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Irish sweep after rain delay, slow start

Justin Schuver | Monday, March 22, 2004

After a nail-biter in game one of their doubleheader this weekend, the Irish found their bite in game two.Notre Dame coach Deanna Gumpf picked up her 100th and 101st victories Saturday as the Irish (19-9) swept Eastern Michigan (8-10), 2-0 and 9-1. A late start due to a rain delay may have caused a slow start offensively for the Irish, who scored a key insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning to get the shutout victory in game one.Starting pitcher Heather Booth picked up the win, allowing just two hits to the Eagles while picking up nine strikeouts in a complete game shutout. Booth improved her record to 10-3 on the season.Steffany Stenglein evened her record at 6-6, picking up a win in game two while striking out a season-high 11 batters and scattering four hits and one run.”Heather did a great job today,” Gumpf said. “She kept them off their toes. Her changeup was working, and when that’s the case she can have a great game. We knew we didn’t need many runs, we just needed to get enough runs for the win.”Game one started out as a pitcher’s duel between Booth and Eastern Michigan’s Nikki Denman. The Irish were able to finally strike against Denman in the bottom of the fourth inning, using an error by the Eagles to help.After Stephanie Brown and Nicole deFau were retired, Megan Ciolli put down a perfect bunt single in front of the plate. Meghan Ruthrauff followed with a hard single to left field that dribbled under the glove of the Eastern Michigan left fielder, allowing Ciolli to score from first base.deFau began the sixth inning with a sharp single to center, and Ciolli bunted her over to second base. The Eastern Michigan third baseman made an errant throw toward first, however, and both Ciolli and deFau where able to advance.Ruthrauff loaded the bases with a little dribbler in front of the plate, and Hartmann scored deFau from third on a fielder’s choice. Booth shut down the Eagles in order in the top of the seventh to preserve the victory.”We really just were able to come in and keep going after it,” Hartmann said. “It was a really good team win. I knew that our bats were strong and that eventually we’d get our offense going.”That offense got going in game two, as the Irish collected a season-high 13 hits and ended the game in the sixth on the eight-run mercy rule. Lenn collected her first home run of the season with a solo shot in the second inning, and Hartmann belted a two-run home run that bounced off the top of the fence before going into the parking lot in the bottom of the sixth.”I was just looking to try to drive the ball to the opposite field,” Hartmann said. “Every now and then they throw the pitch inside, so I was just looking to keep my hands in and I was able to get it out.” Although the Irish came away with a big offensive victory in game two, the score could have been much higher, with the team leaving nine batters on base in the contest.”I was not happy about that,” Gumpf said. “I told the girls after the game that they had done everything I’d asked them to do except score more of those runners. We have to able to get those girls in, somehow.”Notre Dame’s doubleheader against Western Michigan Sunday was cancelled due to inclement weather.