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Irish exercise Demons and split with DePaul

Justin Schuver | Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Perhaps Notre Dame should stop scheduling teams from Chicago.For the second time this season, the Irish were knocked off at Ivy Field by a team from the Chicago area, as DePaul took care of Notre Dame 3-1 in game one of a doubleheader Tuesday night. Notre Dame was able to came back in the second game, 2-1, to salvage a split with the Blue Demons.The Irish lost a game at home earlier this season against Illinois-Chicago, 4-3 in 10 innings March 15. Last season, the Irish were swept at Ivy Field by Northwestern.Despite her team’s loss to DePaul Tuesday, Irish coach Deanna Gumpf was not all that upset with Notre Dame’s performance.”We had such good opportunities in both games but we weren’t quite able to make it happen,” she said. “I think the girls know what we need to do, it’s just a matter of doing it everytime.”We went against two very good pitchers today but I thought we still did a good job of hitting.”Notre Dame (40-14) gave up a run in the top of the fourth, but came back right away to tie it up again on an RBI single by Meghan Ruthrauff. Sloppy defense cost the Irish the game in the sixth.Starting pitcher Heather Booth made a throwing error that allowed DePaul’s Sara Martz to score from third. The error also allowed Saskia Roberson to move to second on the play, where Ashley Parker replaced her as a pinch runner. Parker scored one batter later on Jessica Evans’ RBI single.Booth pitched a complete game, allowing four hits and striking out six.The Irish found themselves down early in game two, as well, as Sarah Douglas hit a solo home run off Steffany Stenglein in the second inning. That would be the only damage against Stenglein, who allowed only five hits while striking out four.The Irish got all their runs in the third inning, as Carrie Wisen led off with a single. Sara Schoonaert attempted to bunt Wisen to second, but DePaul first baseman Roberson threw the ball wide of first base, which resulted in Irish runners at second and third.Stephanie Brown delivered a double in the next at-bat to score both runners, but the Irish would score three straight outs to end the threat, including a double play that was the result of poor baserunning.Notre Dame now stays at home this weekend to face two Big East opponents in doubleheaders, going against Virginia Tech Friday and Pittsburgh Sunday. Virginia Tech is currently third place in the conference, behind Notre Dame and Villanova.”I really believe that Virginia Tech is actually the second-best team in the Big East,” Gumpf said. “They’ve had some tough losses, but they really have great pitching and we know they’re going to be tough.”With a 12-0 record, the Irish are all but guaranteed of a berth in the Big East tournament. However, Gumpf doesn’t want her players to get complacent. “We have to prepare ourselves for the postseason,” Gumpf said.