Softball: Akron blows past streaking Irish
Dan Murphy | Thursday, April 6, 2006
Notre Dame’s nine-game win streak and its undefeated home record came to a halt Wednesday with a 4-2 loss to Akron, proving the motto that all good things must come to an end.
Akron pitcher Megan Mackenzie led the Zips past the Irish for their first loss at Ivy Field this season. Mackenzie registered her 13th complete game of the season while holding Notre Dame’s offense to just four hits – three coming in the last inning.
“We didn’t hit ball well all game,” Notre Dame coach Deanna Gumpf said. “Early on, we didn’t make any adjustments and we pressed a lot at the end.”
Notre Dame was unable to get a runner past first base until the bottom of the seventh. After hitting the ball hard all day, Linda Kohan got one to drop in for a double that drove in two runs – her 10th and 11th RBIs this season.
“The center fielder was making great plays all day long, the bottom line is we just have to get things going earlier in the game.” Kohan said.
The Zips were able to get to Irish pitcher Brittney Bargar early – putting up three runs in the top of the third. The largest blow came when Akron second baseman Jamie Scanclift ripped a two run double to the right center gap. The Akron rally came after Bargar struck out the first two batters of the inning.
Akron struck again with two outs in the top of the fifth when right fielder Cali Stratton singled up the middle to get her second RBI of the game. The hit gave the Zips a 4-0 lead and ended Bargar’s day.
“She was flat and around the plate, when you come out like that you’re bound to get hit.” Gumpf said.
Irish junior Kenya Fuemmeler came on in relief and did a solid job of holding the Akron offense at bay for the remainder of the game. Fuemmeler gave up one weak hit in the seventh, but was otherwise unscathed in her 2 1-3 scoreless innings.
“Kenya did a great job – we needed her to come in and slow things down and she did the job,” Gumpf said.
Despite a disappointing end, the eight-game homestand showed a lot of progress, especially on the mound. The staff only gave up four runs in South Bend, including two no-hitters and five shutout performances.
According to Gumpf, the team will need to get back to the basics to continue their success on offense as well as defense. She is hoping that the team will be able to make better decisions at the plate.
“You always have to go back to fundamentals when things are going well, that is what it’s all about.” said Kohan.
After reloading, the Irish will look to begin a new winning streak this weekend as they take their undefeated Big East record on the road to face Syracuse and Pitt.