April 22, 2004
CHICAGO – The University of Notre Dame softball team (35-13) earned a measure of revenge on UIC (24-20) Thursday evening, defeating the Flames 8-0 on a cold and windy night in Chicago. The Irish victory puts aside the bad taste of a loss to UIC last week at Ivy Field in 10 innings.
Notre Dame’s offense came through with seven hits in the contest, but took advantage of four UIC errors to score four unearned runs. The big hit was delivered in the top of the seventh, when freshman Carissa Jaquish hit her first career home run – a grand slam – to represent the final four runs for Notre Dame. Jaquish had three hits in the contest, logging her second three-hit outing of the season.
Junior Steffany Stenglein picked up her 15th victory of the year in the game, working six shutout innings, striking out eight and allowing just three hits.
Notre Dame hits the road this weekend for BIG EAST action, heading to Villanova on Saturday and Rutgers on Sunday.
Both teams would battle the elements through out the contest, as the Windy City was proving to be an apt name for Chicago, Ill., on Thursday evening. A howling wind out of the north made a 50 degree day feel much more like a 30 degrees.
The Irish did shake off the cold weather to put together a scoring opportunity in the top of the first. Stephanie Brown led off with an infield hit, followed by a walk issued to Nicole deFau. Megan Ciolli moved both runners into scoring position with a ground ball to second base.
Meagan Ruthrauff popped up the first pitch she was offered into foul territory for the second out of the inning. The hot-hitting Mallorie Lenn stepped in and drilled the first pitch she was offered, but it fell just foul down the leftfield line. Lenn would eventually ground out to second base to end the Irish scoring threat.
Heather Booth was called to start the first game against the two teams a week ago, so Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf decided to go with junior Steffany Stenglein against the Flames on Thursday night.
UIC put the lead off hitter on when Nicole Shepard drilled a change up into rightfield for the first Flame hit of the game off Stenglein. Michelle Miller attempted to move Shepard to second with a bunt, but popped it up to Liz Hartmann in foul territory for the first out of the inning. Sara Hernandez delivered the second out with a routine fly ball to rightfield and Stenglein struck out Amanda Rivera to snuff out the Flames in the first.
The Irish missed out on another scoring chance in the top of the second. Freshman Carissa Jaquish logged just her second double of the season, a laser beam shot to left-centerfield, to get in scoring position. Sara Schoonaert put two runners on with two outs by drawing a walk (the second issued by UIC staring pitcher Chelsey Barclay, but Brown struck out swinging to end the inning.
Barclay did work herself into a bit of trouble in the third inning. DeFau drew her second walk of the game (and 15th of the season) and stole second base to get in scoring position for Ciolli. Ciolli drew a five-pitch walk, however, to put two runners on with no outs and Ruthrauff stepping in looking to break out of a mini slump. Ruthrauff was two for her last 17 at bats heading into her second look at Barclay and dribbled into a fielder’s choice, with Ciolli out at second and deFau moving to third.
Lenn, who ended up with three non-existent RBI in the cancelled game at Northwestern, received another chance at two RBI when a wild pitch moved Ruthrauff into scoring position. Lenn hit a ground ball to first base which UIC’s Alycia Creese picked up cleanly, but threw wide at home plate in an attempt to cut down deFau trying to score. Ruthrauff never stopped running and scored on the error as well to put the Irish up 2-0.
Lenn moved to second on the two-base error, then to third when Hartmann grounded out to second base. Nicole Wicks then came through with an RBI single up the middle for Notre Dame’s first RBI of the day and her 14th of the season.
Jaquish stepped in for Notre Dame next and got an infield hit, dribbling a ground ball just out of the reach of the UIC third basemen. Wicks hustled around second on the play and reached third on a close play. Jaquish must have been inspired by her teammate, and attempted to move to third but UIC easily cut her down on the play to end the inning.
UIC put two runners on with one out in the bottom of the sixth, but Lenn picked off the runner at first on a great throw. Brown covered the bag for the Irish and got her foot between the runner’s hand and the bag, then applied the tag. The runner was initially called safe, but Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf appealed to the home plate umpire, who had a better angle and called the runner out. Stenglein then struck out Jessica Ruesnow to end the inning.
Notre Dame received a chance to tack on five additional insurance runs in the top of the seventh and took full advantage. Ruthrauff drew a walk and advanced to second when Lenn’s high fly ball to rightfield was misplayed by UIC’s Nicole Shepard. Shepard then threw wide to second base, allowing Ruthrauff to reach third and Lenn to end up at second. Hartmann followed up by drilling a double into the gap in right-centerfield, driving in Ruthrauff (Lenn was forced to hold at second to see if the ball would be caught).
Wicks then drew a walk to force Barclay out of the game (Creese entered in relieft) and load the bases for Jaquish. Jaquish came through by drilling her first career home run – a grand slam – and delivering her second three hit game of the year. She crushed Creese’s offering into the jet stream, utilizing the wind to just sneak over the wall in rightfield.
GAME NOTES: Freshman Gessica Hufnagle posted her first career stolen base in the fifth inning when she pinch ran for Mallorie Lenn … Carisa Jaquish’s two hits in the contest mark her first multiple hit game since game two vs. Boston College (April 4) … Mallorie Lenn’s key pick off throw in the sixth inning was her third of the season … Jaquish’s grand slam in the seventh inning was the second of the year for the Irish and second by a first year player (Stephanie Brown) … Carrie Wisen finished off the game by pitching the bottom of the seventh for Notre Dame.
— ND —