March 12, 2001
The 14th-ranked University of Notre Dame softball team (13-1) swept a doubleheader at #24 Cal State Northridge (12-7) on Sunday, March 11. It was the first action for Notre Dame on its trip to California for Spring Break, as the Irish will face Long Beach State on Tuesday, March 13 (5 p.m.) and also compete in the Kia Klassic, which begins March 15, in Fullerton, Calif..
The Irish utilized the powerful bats and strong arms on their roster to claim the two victories over Northridge, taking the first game 5-1 and cruising to victory in the second game 7-3.
The Matadors jumped on the scoreboard first in the initial game of the doubleheader when Veronica Lopez drove a 2-2 pitch deep down the rightfield line for her second home run of the season to begin the second inning. The flash of power by Northridge was not a sign of things to come, however. Notre Dame starting pitcher Jen Sharron (Agoura Hills, Calif.) would only surrender three more hits in the game while not allowing another Matador runner to cross home plate after Lopez.
The Northridge one-run advantage did not last long, either. Danielle Klayman (San Diego, Calif.) led off the third inning with a single up the middle. Andria Bledsoe (Higley, Ariz.) moved Klayman to second with a sacrifice bunt and Alexis Madrid (Temecula, Calif.) smacked a groundball to the pitcher, moving Klayman to third where she would eventually score on a passed ball.
Notre Dame would take advantage of two Northridge errors to score another run in the fourth inning when Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Calif.) reached on a fielders choice, stole second and came home when Lizzy Lemire’s (Irvine, Calif.) sharp grounder to third passed through the legs of Northridge third basemen Lopez.
Jenny Kriech (Indianapolis, Ind.) slapped a single to centerfield to begin the Irish half of the fourth inning. Kas Hoag (Wallingford, Conn.) and Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.) followed with infield hits to load the bases. Myers stepped to the plate and was hit by a pitch, forcing in Kriech for Notre Dame’s third run of the game. Consecutive groundouts by Lemire and Andrea Loman (Riverside, Calif.) drove in the fourth and fifth runs of the game for the Irish.
Sharron would make it look easy after the second inning, working one-two-three innings in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Northridge would eventually scratch out two hits in the bottom of the seventh, but Sharron recovered by striking out Summer Richardson (after being down 3-0 in the count) and inducing a pop up to end the game.
Notre Dame wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in game two. Kriech led off the game with a single down the leftfield line and moved to second on a Klayman single. Alkire then bounced into a double play, but Kriech advanced to third and eventually scored on Myer’s RBI single.
Kristin Schmidt (Houston, Texas) strode to the mound in the bottom of the first with a one-run lead, a lead that would turn out to be all the Irish rookie righthander needed. She scattered five hits over 6 1/3 innings of work without giving up a run to earn her sixth victory of the season (Northridge scored all three of its runs off of Irish relief pitcher Jessica Sharron in the seventh inning).
The big story for Notre Dame in the second game was the powerful bat of junior catcher Myers. She tied the school record for home runs in a game for the second time in her career in the second half of the twin bill, blasting a three-run shot down the leftfield line in the fifth inning and muscling a two-run drive over the right-centerfield fence in the seventh inning. Her six RBI in the game also tied a school record, held by teammate Alkire.
Next up for the Irish will be one game against Long Beach State on Tuesday, March 13 at 5 p.m. (Pacific time). Notre Dame begins competition in the Kia Klassic on Thursday, March 15, vs. Utah State at 9 a.m.
Jarrah Myers’ two home runs in the second marks the second time the Irish junior has launched two round-trippers in a game, as she accomplished that feat on April 30, 2000, against Seton Hall … Myers finished the doubleheader three-for-six with three runs scored and seven RBI … Danielle Klayman improved her season batting average to .410 with three hits in the doubleheader … Jen Sharron and Kristin Schmidt are both putting up impressive numbers from the Irish pitching circle … Sharron is 7-0 this season with a 1.15 ERA and 52 strikeouts … Schmidt is now 6-1 with a 1.25 ERA and also has 52 strikeouts … Notre Dame’s team ERA currently stands at 1.55.