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Softball: Fuemmeler and Booth combine for no-hitter

Dan Murphy | Monday, March 27, 2006

Solid pitching combined with timely hitting led to two wins for the Irish as Notre Dame opened up regional play this weekend.

After rain in Kalamazoo Saturday delayed the start of a double header until Sunday afternoon, Notre Dame made easy work of Western Michigan.

The Irish took the first game 5-0 thanks to a combined no-hitter by Heather Booth and Kenya Fuemmeler. Booth struck out five in the first four innings, and the Irish claimed a 5-0 lead when Irish coach Deanna Gumpf called on Fuemmeler to close out the remaining three innings.

“Kenya hasn’t gotten the innings that I wanted to get her so far this year, so we wanted to get her some work, and she did a great job,” Gumpf said.

With an ERA of 1.62 in her four appearances so far this year, Fuemmeler is likely to see more time.

Sunday marked the second time Booth has pitched part of a no-hitter. The first came when she combined with 2005 graduate Carrie Wisen last season.

“She owned them today,” Gumpf said. “They just couldn’t touch her changeup.”

In the second game, Booth pitched in relief in extra innings to shut down the Broncos for a second time and earn her third save of the season for the Irish.

“I felt pretty good today,” Booth said. “It was good to connect with [catcher] Erin [Glasco]. I feel like her and I made good strides.”

Booth replaced Brittany Bargar on the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning after Bargar had allowed only three hits and one run through the first seven and a third.

The Irish had trouble getting to Broncos pitcher Krysten Shumaker early in the game and the game was scoreless after seven innings.

But in the top of the first extra frame, Alexandra Kotcheff came through with the hit that the Irish needed. Her one-out single up the middle found its way past the Western Michigan center fielder, and both Stephanie Brown and Stephanie Mola scored on the play. Mola led off the inning with her first career hit.

Mola, Kotcheff and Bargar -all freshmen – continued to make a large impact for the Irish this season.

“[The freshmen] have really stepped up,” Gumpf said. “I always have had confidence in them, and expected a lot from ever since they were recruited.”

Notre Dame will play its first home game this Wednesday as Notre Dame takes on Bowling Green at Ivy Field.