February 24, 1999
IRISH CLAIM GLADSTONES TOURNAMENT TITLE; FIRST EVER UNDER COACH LIZ MILLER: The Notre Dame softball team (4-1) began the 1999 season with a bang, going 4-1 at the Gladstones Tournament and beating some of the best teams in the country along the way. The win was the first early season tournament title for the Irish in the seven-year Liz Miller era.
In the first game of the tournament against sixth-ranked South Florida, the Irish got a complete game, shutout victory from pitcher Angela Bessolo (Lakewood, Calif.), while freshman Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Kan.) provided the offensive boost with a solo home run in her first collegiate at bat in the bottom of the second inning. South Florida is the highest ranked opponent that the Irish have beaten since March 13, 1995 when the team defeated fifth-ranked Cal State Fullerton 1-0.
In game two of the tournament, the Irish once again got a spectacular pitching performance this time from sophomore left-hander Jennifer Sharron (Agoura Hills, Calif.), who pitched a complete game and recorded a career- high 10 strikeouts, beating her previous best of nine. On the offensive side, Melanie Alkire (Logan City, Calif.) went 3-for-4 with and RBI, while Myers and freshman Kathleen Hoag (Wallingford, Conn.) both went 2-for-3 with an RBI apiece to propel the Irish to a 6-4 win over Georgia Tech.
The Irish continued their success the next day by winning a 9-3 decision over the win-less Miami University Red Hawks. Bessolo picked up her second win of the season allowing only one earned run, while freshman Michelle Moschel (Naples, Fla.) recorded her first career save by allowing only two hits in three innings of work. Four Notre Dame hitters had two hits as the Irish scored three runs in both the bottom of the first and second.
The final game on Saturday proved to be a long one for the Irish. Behind two hours, the contest with Tennessee, originally slated for an 8 p.m. start, did not begin until a little after 10 p.m. After two innings of scoreless play, the Irish, however, erupted for five runs in the next two behind the bats of Alkire (3-for-3) and Sharron (2-for-3). Sharron also got the shutout win and allowed only five hits.
On Sunday, the Irish had already wrapped up the tournament title before the game against Kansas had even begun. Notre Dame was the only undefeated team after the first two days of round-robin play and South Florida, a team which the Irish had already beaten 2-0, was the only other team with one loss.
Against the Jayhawks, the Irish were only able to manage one hit against Kansas pitcher Sarah Workman, who struck out nine for the complete-game, shutout win. Kansas scored the only run of the game in the third inning after Shelly Musser reached base on an error, stole second and third base, and then scored on her sister Christi Musser’s RBI single.
MYERS, BESSOLO GARNER TOURNAMENT AWARDS: In addition to the title, two Irish players were honored with the tournament’s Most-Valuable-Pitcher and Player Awards. Senior Angela Bessolo got the nod for most valuable pitcher after throwing a shutout against South Florida and picking up the win against Miami. Bessolo pitched 14 innings overall and allowed just one earned run on eight hits.
Myers, who is on a five-game hitting streak, led the team with a .533 batting average (5-for-13) and picked up four RBI in the five games. Myers also hit and scored the game-winning run against South Florida after slamming a solo home run over the fence in left-center field.
SCOUTING THE CHOO CHOO CLASSIC: The Irish hope to keep their engines running when the team travels to Chattanooga, Tenn. for the Choo Choo Classic, Feb. 26-28. The Irish play host Tennessee-Chattanooga and Tennessee-Martin on Friday, followed by games against Liberty and Maryland on Saturday. Round-robin play is followed by bracket play on Sunday. The championship match starts at 1 p.m.
Tennessee-Martin: This is the first meeting between the Irish and the Skyhawks.
Tennessee-Chattanooga: The Irish face the Mocs for a second year in a row after winning 9-7 in 1998 at the Hawaii Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 13. So far this season, the Mocs are 6-2 with wins over two wins each over Samford University, Northwestern State and Tennessee-Martin. The Mocs, under first-year head coach Karen Weekly, blanked Tennessee-Martin 7-0 and 12-0. Last year, Chattanooga was 47-15 en route to the Southern Conference Championship. They also posted an impressive 19-1 mark at home.
Liberty: This is the first meeting between the Irish and the Flames. Liberty, under head coach Paul Wetmore, have a 3-4 record after playing all seven games at the Triangle Classic in Raleigh, N.C. The Flames had victories over Eastern Kentucky, East Carolina and Rhode Island, while they lost twice to Marshall, once to Purdue and to UNC Charlotte.
Liberty returns all nine starters and all 13 letterwinners from a team which finished 33-23 overall and placed second with an even 8-8 record in the Big South Conference in 1998. Leading the way this season for the Flames is freshman Natalie Hagan (.368 batting average), while both Amy Csider and Leslie Inge have only allowed one earned run apiece in 14 innings of work.
Maryland: The Terps may prove to be the toughest challenge for the Irish this weekend. With 18 games already under their belts, Maryland has posted impressive victories over sixth-ranked South Florida (1-0), 19th-ranked Alabama (2-1) and Utah (5-1).
