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Non-conference foe Northwestern awaits

Heather VanHoegarden | Tuesday, April 20, 2004

After two big wins in the Big East weekend, Notre Dame jumps outside the conference to face Big Ten foe Northwestern today in Evanston.The Irish (34-13, 8-0 Big East) are fresh off a sweep of Providence Sunday. Notre Dame won game one behind the arm of Heather Booth, as she pitched a shutout, good for a 1-0 Irish victory. Sara Schoonaert was responsible for the lone Irish run, as she singled with the bases loaded.In the second game, Steffany Stenglein took the Irish on her back, as she gave up just one run, while striking out nine in six innings. But the Irish managed seven runs, giving them the 7-1 victory at home. Schoonaert was explosive in the second game as well, going 3-for-3 with one RBI, and a home run short of hitting for the cycle.Besides Schoonaert, the Irish offense was led by Megan Ciolli. Ciolli finished 5-for-7 on the day with one RBI and one run scored.On the season, the Irish are led by Ciolli, who is hitting .404 with 14 RBI. Meagan Ruthrauff is next, as she is hitting .331 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs. On the mound, Booth has 17-5 record with a 1.27 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 165 2/3 innings this season. Stenglein has an ERA of 1.72, and a record of 14-7, while striking out 129 batters in 126 1/3 innings.Meanwhile in the other dugout, the Wildcats (24-13, 7-5 Big Ten) sport a star pitcher of their own.Courtnay Foster was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week last week, as she posted three wins and a save for Northwestern. Foster gave up just one run in 21 1/3 innings, while striking out 29 batters. She also shut out Penn State and struck out 14 in just seven innings of work.But Foster isn’t the only Wildcat who has been hot of late. The entire Northwestern team went on a tear last week, winning all five of their games, including wins over Penn State, Ohio State and Loyola.The last time these two teams met, the Irish were swept away on their home field.