March 2, 2001
The 15th-ranked University of Notre Dame softball team (9-1) won its first game of the day in the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn., 4-1 over Jacksonville State (7-5). The Irish will face host Tennessee-Chattanooga at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 2.
Notre Dame recovered from a sluggish start to post its ninth victory of the season and win its first of six scheduled games in the tournament this weekend. Jacksonville State’s Renee Hasan led off the game with a single to centerfield and eventually moved to third base on a bloop single by Andrea Tomey with two outs.
Irish starting pitcher Kristin Schmidt (Houston, Texas) then surrendered an RBI single to JSU’s Lauren Buck and walked the next batter to load the bases with two outs. Schmidt immediately settled down, though, and struck out Meghan Maskel on three straight pitches to end the inning.
Notre Dame’s bats began to come alive in the bottom of the second inning when Lizzy Lemire (Irvine, Calif.) led off with a single. Danielle Klayman (San Diego, Calif.) attempted a sacrifice bunt to move Lemire to second, but JSU’s Hasan dropped the throw at first base and the Irish had runners on first and second with no outs.
Andria Bledsoe (Higley, Ariz.) followed with a bloop single to leftfield, forcing Lemire to hold at second and she eventually was thrown out at third base. Jacksonville State picked off the lead runner again when Nicole deFau (Southington, Conn.) grounded to shortstop and Klayman was thrown out at third. JSU pitcher Jill Willcoxson induced Alexis Madrid (Temecula, Calif.) to pop up for the third out of the inning to end the Irish scoring threat.
After Schmidt worked a one-two-three inning to start off the third inning, Jenny Kriech (Indianapolis, Ind.) led off Notre Dame’s half of the third with a solo home run over the right field fence. It was Kreich first home run of the season, third of her career and allowed the Irish rightfielder to post her team-best ninth RBI of the season.
Andrea Loman (Riverside, Calif.) followed with a single to rightfield and Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.) laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Loman into scoring position at second base. Notre Dame kept the pressure on as Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Kan.) drew a walk, followed by a Lemire fly-out to right field.
Willcoxson then forced Klayman to ground sharply to third base, but JSU’s Allie Simons bobbled the ball, allowing Klayman to reach safely, load the bases and allow the inning to continue. Bledsoe would make sure the Gamecocks paid for the fielding error by driving a 1-0 pitch to the wall in centerfield, driving in all three baserunners and giving her team a three-run cushion.
Those three runs would be all that Schmidt needed to earn her fourth victory of the season. The Irish freshman’s changeup started to baffle the JSU hitters in the last four innings of the contest, as Schmidt would allow just three hits after the third inning and strikeout eight in the game.
Sophomore RHP Jessica Sharron made her second appearance of the season in the top of the seventh inning, pitching the last two outs of the game … Sharron gave up one hit, walked one batter and posted two strikeouts … Jenny Kriech is currently batting .441 with 15 hits and nine RBI … Andria Bledsoe finished the game two-for-two with three RBI, moving her to second-place on the team with seven RBI this season … Kristin Schmidt’s ERA is now 1.67 and she has 38 strikeouts in 2001 … Andrea Loman was moved into the second spot in the Irish batting order for the first time this season vs. Jacksonville State.