Stenglein is perfect in win over Valpo
Heather VanHoegarden | Thursday, March 25, 2004
That is the only way to describe Steffany Stenglein’s performance Tuesday night. Stenglein struck out 14 of 18 batters in six innings, good for a perfect game in a 9-0 Irish win at Valparaiso (3-8).
“It was one of those days when everything was working,” Stenglein said. “I had confidence in all my pitches and stayed focused on the next batter while trying not to think about the situation too much.”
With the win, the Irish improved to 20-9 on the season after a tough early season schedule.
“We are preparing ourselves for the Big East and for our home season,” Irish coach Deanna Gumpf said.
Offensively, Notre Dame was led by Meagan Ruthrauff, who was 3-for-4 with five RBIs, and Liz Hartmann, who was also 3-for-4. Ruthrauff, Mallorie Lenn and Nicole Wicks all homered against the Crusaders.
But while the Irish offense was on fire, Stenglein was the story. It was her second career perfect game, and her third career no-hitter.
“She has had her ups and downs this season, but she was outstanding,” Gumpf said. “She needed that game.”
So what was the difference for Stenglein in the win?
“She got ahead,” Gumpf said. “When she gets ahead, she can use her best pitches and throw some out of the zone. This makes the hitters fish for pitches they don’t want to hit.”
The Irish got on the board early, scoring three runs on a Ruthrauff home run after Nicole deFau reached on a walk and Megan Ciolli singled. Wicks added another solo home run in the third to put the Irish ahead 4-0.
In the fourth, deFau was doubled in by Ruthrauff after reaching on a single, and Ruthrauff scored on the two-run homer by Lenn.
More insurance came in the top of the sixth when deFau doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a Ruthrauff single. Hartmann doubled in Ruthrauff to put the Irish up 9-0.
Notre Dame returns home today as they face Loyola at Ivy Field, in weather that should be warmer than the home opener last weekend.
“Just being home I think provides a huge advantage to our team,” Gumpf said. “There’s nothing like being home.”
Loyola (10-13) comes off a split of a doubleheader at Northern Illinois, where they beat the Huskies 7-1 before losing 5-0 in the nightcap.
Meanwhile, the Irish hope to find their stride early this season.
“Consistency is the key,” Gumpf said. “We’ve played very well, and we’ve not played well. The bottom line is we’re capable of playing well everyday. They just need to come out and do the little things.”
Game time is set for 5 p.m. at Ivy Field.