April 27, 2002
The University of Notre Dame softball team hung on for a 4-3 victory in game one, then coasted to an 8-2 win in game two for a doubleheader sweep at Boston College (23-24, 9-7) on Saturday. The Irish are now 31-13 on the season and 13-1 in conference play heading into Sunday’s doubleheader at Providence.
Notre Dame earned the game one victory (4-3) with only four hits, hanging on after a furious Boston College rally in the bottom of the seventh. Andrea Loman provided the big hit in the contest, knocking in two runs with a bases loaded single to leftfield. The other two Irish runs were provided by Eagle starting pitcher Kim Ryan with a bases loaded walk and a hit-by-pitch.
Irish starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein left the first game after four innings of solid work and was relieved by Carrie Wisen. Wisen worked two good innings in the fifth and sixth, but had to survive a strong rally by Boston College in the seventh. Cara Blumfield, who homered off Stenglein in the fourth inning, led off the seventh with a single. Lisa Fischer then smoked a groundball to Loman at third base. The junior picked up the ball cleanly, but dropped it before she could make the throw (Loman is still playing with a broken finger on her throwing hand). By the time Loman actually got control of the ball, she missed getting Fischer by a step at first base for the error.
Catcher Lisa Field stepped in next and hit a ground ball to Andria Bledsoe at third. Bledsoe turned and made a solid throw to third to get the lead runner on the fielder’s choice. The strong defensive move was possibly the key play in the inning because, with runners on first and second, Elyse Meredith drilled a double into the gap to score both runners and cut the Irish lead to just one run.
Boston College brought in Jenny Calabrese to pinch hit, but Wisen buckled down and struck her out on a great changeup. With the top of the order due, Stenglein reentered to face Eagle leadoff hitter Erin Mackey. Mackey ended the inning and the game with a harmless pop up to Loman at third base.
The deft escape the Irish pulled at the end of game one gave the team a little more incentive to come out fired up in game two. After being out-hit 6-4 in game one, Notre Dame’s offense was determined to get on the board early in game two.
Jenny Kriech (the offensive star of game two for Notre Dame with a four for four effort) led off with a solid single through the right side. Megan Ciolli laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the throw to first was wide and put runners at second and third for Loman.
Loman worked the count to 3-2 and drew a walk, but the fourth ball of the at bat was mishandled behind the plate and Kriech scored on the wild pitch. Loman moved to second on a heads-up play, as the Eagle defense was slow to get the ball back to the infield.
Jarrah Myers provided the second run of the inning, lifting a deep sacrifice fly to centerfield to drive in Ciolli. Boston College starting pitcher Michelle Daly escaped the inning by sandwiching a Lisa Mattison hit by pitch with two ground ball outs.
Stenglein started game two and was equally effective in the circle for the Irish. She kept the Eagles off the scoreboard until the powerful Irish bats drove Daly out of the game in the third inning.
With one out, Myers hit her 10th home run of the season deep over the centerfield wall for the third Irish run of the game. After Bledsoe grounded out and Mattison was hit by a pitch again, Liz Hartmann hit a two-run home run through the uprights in leftfield (the Boston College football practice field is adjacent to the softball field and Hartmann’s home run split the field goal uprights). It is the third home run in the last four games for Hartmann.
Ryan made her first appearance of game two for the Eagles and stopped the bleeding by getting Wisen to ground out to second base.
Boston College would be able to touch Stenglein for two runs in the third. After fighting off 12 pitches, Leah Kamataris drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Jen Asbury then drilled a double over Kriech’s head in centerfield to drive in the two Eagle runs of the ball game.
The Irish insurance runs in game two were provided by a Myers RBI single, a Bledsoe RBI single and a Kriech solo home run to lead off the sixth inning.
Notre Dame will return to BIG EAST action tomorrow (Sunday) at Providence. Game time is set for 11 a.m. with a little help from Mother Nature. Rain has been forecasted for the Providence area all day tomorrow.
NOTES: Three more home runs for the Irish team today gives them 36 total, tying the school record for most home runs in a season … it was a peculiar day at the plate for 1B Lisa Mattison, who struck out in the same inning in game one (after the Irish batted around) and was hit by a pitch twice in game two … Irish relief pitcher Jessica Sharron pitched the seventh inning of game two and posted the most impressive outing of the season, striking out all three batters she faced … Stenglein is now 19-8 on the season.