March 22, 1999

Turning Away From Tournaments: The Notre Dame softball team concluded its run of early season tournaments a little over a week ago at the National Invitational Tournament in Sunnyvale, Calif., March 12-14. The Irish went 1-2 on the first day, but recovered with two wins in bracket play on Saturday to advance to the consolation finals against 20th-ranked Nebraska, which the Cornhuskers won 6-0.

After playing 22 games in 12 days over a four-week period, the Irish were idle last weekend and embark on a stretch of five non-league double-headers starting Tuesday against Purdue. The games against the Boilermakers will then be followed by the first homestand of the season versus Toledo and Bowling Green, March 27-28.

McCleary Named All-Tournament: Catcher Kris McCleary (Westerville, Ohio) was named to the all-tournament team of the National Invitational Tournament after going 6-for-17 (.353) with two RBI and two runs scored. McCleary also hit her second home run of the season in the top of the fourth inning in Notre Dames 5-0 win against Northern Illinois. For her career, the Irish co-captain has five home runs, one in each of her three previous seasons and two in 1999.

McCleary is the fifth Notre Dame player this season to receive all-tournament honors. Senior pitcher Angela Bessolo is a two-time honoree at both the season-opening Gladstones Tournament and the Choo Choo Classic. Freshman Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Kan.), senior Amy Laboe (Monroe, Mich.) and sophomore Lizzy Lemire (Irvine, Calif.) round out Notre Dames all-tournament award-winners in 1999.

Going Yard: The Irish have already hit nine home runs this season – five more than all of last year. Freshman Jarrah Myers leads the team with three, while senior catcher Kris McCleary and sophomore Mel Alkire (Union City, Calif.) have two each and senior Amy Laboe and sophomore Lizzy Lemire have one apiece..

Notre Dame Home Run Summary
Feb. 19 – Freshman Jarrah Myers, in her first collegiate at-bat, cranks a home run over the left field fence off South Florida pitcher Jennifer Thompson. The Irishwent on to upset the sixth-ranked Bulls, 2-0.

Feb. 28 – Third baseman Jarrah Myers hits her first career grand slam to drive in four runs in Notre Dames six-run 10th inning against Maryland in the teams last game of the Choo Choo Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn. The game had been tied 0-0 through seven innings before the six-run outburst won it for the Irish.

March 5 – In her first at bat of the Hillenbrand Tournament, senior Amy Laboe hit her first career home run to put the Irish ahead of Louisiana State, 1-0, in the top of the first inning.
Jarrah Myers hit the team’s second home run of the day with a solo shot to lead-off the fourth inning against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders also came back to beat the Irish, 8-3, after falling behind 0-2 through the end of the third inning.

March 6 – Sophomore Melanie Alkire came through with some clutch home runs to lead the Irish in an exciting come-from-behind victory over Kansas. Alkire hit her first home run of the game with her team behind 3-2 in the top of the seventh, two outs and no one on base. In her next at bat, Alkire then hit the game winner, a two-run shot off Jayhawk pitcher Sarah Workman. Irish catcher Kris McCleary, who batted after Alkire, then sent a towering shot over the left field fence for back-to-back home runs and a 6-4 Irish victory.

March 12 – Leftfielder Lizzy Lemire hit her second career home run – a solo shot in the top of the of the fourth inning to put the Irish ahead of UC Santa Barbara, 1-0.

March 13 – Co-captain Kris McCleary scored Notre Dame’s second run of a 5-0 win over Northern Illinois with a single swing of the bat in the top of the fourth inning. McCleary’s home run was her second on the year and the fifth for her career.

Scouting Purdue: The Irish will be looking for their first victory ever against the Boilermakers when they travel to West Lafayette, Ind. for Tuesday’s double header. Last season, Purdue won both games 2-0 and 4-0 at Ivy Field on April 8. The Irish, however, rebounded with a 17-game win streak to end the regular season.

