April 30, 2002
There was reason to be a bit apprehensive entering the University of Notre Dame softball team’s Tuesday afternoon matchup with Oakland University. The Irish were coming off a long weekend of travel, returning to campus just a few hours before the 3 p.m. game against the Golden Grizzlies. Oakland is in its third year of softball, but has posted some impressive wins this season (vs. Alabama) and played Notre Dame’s Thursday opponent, #18 DePaul, tough over the weekend.
The apprehensive feeling, however, lasted just one inning.
Notre Dame posted 10 runs in the bottom of the first to put the game out of reach quickly and improve their record to 34-13 this season. Oakland drops to 21-34-1. The 16 runs marks the most the team has scored since a 16-0 win over Providence on April 2, 2000 (it also ties the second-most runs the Irish have ever scored in a single game).
Liz Hartmann continued her home run hitting surge against the Grizzlies, leading the way for the Irish with a three for four performance, two home runs (tying the school record for homers in a game held by seven other players) and six RBI (which also ties the school record, held by teammate Jarrah Myers and 2001 graduate Melanie Alkire). Hartmann entered the game at Nebraska last week Tuesday (April 23) with zero home runs this season. After hitting the game-winner against the Cornhuskers, Hartmann has hit six in seven days (seven games).
The play-by-play print out of the bottom of the first inning ended up over 1/2 a page and when the dust settled, Notre Dame had scored 10 runs off seven hits and one Oakland error.
With one out, Megan Ciolli was hit by the first pitch offered from Oakland starter Jaymie Voss. Andrea Loman followed with an infield single to put runners at first and second for Myers, who bounced a fielder’s choice to short stop. Ciolli hustled on the play, beating the throw at third to load the bases for Andria Bledsoe.
Bledsoe fought off an inside pitch and lifted a single into centerfield to score the first two runs of the inning. Lisa Mattison then drilled a single through the right side, scoring Myers and moving Bledsoe to third base.
Kas Hoag came in to pinch run for Mattison and performed a delayed steal to get in scoring position for Hartmann. Hartmann’s first RBI of the game followed with an infield single to second base, driving in Bledsoe.
After Nicole deFau drew a walk, Alexis Madrid bounced another infield single, this time at the shortstop to score Hoag.
Hartmann eventually scored on a throwing error, while Andrea Loman hit a two-run single to put runs seven and eight on the scoreboard. Myers ended the inning with a two-RBI single to leftfield, but the Irish catcher was caught attempting to advance to second base.
Notre Dame starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein worked a one-two-three inning in the second to put the Irish offense right back in the box.
Bledsoe and Mattison both reached base to begin the second inning and Hartmann drove them in with her first home run of the game to left-centerfield. A Myers bases-loaded walk forced in Notre Dame’s fourth run of the second inning.
The other two Irish runs came courtesy of Hartmann’s two-run homer in the third inning, which cleared the fence in just about the same spot as her first round tripper.
Carrie Wisen pitched the third inning to pick up the victory, while Jessica Sharron posted two solid innings of relief in the fourth and fifth.
NOTES: Schedule changes once again – please note that a number of start times have changed for the remaining Irish regular season games … the DePaul doubleheader has been switched to one game at 3 p.m. … the Rutgers doubleheader (Friday) will start at 12 noon, not 1 p.m. as originally released … the Villanova doubleheader (Sunday) will begin at 11 a.m., not 12 noon … the team home run record in a season, which the Irish surpassed against Providence on Monday, continues to grow as Notre Dame now has 45 as a team … the Irish are now hitting over .300 as a team (.302), with Jarrah Myers leading the way (.392).