Athletes to watch on fifth-year head coach Gina LaMandre’s squad include senior pitcher Kelly Shipman who has a 1.02 ERA in nine games pitched with a no-hitter against Kentucky on Feb. 20. On the offensive side, the Terps have connected for nine home runs and both Jennifer Potsman and Michelle Burrell both have contributed 10 RBI apiece.
CHOO CHOO CLASSIC
Feb. 26 – Maryland vs. Liberty, 11AM; Notre Dame vs. UT-Martin, 1 PM; Liberty vs. UTC, 3PM; UT-Martin vs. Maryland, 5 PM; UTC vs. Notre Dame, 7 PM.
Feb. 27 – Notre Dame vs. Liberty, 11 AM; UT-Martin vs. UTC, 1 PM; Maryland vs. Notre Dame, 3 PM; Liberty vs. UT-Martin, 5 PM; UTC vs. Maryland, 7 PM.
Feb. 28 – Championship Bracket – #1 vs. #4, 9 AM; #2 vs. #3, 11 AM; Winner Game #1 vs. Winner Game #2 (Championships), 1PM; Consolation – #5 v. Loser Game #1, 11 AM; Winner Game #4 vs. Loser Game #2, 1PM.
NEWS & NOTES: Game-winning RBI this weekend went to Jarrah Myers (South Florida), Lizzy Lemire (Georgia Tech, Tennessee) and Danielle Klayman (Miami)….South Florida pitcher Jennifer Thompson had not given up an earned run in 28.1 innings until Myers’ home run in the bottom of the second inning with one out…Of the four teams this weekend, the Irish have only played Tennessee-Chattanooga before..Out of the 35 Notre Dame opponents this year, the Irish have never played 12 of them…The Irish will not play a home match until March 27 against Toledo.
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH LIZ MILLER: Miller enters her seventh season with the Irish and her 24th overall. Miller has directed the Irish to three-straight BIG EAST South Division Championships and has a 238-116 record at Notre Dame. Before being hired at Notre Dame, Miller was the head softball coach at Lake Michigan College where she amassed a 541-142 record in 17 seasons.
1999 BIG EAST PRESEASON COACHES POLL
R School '98 Record1 Boston College 38-14-1 (13-3-1)2 NOTRE DAME 35-25 (13-3) 3 Rutgers 25-22 (10-5)4 Connecticut 24-21 (8-7)5 Villanova 36-17 (8-6)6 St. John's 16-30-1 (6-11)7 Providence 17-25-2 (4-12-1)8 Seton Hall 18-28-1 (0-15)9 Pittsburgh 0-12 (N/A)
1999 PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST TEAM
P Name School P Mary Dietz Boston College P Jennifer Sharron Notre Dame C Angie Catalano RutgersIF Alison Hirsch ConnecticutIF Chris Vicari Boston CollegeIF Jessica Yanosy ConnecticutIF Megan O'Leary VillanovaOF Allyson Johnson ConnecticutOF Lizzy Lemire Notre DameOF Jaime-Lyn Chmielowicz Rutgers U Lauren Fischetti Boston CollegeDP Jen Perrotta Boston College
GLADSTONES TOURNAMENT RESULTS
2/19 - Tennessee 8, Miami 0 (5) Kansas 3, Tennessee 1 Kansas 1, Miami 0 USF 10, Georgia Tech 2 (6) Notre Dame 2, USF 0 Notre Dame 6, Georgia Tech 42/20 - Georgia Tech 4, Kansas 2 Notre Dame 9, Miami 3 USF 2, Kansas 0 USF 3, Miami 0 Tennessee 13, Georgia Tech 8 Notre Dame 5, Tennessee 02/21- Georgia Tech 5, Miami 3 Kansas 1, Notre Dame 0 USF 3, Tennessee 0
Tentative Defensive Starting Lineup
Pitcher - Jennifer Sharron/Angela BessoloCatcher - Kris McClearyFirst Base - Amy LaboeSecond Base - Kathleen HoagThird Base - Jarrah MyersShortstop - Melanie AlkireLeft Field - Lizzy LemireCenter Field - Danielle KlaymanRight Field - Jennifer Kriech/Holly Matsuda
USA Today/NFCA Preseason Top 25 Poll
January 27, 1999
R School 1998 Record 1. Fresno State 52-11 2. Arizona 67-4 3. UCLA 18-27 4. Washington 52-15 5. Michigan 56-7 6. South Florida 57-14 7. Texas 49-16 8. Nebraska 48-12 9. Louisana State 58-1410. Massachusetts 45-1411. Oklahoma 49-1511. DePaul 47-813. Long Beach St. 39-2014. Stanford 41-1815. Oklahoma St. 42-1916. Iowa 38-1917. Hawai'i 46-1518. Arizona State 38-2719. Alabama 49-1820. Florida 47-2221. Florida State 50-2022. Minnesota 48-2123. Hofstra 39-1724. Illinois-Chicago 56-2125. Oregon 40-31
Others: California, South Carolina, Pacific, Missouri, Utah, Boston College, Southwest Missouri State, Cal State Northridge, Central Michigan, Southern Illinois, Northwestern, USL, Texas Tech, Colorado State, Michigan State, Northern Illinois, Oregon State, Kansas, Northeast Louisana, Mississippi State and Harvard.