This year, Purdue is 13-8 overall with wins over Liberty (4-0), North Carolina (4-1) and Nebraska (6-2) – all common opponents with the Irish. The Boilermakers have also notched impressive wins over Texas (6-5) and Cal Poly (5-4), but have dropped games to Tennessee-Chattanooga (1-6), St. Mary’s (1-3) and Marshall (0-2, 3-4) twice.

Under sixth-year head coach Carol Bruggerman, Purdue is led by second baseman Sam Mercier and outfielder Mandy Smart, who are both hitting .375. On the mound, two right-handed freshmen, Nicole Crouse and Meagan Dooley, have pitched all 21 games.

Scouting Toledo: The Rockets have played 16 games so far this season and will host Cleveland State for a double-header before heading to Notre Dame on March 27. Under second-year head coach Tami Summers, Toledo is 6-10 and are lead offensively by senior catcher Carla Fortune, who is hitting .378 with 17 hits, two doubles and two home runs. On the mound, the Rockets have a staff of three pitchers led by senior Amy Lukowski, who is 3-5 overall with a 2.07 ERA.

Scouting Bowling Green: Like the Irish, the Falcons (3-10) were idle all of last week. Under first-year head coach Leigh Ross-Shaw, the team has had two, five-game losing streaks. Notable Falcon losses have come to California (1-9) and Louisiana State (1-2, 0-1), both of whom defeated the Irish earlier in the year.

Junior third baseman Erin Zwinck leads the Falcons with a .500 batting average and pitchers Amy Hamilton (1-3), Garrett Gholston (2-5) and Jessi Milosek (0-2) make up the team’s starting pitching rotation.

Home-Opener History: After more than a month of road games, the Irish play host to two home double-headers this weekend against Toledo and Bowling Green. Over the program’s ten-year history, the Irish are 7-3 in home openers and defeated Loyola-Chicago, 8-4, in 1998.

Notes: Senior co-captains Kris McCleary and Amy Laboe will see some familiar faces across the diamond this weekend. McCleary’s high school teammate Nikki Rouhana at Westerville North High School plays for Bowling Green, while fellow Westerville North alumnus Nancy Cligrow plays for Toledo. One of Laboe’s high school teammates at St. Mary Catholic Central, Lisa Delrue, also plays for the Rockets.

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 Poll
March 14, 1999

 R  School               1999 Record 1. UCLA (25)               27-0 2. Arizona                 24-1 3. Fresno State            23-4 4. Washington              18-3 5. Oklahoma                23-4 6. Arizona State           22-5 7. USL                     22-2 8. Stanford                19-4 9. South Carolina          26-710. Michigan                15-511. Texas                   17-812. Oregon State            21-413. Louisiana State         15-514. California              24-515. Illinois-Chicago        28-916. Oregon                  18-617. Massachusetts           11-518. Minnesota               20-519. South Florida          24-1220. New Mexico              21-321. Iowa                    14-622. Southern Mississippi    23-423. Texas A&M               21-724. Nebraska                10-625. DePaul                  10-8

Others: Hawai’i, Central Michigan, Missouri, Southwest Missouri, Troy State, Florida Atlantic, Florida, Mississippi State, Tennesee-Chattanooga, Cal State Northridge, Boston University, Evansville, Oklahoma State, Middle Tennessee and Mississippi.


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)


P   Name                    SchoolP   Mary Dietz              Boston CollegeP   Jennifer Sharron        Notre DameC   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   RutgersU   Lauren Fischetti        Boston CollegeDP  Jen Perrotta            Boston College

As of March 10, 1999

 1. UCLA 2. Arizona 3. South Carolina 4. Arizona State 5. Hawaii 6. Oklahoma 7. USL 8. Fresno State 9. Oregon State10. Massachusetts11. Washington12. Mississippi13. Michigan14. LSU15. New Mexico16. Cal Sate Northridge17. California18. Stanford19. Nebraska20. Texas21. Cal State Fullerton22. Illinois-Chicago23. Northwestern State24. South Florida25. Mississippi State