April 1, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind.- A pair of strong pitching performances and the thundering bats of the Irish offense, led Notre Dame’s softball team (19-12, 8-0 BIG EAST) to a sweep of Syracuse (10-24, 3-5 BIG EAST) on Sunday, April 1 at Ivy Field. The two wins by the scores of 7-0 and 10-2 also increased Notre Dame’s winning streak to a season-high 10 games.
The two Irish starting pitchers, sophomore Brittney Bargar (Corona, Calif./Corona) and senior Kenya Fuemmeler (Salisbury, Mo./Salisbury) combined to throw 11 inning and only surrendered two runs on a total of five hits. Bargar pitched the first game and went the first six innings, only allowing one hit with six strikeouts. Sophomore Christine Farrell (La Habra, Calif./Sonora) pitched the last inning in relief of Bargar and had a scoreless frame with a strikeout. Fuemmeler took the ball in the second game went five inning in the run-shortened game with two runs allowed and a strikeout. The Irish pitchers in the 10 home games this season have only allowed six runs in 65 innings from the circle.
Senior Stephanie Brown (Chandler, Ariz./Corona del Sol) was on fire in the doubleheader with seven hits in her eight at-bats (.875) with three runs scored, two runs driven in, a double and a triple. The only time Brown was retired in the two games was a line shot directly at the centerfield to start the second game. Freshman Christine Lux (Glendale Heights, Ill./Glenbard West) was outstanding with four hits and five RBI. Among Lux’s four hits were a double and her first career home run. Junior Katie Laing (Chandler, Ariz./Corona del Sol) also had four hits and a double. Freshman Heather Johnson (Los Alamitos, Calif./Mater Dei) had a pair of hits and runs scored to go along with a walk and four RBI. Senior Gessica Hufnagle (Middlebury, Ind./Northridge) had two hits, two RBI and two walks. Sophomore Beth Northway (Kentwood, Mich./East Kentwood) had three runs driven in. Fellow sophomores Stephanie Mola (Naples, Fla./St. John Neumann) and Erin Glasco (Johnson City, Ill./Johnson City) also had a three-hit afternoons. Over the two games, 11 different Irish players recorded hits and seven players had at least an RBI.
Game One Recap
Brown got the offense going early in the first inning of the first game with a single to left field. A Hufnagle sacrifice bunt moved her to second. Laing then pushed an infield single to the Orange shortstop, Nicole Miller, to put two on base. After strikeout, Northway got the party started with double down the right-center field to drive in both Brown and Laing. Northway would score herself on a Lux single up the middle.
Mola started the scoring in the second inning for Notre Dame with a one-out single up the middle. Brown then hit an infield single to the shortstop to move Mola to second. A Hufnagle single to center field would drive in Mola for the third run of the game.
The Irish offense kept coming with two more runs in the third inning. Lux reached first on a single. Junior Sarah Smith (Oklahoma City, Okla./Heritage Hall) pinch ran for Lux and moved to second on Glasco’s single up the middle. Bargar then hit for Mola in a switch of the flex and the Irish starting pitcher and promptly hit a single off the Orange pitcher, Chanel Roehner, to load the bases. Brown followed with a double down the right field line to plate both Smith and Glasco.
After a pair of scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth innings, the Notre Dame offense would add an insurance run in the sixth inning. Brown once again jumped started the offense with a leadoff triple. After a foul out, Laing would score Brown with a double down the right field line for the seventh and final run of the first game for the Irish offense.
After a pitching change to start the seventh, the Orange offense would threaten. Roehner reached on an error and moved to second on a pass ball. A walk to Erin Gray put two runners on base, but a foul out and pop out ended the game for Syracuse.
Game Two Recap
The first two innings were scoreless until the Irish offense broke through for six runs in the third inning. Mola hammered a one-out single to left field. Brown then pushed a bunt single to third base moving Mola up a base. Hufnagle drew a bases on ball to load the bases. After a pop out, Johnson delivered a bases clearing double to score Mola, Brown and Hufnagle for the first three runs of the game. Northway then reached first on the fielding error from the Orange shortstop, Miller, that scored Johnson from second base. Lux would get into the act and deposit her first career home run over the right field wall to plate Northway and give Notre Dame a commanding six-run advantage.
A three-spot from the Notre Dame offense would follow in the fourth inning. Brown punished a Gardner offering into center field for a leadoff single. Hufnagle drew her second walk of the game to move Brown to second. Laing hit a single, in which Brown took third and then was thrown out at the plate attempting to score. The throw home allowed Hufnagle and Laing to move to third and second base, respectively. Johnson hit a fielder’s choice groundout to the shortstop to score Hufnagle from third, as the freshman also reached base. After a ground out, Lux would drill a double to right field to score Laing and Johnson.
The Orange offense got on the board for the first time in the top of the fifth inning to starve off the run-rule temporarily. Gray hit a single up the middle. Jorden Rosen then hit a pinch-hit double to center field to move Gray to third base. A pinch-hit single from Keri Casas scored Gray from third. Rosen would score the second run for Syracuse on Miller’s ground-out to the Irish second baseman.
The Irish offense would finish off the game with a run in the bottom of the frame. Mola picked up her second single of the game to start the inning. She moved to second on Brown’s third hit of the game and seventh hit of the afternoon. Hufnagle ended the game with a single up the middle driving in Mola for the 10th and final run of the afternoon.
Next, Notre Dame will continue the homestand with a non-conference match up against Valparaiso (April 4) at 5 p.m.
Irish Notes: Notre Dame is now 14-2 all-time against Syracuse … the four hits by Brown, in the first game, was her first four-hit performance of the season … Brown for the week was 13-for-18 (.722) with five runs scored and four RBI … Notre Dame is now 10-0 at home this year … the Irish are 6-4 overall in blue uniforms … Johnson’s four RBI in the second game tied her career-high … the four RBI by Lux in the second game were a new career-best for her … the 16 hits by Notre Dame in the first game was a season-high