Feb. 22, 2003
The University of Notre Dame softball team (2-3) has been trying to get some games under their belts, but the weather just will not cooperate. The Irish lost the first game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic to #4 California 6-0, then saw their contest with Illinois State delayed until Sunday due to more rain. When the game was suspended, the score was tied at 0-0 with one out in the bottom of the second.
Notre Dame will continue its game against Illinois State at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning. They will then face #17 Alabama before heading back to South Bend.
In the first game of the day, Notre Dame made two crucial errors that allowed four California runs to score while the offense was unable to get anything going. The Irish drop to 2-3 on the season, while the Bears improve to 11-3. Notre Dame, which was scheduled to play on Friday, saw its games pushed to Saturday due to inclement weather in the Columbus, Ga., area.
Notre Dame finally took the field at South Commons Stadium at 5 p.m.
California was warmed up and ready to go in the bottom of the second inning. Notre Dame pitched around Cal 1B Veronica Nelson, who hit a titanic home run in the Bears first game of the day against Alabama. Nelson drew a five-pitch walk and Irish starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein got a pop up to get the second out of the inning. Courtney Scott stepped in for Cal and promptly drilled a two-run home run deep over the left field fence to put Notre Dame down two runs.
The Bears continued to pour it on in the second inning, helped by two fielding errors from the Irish. Angela Morley led off with a single and moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt. Mallorie James followed off with a single to put runners on first and second and, after James stole second base, Notre Dame walked Nelson to load the bases. Eldredge drove a ball deep into right-centerfield that Ciolli ran down, but dropped for an error. Two runs scored on that play and after a sacrifice fly scored another runner, Lisa Mattison committed a fielding error at first base to allow another Bear run across the plate. When all was said and done, California had scored four runs off two hits and two Notre Dame errors.
California tried to let Notre Dame back in the game in the top of the third. Mallorie Lenn drew a lead off walk and Nicole deFau struck out. Kellie Middleton then fought back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk and pinch-hitter Liz Hartmann walked on five pitches to load the bases with one out. Carrie Wisen stepped in to pinch hit for Alexis Madrid and struck out, followed by an Andria Bledsoe pop up to end the inning without the Irish getting on the scoreboard.
The rest of the contest proved quietly offensively for both teams. California and Notre Dame went in order for most of the game, except for a solid single by ND’s Lenn in the top of the fifth to break up the no-hitter.
Notre Dame would get two singles by Loman and Ruthrauff to make things interesting in the top of the seventh, but Lenn bounced into a 5-3 double play (Loman was tagged out on the play) to end the game.
Game two for the Irish, against Illinois State, turned into a pitchers duel. ISU’s Corey Harris and Notre Dame’s Heather Booth allowed just one hit a piece over the first three innings. Game two also featured a 25-minute rain delay in the bottom of the third inning.
The Irish finally rallied for a scoring chance in the bottom of the fourth.
After Andrea Loman ground out to third base, Ruthrauff drilled a double to the wall in centerfield to get in scoring position. Sara Schoonaert came in to pinch run and Mattison stepped in to reach on a throwing error by the Redbird third basemen. Notre Dame was unable to come through on the scoring chance, however, as Lenn and Hartmann both popped up to second base to end the inning.
Illinois State would get their second hit of the game in the top of the fifth inning, but Booth came back to strike out the next two batter to get out of the inning unscathed.
Going into the bottom of the sixth inning, Bledsoe grounded out to bring up Loman. Another rain storm moved in and put the game in another rain delay – this time for the night. The Notre Dame Illinois State game will continue at 10 a.m. on Sunday.