April 6, 2004
The University of Notre Dame softball team (29-11) fell short in its bid for a 30th win this season and a perfect run at Ivy Field for 2004, splitting with Purdue (23-13) on Tuesday evening. The Irish rallied twice to win game one 4-2, but dropped the second game 4-3 in eight innings – as a desperate two-out rally in the bottom of the eighth fell just short.
Notre Dame is now 7-1 at Ivy Field in 2004 and will return to BIG EAST Conference action against Syracuse at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 10.
The Irish took advantage of three Purdue miscues in the first contest to rally back from two different one-run deficits. Junior Nicole Wicks provided the game-winning RBI with a triple in the fourth inning, scoring sophomore Sara Schoonaert. Wicks finished the first game two for three with an RBI. Sophomore Heather Booth earned her 15th victory in the first game, scattering seven hits and striking out seven.
The game two highlight was provided by Purdue starting pitcher Diana LaRiva. Working very deliberately to keep the Irish bats off balance, her plan worked to perfection as she baffled Notre Dame’s hitters for most of eight innings. Her final stat line came up at 7.2 innings, five hits, three runs (two earned), eight walks and 11 strikeouts. Obviously, the Irish left a lot of base runners on against LaRiva (with eight base on balls) – with the final number coming in at nine runners stranded for ND.
Purdue won game two in the top of the eighth inning, putting three runs on the board with two big homers from Erika Peterson and DeQueta Johnson, respectively. Irish starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein was possibly tired at the end of the contest, having tossed over 170 pitches in the marathon affair (the eight-inning game clocked in at just over three hours).
A two-out rally by Notre Dame in the bottom of the eighth fell just short when Wicks lifted a routine fly ball to rightfield with the tying run at third base.
GAME ONE RECAP:
Purdue jumped out to an early lead when designated player DaQueta Johnson, just two games back after missing 15 contests with a knee injury, sent a towering fly ball to right-centerfield. Luckily for the Irish, the ball hit the top of the wall and returned to the playing field. Tricia Lilley, who singled to lead off the game, scored on the play and the Boilermakers headed into the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead.
Notre Dame quickly came back to get an equalizer in the bottom of the first on a defensive miscue by the Boilers. Nicole deFau drew a walk, followed by Megan Ciolli popping up for the second out of the inning. Irish clean up hitter Meagan Ruthrauff then drilled a single up the middle. deFau ran hard around second base, drawing the attention of Purdue centerfielder Katie Absher. Absher came up throwing to third, but she did not have the ball in her glove. deFau easily scored on the error and the Irish had the game tied at 1-1.
After a scoreless inning in the second, Purdue took the lead back on a solo home run by Lilley, her second hit in as many at bats, off the foul pole down the leftfield line.
Just like the first inning, Notre Dame came back to get a run on a Purdue error in the bottom of the frame. Nicole deFau reached on a muffed throw by Purdue first basemen Katie Fortune. She stole second (her sixth theft of the season) and scored on an RBI single from Ruthrauff.
The Irish edged out in front 3-2 in the fourth inning on Nicole Wicks’ second hit of the game. Sara Schoonaert posted a one-out hit and was moved into scoring position by a perfect sacrifice bunt from Carissa Jaquish. Wicks then lined a triple into right-centerfield (her first three-bagger of the year) to drive in the go-ahead run.
The Irish escaped a possible extra base hit from Lilley in the fifth inning when Megan Ciolli ran down a ball destined for the gap. After a running catch, Ciolli threw a strike to Ruthrauff at first base for a double play to end the inning.
The third error of the game for Purdue turned into yet another run for Notre Dame in the bottom of the sixth. With one out and runners on first and second for the Irish, Jaquish dribbled a ground ball to shortstop. PU’s Lilley fielded it cleanly and got the force at second, but Lauren Devich threw the ball wide of first attempting to turn the double play. Pinch runner Kenya Fuemmeler (running for Liz Hartmann who singled) scored from second on the play to put the Irish up 4-2.
Booth closed out a quiet final inning to grab her 15th win of the season in 20 starts.
GAME TWO RECAP:
The Irish got off on a positive start in game two by manufacturing one run in the bottom of the first inning. Stephanie Brown led off with a single and Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf called for a sacrifice bunt from Nicole deFau, but Purdue threw the ball wide of first base – allowing deFau to reach first and Brown to sprint around to third base. Gumpf then made the double steal call, with deFau getting thrown out at second and Brown stealing home on the play. The score remained unchanged until the fourth inning, when Staci Falzon crushed a two-out home run to straight-away centerfield.
Stenglein and LaRiva continued to duel each other into the late innings of the contest, but the Irish had their chances to take the lead. Junior Megan Ciolli had one of her most frustrating days at the plate in an Irish uniform, going hitless in seven at bats and stranding five runners in the second game. She grounded out to second base with a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh and struck out with runners at the corners in the fifth inning.
In the top of the eighth, Purdue’s Lauren Devich earned the dreaded lead off walk and was sacrificed to second base. Stenglein came back to strike out Angela Knight, but Peterson followed with a towering home run to rightfield to put the Boilermakers ahead. Johnson soon followed with a solo home run to put the Irish down three runs heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Meagan Ruthrauff drew a lead off walk of her own to lead off for Notre Dame, but designated player Carrie Wisen struck out and Liz Hartmann popped up to second base to put the Irish down to their last out. Sara Schoonaert came through, however, with a laser beam double to centerfield just over Katie Absher’s glove to drive in Ruthrauff and put herself in scoring position.
Freshman Carissa Jaquish then stepped up to the challenge, drilling her first career triple deep into the gap in right-centerfield.
With the tying run 60 feet away, Purdue brought in the game-one starter, Brooke Baker, to nail down the win. Wicks was two for three against Baker in the first game, but she popped up a 2-1 pitch to rightfield to end the game. Baker picked up her first save of the season by getting the final out, while LaRiva improves to 10-9.