April 13, 2003
The University of Notre Dame softball team (20-11, 6-0) enjoyed a great day at Ivy Field on Sunday, dominating a doubleheader 5-0 and 10-1 (five innings) over Seton Hall (21-9, 7-4). It caps a huge weekend for the Irish, who find themselves vaulting from ninth place in the conference standings just a week ago (because of a lack of games played) to the top five in the conference. Notre Dame swept second-place St. John’s on Friday and walk away with two convincing victories over first-place Seton Hall on Sunday.
The superlatives for Notre Dame on Sunday are almost too numerous to list. The Irish offense exploded for 20 hits in the two games and hit four home runs, including two from senior third base Andrea Loman. The pitching was spectacular as well, with Heather Booth coming one out away from a no-hitter in game one and Steffany Stenglein and Carrie Wisen combining for a one-hitter in game two. All told, the Seton Hall offense could manage just two hits in 12 innings.
The Irish got on the board in game one with a big hit from Loman. Seton Hall’s Christina Shanko seemed to be in control, but Loman led off the bottom of the third with a towering home run deep over the leftfield fence to get the Notre Dame offense rolling. Meagan Ruthrauff followed with a single and pinch-runner Kellie Middleton stole second base. Andria Bledsoe then singled to centerfield, moving Middleton to third where she eventually scored on an RBI ground out by Liz Hartmann. Lisa Mattison drove in the third run of the inning with a laser beam single.
Seton Hall would manage a scoring chance in the top of the third inning when Akoua Lonergan walked and D’arcy Djakalovic reached on an error. With runners at first and second, Booth buckled down and struck out the next two Pirate batters to end the inning.
Those two strikeouts sparked a dominating stretch for the rookie righthander, as she would set down the next 13 SHU batters after the fielding error. Lindsay Trottier broke up the no-hitter in the seventh with a solid double into the right-centerfield gap. Booth did pick up her fourth shut out of the season (second solo) and lowered her ERA to 1.82.
The 767 fans at Ivy Field were treated to a fireworks show in game two – courtesy of the Irish offense. Steffany Stenglein started the game and gave up a run in the first inning after a lead off walk was sacrificed to second base and Laura Taylor drove her in with a single to centerfield.
The lead did not last long, however. Alexis Madrid drew a one-out walk and, after Loman fouled out, Meagan Ruthrauff drilled her third home run of the season to put Notre Dame ahead to stay 2-1.
The bottom of the second saw Loman post a two-RBI single with the bases loaded to put Notre Dame up 4-1. Megan Ciolli hit her first home run of the season in the third inning and the lead ballooned to 7-1.
Going into the bottom of the fifth, Notre Dame needed two runs to end the game on collegiate softball’s eight-run rule. Middleton reached base on a fielding error by Seton Hall and Ciolli was hit by a pitch to get two runners on. Madrid popped up to get to two outs, but Loman was the next batter.
The Irish senior third base looked at the first pitch, then drove the next offering deep down the leftfield line….. but foul. Seton Hall coach Ray Vander May headed out to the mound for a conference, hoping to settle his pitcher (Megan Meyer) down. Meyer came back and threw a pitch out of the zone, but her next offering was right down the middle and Loman sent it far out of the park to end the game. Loman now leads the team with six home runs and 26 RBI.
Notre Dame continued its stretch of BIG EAST contests on Tuesday, with a make up doubleheader at Providence (previously postponed on April 5). The Irish were forced to cancel their trip to Nebraska on Tuesday to make up the conference games. The team will be back home on Thursday, April 17, against IPFW (4 p.m., doubleheader).
DOUBLEHEADER NOTES: Notre Dame ended the day with four home runs and 15 RBI … Megan Ruthrauff was three for six with two RBI and two runs … Lisa Mattison broke out of her recent slump with three hits and an RBI … Mallorie Lenn was three for five with a run scored … Megan Ciolli drove in three runs and scored three runs in game two … Andrea Loman ended up two for three with five RBI in game two alone … Notre Dame’s pitchers combined for 12.0 IP, two hits, one run (unearned), five walks and 11 strikeouts.