May 16, 2003
The University of Notre Dame softball team (38-16) began its move through the loser’s bracket at the NCAA Region VII tournament in Ann Arbor with a 5-0 victory over Oakland on Friday night. The win eliminates the Golden Grizzlies from the tournament and pushes the Irish ahead to a 12 noon match up with Michigan on Saturday. The winner of that contest will face the loser of the California – DePaul game later in the day.
Four of Notre Dame’s runs came on two big hits. Mallorie Lenn drilled a deep two-run home run in the second inning and Andrea Loman crushed a huge home run in the top of the seventh to provide two insurance runs. Heather Booth picked up her second victory of the tournament, keeping Oakland at bay for five innings (two hits, four strike outs). Carrie Wisen finished off the game with two good innings of relief.
Julie Anderson took the loss for Oakland, going 4.2 innings with six hits, three runs (two earned) and two strike outs.
The first inning was uneventful for both teams, as the starting pitchers each worked their own one-two-three innings.
Andria Bledsoe led off the top of the second inning with a solid single to leftfield and immediately stole second base to get in scoring position. She eventually ended up at third with one out when Lisa Mattison grounded out to short stop.
Meagan Ruthrauff was due next after being moved up to sixth in the batting order after a two for four performance in the first game of the day against DePaul. Oakland starting pitcher Julie Anderson got Ruthrauff looking on a 1-2 pitch.
Freshman Mallorie Lenn then came through for Notre Dame with a towering home run deep over the leftfield fence, driving in Bledsoe to give Notre Dame a 2-0 lead. Liz Hartmann followed up with a single through the left side, but Nicole deFau fouled out to third base and end the inning.
The contest turned into a pitching duel in the third inning, with Booth and Anderson working identical one-two-three innings.
Notre Dame’s spark plug, Alexis Madrid, came through for the Irish in the fifth inning. With two outs, Kellie Middleton pinch hit for deFau and blooped a single into right-centerfield. She then stole second and moved to third on a throwing error. Madrid then singled her home to give the Irish a 3-0 lead.
Madrid also came through with a great defensive play deep up the middle during the bottom of the inning, recording the second out of the inning and saving a run (Oakland had a runner on second base). Erica Judge lined out to centerfield to end the inning.
With Oakland having made solid contact on several pitches in the fifth inning, Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf went to Carrie Wisen in relief to start the sixth. The Golden Grizzlies immediately took advantage of the new pitcher, getting two singles, then having both runners move to scoring position on a wild pitch.
Burns grounded out sharply to Mattison for the first out of the inning. Another ground ball to Mattison off Linnea Utecht’s bat followed, this time the runner from third was thrown out at the plate. Utecht moved to second on the play, however, to keep two runners in scoring position.
Wisen and Oakland’s Jennifer Granger then went to battle. After starting the at bat 0-2, Granger fought back with several foul balls to get to a 3-2 count. Fifteen pitches after stepping into the batter’s box, Granger grounded out to first base to end the inning.
Notre Dame tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the seventh when Loman crushed a tape measure home run to straight-away centerfield with Ciolli on second base.
Wisen worked an uneventful seventh inning to secure the victory and move Notre Dame into the final 32 teams in the country.