amy Laboe (Monroe, Mich.) and Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Kan.) were honored Monday by the BIG EAST Conference for their play in Notre Dame’s six games last week.

Laboe, who shares the BIG EAST Co-Player of the Week award with Seton Hall’s Natalie Denning, hit .421 (8-for-19) as the Irish went 5-1. The senior first baseman scored five runs and had six RBI, while recording 55 put outs without an error. In Notre Dame’s doubleheader sweep of Toledo, Laboe was 5-for-6 at the plate and recorded her second home run of the season. A team co-captain, this is Laboe’s second such award of her career having received player of the week honors last April.

Myers also went 8-for-19 (.421) at the plate in six games last week and received the BIG East Conference’s Rookie of the Week award for her efforts. The freshman third baseman, who leads the Irish in overall batting (.357), had three doubles in the six games and also tallied six RBI. In Notre Dame’s first ever win over Purdue last Tuesday, Myers was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI. On defense, she also did not commit an error in 14 attempts.

IRISH HOME RUN SAGA CONTINUES: In one of the unfolding stories of the 1999 softball season, the Irish added three more home runs last week to move the team’s total up to 12 – eight more than all of last season. Sophomore Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.) and senior Kris McCleary (Westerville, Calif.) both hit their third of the season against Purdue and Butler respectively, while Amy Laboe hit her second in Notre Dame’s 9-0 rout of Toledo.

The Irish record for home runs in a season is 17 in 1994, while includes 10 by Sara Hayes, who also holds the individual season record.

MCCLEARY COMES THROUGH: After missing all six games last week because of illness, senior catcher and team co-captain Kris McCleary came up big for the Irish in her first game back. Down 1-0 and with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, McCleary hit a two-run home run over the fence in left field to lift the Irish past Butler 2-1. Overall, she went 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored as the team’s designated player against Butler.

KLAYMAN DONS THE MASK: With starting catcher Kris McCleary out of the lineup, sophomore Dani Klayman (San Diego, Calif.) took over the catching duties against Purdue for the first time in her collegiate career. Klayman, who played in left field last year, started in center field every game this year up until the Purdue doubleheader. Freshman Jenny Kriech (Indianapolis, Ind.) took over for Klayman in center, while fellow freshmen Angie Grimmer (Crown Point, Ind.) and Holly Matsuda (Honolulu, Hawaii) played in right field for Kriech.

HOME SWEET HOME: After 24 straight games on the road to start the season, the Irish finally opened its home season with a doubleheader against Toledo last Saturday. With victories over Toledo, Bowling Green and Butler on Tuesday, the Irish are now 6-0 at Ivy Field.

I GOT ONE: The Irish are making their third appearance in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll this week, having received one vote. Last week, the Irish had the 32nd most votes in the poll with eight. The first time Notre Dame appeared in the NFCA poll (34th most votes) this season was March 8, following the team’s 7-2 start.

SCOUTING THE FLAMES: Illinois-Chicago has already got a leg up on the Irish, which can be good or bad depending on the way you look at it. With a overall record of 42-13, the 17th-ranked Flames have played 25 more games than Notre Dame this season. Notable victories have come against eighth-ranked Oklahoma (7-3), 18th-ranked Texas A&M (3-1), 15th-ranked Texas (1-0) and 10th-ranked South Carolina (5-2). They also have logged wins over Texas Tech (5-3) and Maryland (2-1), but lost two games to Arizona (0-5, 1-14). The Irish also lost to Texas Tech and Arizona, but beat Maryland 6-0 at the Choo Choo Classic.

The Flames are led offensively by Edel Leyden, who is hitting .427, and on the mound by 1998 third-team All-American Samantha Iuli, who is 24-6 with a 1.19 earned-run average. Under 10th-year head coach Mike McGovern, the Flames have a team batting average of .304 and a team ERA of 1.93.

All-time the Irish are 10-5 against the Flames and 3-3 on the road. The last time the two teams faced during the regular season was in 1996 – a 10-2 win for Notre Dame.

I THINK I’VE SEEN YOU BEFORE: When the Irish travel to play the Flames Thursday, Notre Dame sophomore Dani Klayman will see a familiar face across the diamond in former summer ball teammate Samantha Iuli. The two played summer ball together on the Lighting, which is based out of San Diego. Klayman actually did some work behind the plate, while Iuli was on the mound.

SCOUTING THE PANTHERS: This Saturday’s game will not only be the BIG EAST opener for both the Irish and the Pittsburgh Panthers, it will also be the first ever BIG EAST Conference game for Pitt. Pittsburgh is in its second-year of existence as a varsity sport and first as a member of the BIG EAST in softball. In 1998, the Panthers played an abbreviated schedule of 12 games and finished 0-12. This year, however, the team has already won nine of their first 13 games and have scored wins over Indiana (6-4), Evansville (2-1), Georgia Tech (6-4, 3-2) and Princeton (4-2, 5-1, 1-0).

Under second-year head coach Michelle Phalen, sophomore catcher Jacki Haar leads the team in batting with a .338 average and pitchers Laura LeViere and Gina Bessolo both have four wins this season.

