March 14, 2002
The University of Notre Dame softball team (7-10) struggled through the first day of competition at the 2002 Kia Klassic in Fullerton, Calif., on Friday, March 15. The Irish fell 7-0 to #2 Arizona, as Wildcat All-American Jenny Finch pitched a no-hitter. Later in the day, Notre Dame fell to Cal State Northridge 3-0 with all three Matador runs coming on two home runs.
Carrie Wisen started the Arizona game for the Irish, but lasted just 2/3 of an inning against the potent Wildcat offense. Three walks in the inning spelled doom for Wisen, as she loaded the bases for Jackie Coburn. Coburn hit a double to the fence in right centerfield to clear the bases after Wisen had walked in a run and the Irish faced a 4-0 deficit after the first inning.
Steffany Stenglein took over the pitching duties for Notre Dame in the first inning and pitched relatively well until the fifth inning, when she gave up a two-run homer to Mackenzie Vandergeest.
Arizona’s Jennie Finch was in complete control of the game throughout the afternoon. Winning her 55th consecutive decision, Finch did not surrender a hit to any Irish hitter and was kept from a perfect game by five walks. In fact, Notre Dame was able to load the bases on three walks in the bottom of the seventh, but Finch struck out Liz Hartmann and Stenglein to end the threat.
Stenglein got the call for Notre Dame in the second game of the day against Cal State Northridge and looked to be in fine form early in the contest. Stenglein retired the first nine batters she faced, including striking out six straight. The freshman righthander would end up with a career-best 10 strikeouts in the game. But as effective as Stenglein was, CSUN’s rookie hurler Jenny Wheeler matched her effort pitch-for-pitch. By the end of the game, Wheeler would yield just three hits (an Andrea Loman double in the first, a Mattison single in the third and a Kas Hoag single in the fifth) and post her fifth victory of the season.
Stenglein made just two mistakes in the game, but both of those mistake pitches ended up over the outfield fence. After Mattison just missed making a foul-out catch at the fence down the first base line, CSUN’s Sondra Milchiker drilled the next pitch over the wall in leftfield to lead off the fourth inning.
The Matador’s other run came off a two-run home run by Summer Richardson to centerfield with two outs in the sixth inning to put the game away. Stenglein would end up taking the tough loss, giving up just three hits over the course of the game.
Notre Dame will return to action tomorrow in the Kia Klassic at 11 a.m local time (2 p.m. EST) against Texas Tech.