April 19, 2003
The University of Notre Dame softball team (26-11, 10-0 BIG EAST) achieved its goal at Syracuse (12-20, 4-8) on Saturday in two vastly different ways. The Irish cruised to a game one victory behind three home runs, ending the game in the sixth 10-1. Notre Dame had to rally in game two, however, as Syracuse utilized three consecutive home runs to build a 4-1 lead in the third inning. A three-run home run from Mallorie Lenn eventually tied the game and Lisa Mattison came through with an RBI single to put her team ahead to stay 5-4. Notre Dame eventually won 6-4.
Notre Dame has now won 16 games in a row, the most consecutive wins since the 2001 team posted their legendary 33-game win streak.
Carrie Wisen was masterful in relief during both games, picking up two victories on the day. She worked 3.2 inning of one-hit softball in game one (in relief of Heather Booth), then shut down the Orangewomen once again for 4.2 innings in game two. Wisen’s line for the day ended up at 8.1 IP, two hits, three walks and one strike out.
The Notre Dame offense was highlighted by several outstanding performances. Andrea Loman pounded the Syracuse pitching for five hits on the day with two RBI. Mallorie Lenn, returning to the starting line up after resting for the doubleheader against IPFW on Thursday, was two for five with two home runs and four RBI. Lisa Mattison continued her hot hitting as well, going three for six with the game-winning RBI in game two.
Notre Dame starting pitcher Heather Booth struggled with her control in the first game, giving up a run in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Rachel Park walked and Jennifer Opitelli followed with a single to put runners at first and second. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, but Booth came back to strike out Alexis Switenko. Another wild pitch followed, however, and Syracuse plated their only run of the game.
The Irish came right back to get two runs in the top of the second when Liz Hartmann walked and pinch runner Sara Schoonaert scored on a Nicole deFau triple into right-centerfield. deFau would score one batter later on a sacrifice fly from Megan Ciolli.
In the third inning, Meagan Ruthrauff slammed her fourth home run of the season to put Notre Dame up 3-1. After Andria Bledsoe singled to continue the third, Syracuse starting pitcher Tara DiMaggio was pulled in favor of Taylor Peterson. Mattison was the first batter Peterson faced and the Irish first basemen singled, putting two runners on for Hartmann.
Hartmann, who has shown a tendency to hit home runs in bunches and left the park against IPFW on Thursday, came through with her team-high seventh home run of the season, blowing the game open with three RBI. Lenn continued the offensive onslaught, going back-to-back with her own solo home run.
Loman would score the eighth run of the game for Notre Dame after doubling, then scoring on an error in the fourth inning. She also doubled for two RBI in the sixth to provide the final score.
Booth, who left the game in the second inning after walking her fifth batter, re-entered the game in the sixth to work a one-two-three inning.
Notre Dame looked in good shape to start game two, when Loman walked, stole second base and scored on a Bledsoe single.
Starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein gave up one hit over the first two innings, but ended up in a whole heap of trouble in the third. Kristen Collins doubled to lead off the inning and was sacrificed to third base. Rachel Park followed with a two-run homer, Jennifer Opitelli slammed a solo home run and Alexis Switenko came through with Syracuse’s third consecutive home run. Suddenly, the Irish were down 4-1.
The Orangewomen lead would not last long, however. Mattison began the fourth inning with a single and deFau entered to pinch run. Hartmann followed with a single of her own, putting runners at first and second. Lenn then drilled her second home run of the day, this time to right center, tying up the contest 4-4.
Wisen continued to baffle the Syracuse hitters and Notre Dame got its winning run in the fifth when Mattison drove in Bledsoe after the Irish short stop had singled and stole second base. The Irish tacked on one more insurance run in the sixth when Bledsoe reached on an error, stole second base and scored on another Syracuse error.
Notre Dame strengthens its hold on first place with the victory, now having 20 points in the BIG EAST standings. Boston College entered the weekend 7-1 (14 points) in second place. The Irish and Eagles meet next Saturday, April 26, in Boston.
DOUBLEHEADER NOTES: Notre Dame’s offense continues to shine, posting their seventh and eighth consecutive games with at least 10 hits … Andrea Loman raised her season batting average to .389 in the two games and she now has 31 RBI and 73 total bases … Andria Bledsoe continues her hot hitting as well, going three for eighth with three runs and an RBI against Syracuse … Loman, Megan Ciolli and Lisa Mattison all extended their hit streaks to eight games … Loman now leads the team in multi-hit games (13) and multi- RBI games (seven) … Liz Hartmann and Meagan Ruthrauff now have five multi-RBI performances … Carrie Wisen dropped her ERA to 1.43 on the season and has yet to allow a single run in BIG EAST action (20.0 IP, seven appearances) … Bledsoe is batting .412 in BIG EAST action this season with 14 hits and seven RBI in 34 AB.