May 6, 2006
The University of Notre Dame softball team (35-19) ended its four-game losing streak by splitting a doubleheader with Seton Hall (29-25) at Ivy Hill Park on Saturday, May 6. The Pirates retain a slim hope for a spot in next weekend’s BIG EAST Championship game and continue their success against the Irish recently. The team’s traded 4-3 victories in the two games (the Irish winning the first contest), giving Seton Hall its eighth win in its last 10 games against Notre Dame.
The two games ended up as mirror images of each other. Notre Dame jumped out to a 3-0 lead in game one on a home run to centerfield by sophomore Katie Laing. The Pirates rallied for two runs in the bottom of the third, then the Irish tacked on an insurance run in the top of the sixth before Seton Hall answered with yet another run in the bottom of the sixth.
Senior Heather Booth scattered six hits and struck out eight in the game one victory.
In game two, Seton Hall jumped out to a four-run lead in the top of the second. Freshman Brittney Bargar continued her late season struggles for Notre Dame, giving up four hits and three earned runs in the over the first 1 1/3 innings she worked. Booth was called into relief duty in game two and after allowing two hits immediately upon entering the game, settled down to allow just two hits over the next four innings.
Notre Dame’s game two rally came in the top of the sixth inning. Freshman Linda Kohan led off with a double and, after a sacrifice bunt, classmate Erin Glasco hit her second home run of the season to leftfield to cut the Seton Hall lead to a single run.
The Irish kept the pressure on when junior Gessica Hufnagle singled, followed by a single from junior Stephanie Brown. The Seton Hall defense attempted to cut down Hufnagle at third on the play, allowing Brown to move to second base with the tying run.
Senior Sara Schoonaert stepped in next and contributed her fourth hit of the game, a single to rightfield. Hufnagle scored on the play, but Brown was cut down at the plate on a great throw from SHU rightfielder Caitlin White. Schoonaert did advance to second on the throw home, but was stranded to end the inning when senior Mallorie Lenn struck out looking.
That would be the last scoring opportunity for the Irish, as Seton Hall relief pitcher Ashley Arnett induced back-to-back ground outs from senior Meagan Ruthrauff and Laing for the first two outs of the seventh. Kohan reached on an error to give the Irish a bit of hope, but freshman Stephanie Mola lined out to centerfield to end the game and give Arnett her first save of the year.
The Irish are now 15-5 in BIG EAST play, but have lost six of their last nine games entering Sunday’s doubleheader at St. John’s. Notre Dame has assured itself of no worse than third in the BIG EAST Championship next weekend in South Bend, Ind., at the Belleville Softball Complex.
With three hits in the doubleheader today, Stephanie Brown will need two hits to tie and three hits to break the BIG EAST regular-season hits record held by Notre Dame’s Meghan Murray from the 1997 season … Murray totaled 37 hits in ’97, and Brown has 35 entering tomorrow’s two games … Brown’s BIG EAST batting average fell just a bit to .538, still in second-place all-time on the single season BIG EAST list to Janna Venice from Connecticut, who hit .600 in six games back in 1992 … Meagan Ruthrauff is now just one walk behind former Seton Hall standout Laura Taylor for the BIG EAST career walks record with 46 … Ruthrauff still needs two more RBI to tie and three to break former Irish star Jarrah Myers career BIG EAST RBI record of 64, Ruthrauff has 62 entering tomorrow’s games … senior Sara Schoonaert stepped up in game two today with four hits, her first career four-hit performance.