SISTERLY CONNECTION: Notre Dame senior pitcher Angela Bessolo will see more than just an old high school or summer ball teammate in the Pittsburgh dugout this Saturday. Bessolo’s sister, Gina, is a freshman pitcher and outfielder for the Panthers and the two could pitch against each other for the first time in their careers. Both Bessolo’s starred at Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Calif.

UP NEXT WEEK: The Irish will take Easter off to prepare for four doubleheaders next week. The team travel to Eastern Michigan Monday, host head coach Liz Miller’s alma mater Western Michigan on Wednesday and then head to New Jersey and Pennsylvania for BIG EAST games Saturday and Sunday against Rutgers and Villanova.

HEAD COACH LIZ MILLER: In her seventh season as head coach of the Irish and 24th season overall as a head coach, Liz Miller has compiled an overall record of 794-268 and is 253-126 at Notre Dame. With two wins against UIC and two over Pittsburgh, Miller could reach the 800 career mark against Eastern Michigan next Wednesday. Her 700th career victory came on April 27, 1996, making her just the fifth coach in collegiate softball history to reach the 700-win plateau.

Tentative Defensive Starting Lineup
Pitcher – Jennifer Sharron/Angela Bessolo
Catcher – Kris McCleary
First Base – Amy Laboe
Second Base – Kathleen Hoag
Third Base – Jarrah Myers
Shortstop – Melanie Alkire
Left Field – Lizzy Lemire
Center Field – Danielle Klayman
Right Field – Jennifer Kriech/Holly Matsuda

USA Today/NFCA PollMarch 31, 1999No. School                  1999 Record1.  UCLA (25)               33-02.  Arizona                 30-43.  Fresno State            33-74.  Washington              24-65.  USL                     31-56.  Arizona State           30-87.  Michigan                25-5-18.  Oklahoma                28-99.  Stanford                26-710. South Carolina          31-811. Louisiana State         25-512. Oregon State            27-1013. Oregon                  27-1014. California              27-815. Texas                   24-1216. Illinois-Chicago        42-1317. Southern Mississippi    34-518. Texas A&M               31-819. South Florida           33-1320. Iowa                    22-9-121. New Mexico              29-822. Massachusetts           15-723. Minnesota               22-724. DePaul                  19-1025. Missouri                26-12
Others: Michigan State, Hawai'i, Central Michigan, Evansville, Maryland, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Florida State, Troy State, Hofstra, Southwest Missouri State, Baylor, Boston University, North Carolina, NOTRE DAME.
1999 BIG EAST Players of The WeekMarch 8 Megan O'Leary (Villanova)March 15Vickie Lamb (Seton Hall)March 22Mia Brickhouse (Villanova)March 29Amy Laboe (Notre Dame),Natalie Denning (Seton Hall)
1999 BIG EAST Pitchers of the WeekMarch 8 Kerri Stoller (Villanova)March 15Jenn Berghoff (Seton Hall)March 22Mary Dietz (Boston College),Carrie Walpole (Villanova)March 29Misty Beaver (Seton Hall) 1999 BIG EAST Rookie of the WeekMarch 8 Molly Hanneman (Villanova)March 15Heather Garboden (Villanova)March 22Rhianna Rogers (Pittsburgh)March 29Jarrah Myers (Notre Dame)
BIG EAST Statistics - All Games(As of March 30, 1999)Team Batting3. Notre Dame (.297)Team Pitching4. Notre Dame (2.25 ERA)Individual Batting10. Jarrah Myers, Notre Dame (.357)Individual Pitching5. Jennifer Sharron, ND (1.35 ERA)Hits4. Jarrah Myers (30)Home Runs5. Melanie Alkire, Jarrah Myers (3)Triples2. Danielle Klayman (2)Stolen Bases2. Rebecca Eimen, Jenny Kriech (4)Runs3. Danielle Klayman (17)4. Lizzy Lemire (15)7. Amy Laboe (14)Doubles3. Jarrah Myers (7)6. Lizzy Lemire (6)Runs Batted In2. Jarrah Myers (20)7. Amy Laboe (15)Team Fielding6. Notre Dame (.941)Wins3. Jennifer Sharron (6)7. Angela Bessolo (5)Strikeouts1. Jennifer Sharron (75)8. Angela Bessolo (41)Saves1. Melanie Alkire (2)3. Michelle Moschel (1)Innings Pitched1. Jennifer Sharron (78.0)4. Angela Bessolo (65.0)Shutouts1. Jennifer Sharron, Angela Bessolo (2)
UTAH BLUE POWER RANKINGS (3/31)1. UCLA2. Arizona3. Fresno State4. Michigan5. Arizona State6. South Carolina7. USL8. Washington9. Oregon State10. California11. Massachusetts12. LSU13. Oklahoma14. Texas15. New Mexico16. Stanford17. Southern Mississippi18. Hawai'i19. South Florida20. Oregon21. Mississippi State22. Long Beach State23. DePaul24. Central Michigan25. Cal State Northridge