March 16, 2006
The University of Notre Dame softball team posted a dramatic rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat #10 Arizona State 3-2 on a walk-off two-run home run by junior Stephanie Brown Thursday evening. The come-from-behind victory gave the Irish their first win in the Judi Garman Classic at CS Fullerton and pushed the team’s record to 1-1 in the four-day tournament. The Irish improve to 10-8 on the season with the victory, while ASU falls to 28-2.
The Irish victory breaks ASU’s 10-game win streak and gives Notre Dame head coach her fourth win over a top-10 nationally ranked team since 2002.
Notre Dame took a quick 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Meagan Ruthrauff in the bottom of the second inning, the senior first base’s third of the season. The lead held just one inning, however, as ASU’s Mindy Cowles drilled a two-run home run in the top of the third inning.
ASU maintained the one-run lead into the seventh inning as both starting pitchers battled back and forth. Notre Dame freshman Brittney Bargar pitched the best game of her young career, scattering seven hits in a complete-game performance and striking out seven. Desiree Serrano struck out 10 and allowed seven hits in 6 1/3 innings pitched.
The Irish entered the bottom of the seventh trailing 2-1. Freshman Stephanie Mola came off the bench to pinch hit and reached on a fielding error. She was immediately sacrificed to second base by junior Gessica Hufnagle to set the stage for Brown’s big hit. After taking one pitch for a ball, the left-handed hitting Chandler, Ariz., native crushed a pitch deep to the opposite field for her first career walk-off home run.