April 27, 2003
All good things must come to an end at some point. The University of Notre Dame softball teams’ 20-game win streak ended at Connecticut on Sunday with a 2-1 loss, as UConn pitcher Barb Cook held the potent Irish offense to just three hits. Notre Dame came back to salvage a split in the doubleheader with a 6-3 victory in game two.
Notre Dame’s season record stands at 31-12 and 11-1 in the BIG EAST Conference. Connecticut moves to 19-20-1 and 7-5 in league play. There will be a number of make up games played on Monday due to a vast majority of the conference doubleheaders from Saturday being postponed due to inclement weather. It will take those Monday’s games to figure out just where the Irish will land in the conference standings.
Connecticut scored both its runs on solo home runs by Maggie Arbogast and Kim Castner in the bottom of the sixth. The Irish, meanwhile, were struggling on offense only scratching out three hits off Cook. Notre Dame posted its only run of the game in the second inning when Andria Bledsoe scored on a Liz Hartmann RBI single.
Although Heather Booth did give up the two home runs in the sixth, she pitched well scattering six hits and striking out six in six innings of work. Cook kept the Notre Dame hitters off balance, with only Alexis Madrid, Andrea Loman and Hartmann managing base hits in the game.
The Irish offense got back on track in the second game, putting up 11 hits in the 6-3 victory. Carrie Wisen started for Notre Dame and battled through 4.1 innings, giving up nine hits and three runs. Steffany Stenglein logged one inning of relief, walking three batters and striking out one. Booth finished off game two with 1.2 innings, giving up one hit and striking out three.
Megan Ciolli returned to the Irish lineup in game two after sitting out the last two games due to a minor leg injury. She paid immediate dividends for the Notre Dame offense, doubling to lead off the game and scoring on a Loman RBI single.
Notre Dame picked up an unearned run in the second inning when pinch runner Sara Schoonaert scored on an error by UConn starting pitcher Claire Hesson. Connecticut cut into the Irish lead with an RBI single by Jennifer Ward in the bottom of the second and tied the game in the third on a Ashleigh Campen home run.
The Irish immediately answered back in the fourth inning by posting four runs. Mattison doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a Hartmann ground out. Mallorie Lenn drove Mattison in with a single and Nicole deFau followed with a single to put runners at first and second. Ciolli then stepped in an drilled her fourth home run of the season to put the Irish ahead to stay.
Connecticut got one run back in the fifth when Mandy Schettini doubled to drive in Cook (playing third base in game two). After Schettini’s double (in which she advanced to third on the throw home), Stenglein entered and got Jennifer D’Angelo to bounce into a fielder’s choice. Bledsoe fielded the ball for Notre Dame and gunned down Schettini at the plate in the attempt to score. Arbogast drew a walk to put runners at first and second, but Stenglein struck out Castner to end the inning.
After three Notre Dame strike outs in the sixth inning, the Connecticut offense put together one more scoring threat. Bethany Watrous drew a lead off walk and Ward was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Stenglein got a fly out from Nikki Ribeiro for one out, but walked Cook to load the bases. Booth came into the game for relief and got out of the inning when Lenn picked off Watrous at third base and Campen struck out.
Notre Dame heads home Sunday night with a day of preparation before their biggest non-conference doubleheader of the season. The Irish will face #7 DePaul in Chicago for two games on Tuesday. The games begin at 4 p.m.
DOUBLEHEADER NOTES: Andrea Loman had another solid two-game performance, going four for seven with and RBI … the four hits raised her batting average to .402 this season … don’t look now but Notre Dame is approaching the school season home run record yet again, as the Irish have hit 41 out of the park this season … last year’s 44-17 squad hit a school-record 54 home runs … Megan Ciolli was the definitive star of game two, going three for four with three RBI and two runs scored.