May 2, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame softball team (38-18) claimed the BIG EAST regular season title Sunday by defeating second place Seton Hall 1-0 in the first game and 8-0 in the second game . The Irish, who finished a perfect 16-0 in conference play, also wrapped up the top seed in next weekend’s BIG EAST Tournament in Storrs, Conn. The Pirates dropped to 37-6 overall and 12-4 in the BIG EAST with the two losses.
In game one, a two-out double off the fence in left field by sophomore Lizzy Lemire in the bottom of the sixth inning turned out to be the difference in the game as sophomore Melanie Alkire came around to score the winning run. Alkire had reached base on a single through the left side with one out, stole second and then scored on Lemire’s double.
Notre Dame pitcher Jennifer Sharron (16-8, 9-0) threw her second consecutive one-hitter, giving up only a double to Seton Hall centerfielder Kerry Kirk in the top of the fourth inning. Sharron, who one-hit St. John’s on Saturday, also gave up just one hit, a double, against the Red Storm. Seton Hall pitcher Jen Berghoff dropped to 19-3 with the loss, which also ended the Pirates’ 16-game winning streak and any hopes of sharing the BIG EAST regular season title or claiming the conference tournament’s top seed.
The Irish got more of an offense going in game two, scoring one in the bottom of the second, two in the fourth and sixth and three in the fifth to win 8-0 in six innings. Senior pitcher Angela Bessolo, playing in her last home game, picked up the winning pitching six innings and giving up three hits while striking out eight to move to 14-5 overall and 7-0 in the BIG EAST. Pirate pitcher Misty Beaver, meanwhile, took the loss to fall to 18-3.
Notre Dame’s 16-0 regular season record is the best ever in the BIG EAST since round robin play began in 1992. Alkire, who batted .532 in BIG EAST games, also set the single season conference record for the highest batting average by beating the old record of .529 set by former Notre Dame player Meghan Murray in 1997.
The Irish take a break until Saturday, May 8 when they travel to the 1999 BIG EAST Tournament in Storrs, Conn. to play host and fourth seed Connecticut at 10 a.m. EDT. Second-seed Seton Hall and third-seed Boston College square off two hours later at noon.
1999 BIG EAST Tournament Schedule (Double Elimination)
Saturday, May 8
Game 1 - #1 Notre Dame vs. #4 Connecticut - 10:00 a.m.Game 2 - #2 Seton Hall vs. #3 Boston College - noonGame 3 - Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner - 2:00 p.m.Game 4 - Games 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser - 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 9
Game 5 - Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Winner - 10:00 a.m.Game 6 - Game 5 Winner vs. Game 3 Winner - noonGame 7 - Same as game 6 (if necessary) - 2:00 p.m.