Softball: Booth and Bargar shoot down Eagles
Joe Meixell | Wednesday, April 5, 2006
Notre Dame starting pitchers Heather Booth and Brittney Bargar led the Irish to two shutout victories Tuesday as Notre Dame swept a doubleheader against the Eastern Michigan Eagles with 2-0 and 1-0 wins at Ivy Field.
Booth and Bargar each pitched complete game gems, combining for seventeen strikeouts while giving up only seven hits in the two shutouts.
Booth was able to work all her pitches in the first game – forcing hitters to chase after her fastball while fooling them with the changeup. Bargar dominated the Eagles lineup in game two, striking out 11 batters with her overpowering fastball and baffling curve.
“[Booth and Bargar] showed up more than anybody else tonight,” Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf said. “Heather’s changeup was on fire and Brittney’s curve was menacing.”
The pitching staff’s dominance was especially important in Tuesday’s doubleheader since the offense could muster just three runs on ten total hits in both games.
The Eagles pitching shut down Notre Dame’s hitters, and the Irish drew no walks in the first game and two in the second.
“I don’t think we really lacked offensive production today, the hits just weren’t going where we needed them to go,” Irish center fielder Alexandra Kotcheff said.
But when the hits did land where the Irish needed them, good things happened for Notre Dame.
In the first game, Irish second baseman Katie Laing led off the bottom of the second with a triple to the wall in center field. Notre Dame shortstop Sara Schoonaert drove in Laing for the team’s first run with a ground ball to second.
With two outs in the fourth, Irish first baseman Linda Kohan knocked a 1-2 pitch to the gap in right for a double. Notre Dame designated player Erin Glasco then stepped up and drove a ball over the head of Eagles centerfielder Heather Giroux for an RBI double and insurance run Booth wouldn’t need.
The biggest hit of the second game came in the bottom of the sixth inning with neither team on the scoreboard. Kotcheff led off the inning with a double to center and then moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt by Irish senior catcher Mallorie Lenn. Notre Dame third baseman Meagan Ruthrauff then stepped up and drove in Kotcheff for the winning run.
Ruthrauff, who was 2-for-3 in the game before Sarah Smith pinch ran for her, said the Irish lacked a certain intensity on offense.
“We had some intensity, but we could bring a lot more,” Ruthrauff said. “If we would have done that, we would have been able to score a lot more runs.”
With slim leads in each game, the defense stepped up to provide Booth and Bargar with support. Notre Dame’s infield played well, preventing potential hits from getting through the infield.
“We had very solid defense today,” Ruthrauff said. “Laing in particular was flawless, showing her range not only to the hole but also to her left.”
The outfield also showed its range, not allowing an extra- base hit.
The sweep of Eastern Michigan was the Irish’s eighth and ninth consecutive wins, during which they have allowed only three runs to opposing hitters – including three consecutive shutouts and two no-hitters.
Notre Dame next faces Akron today at 4 p.m. at Ivy Field.
The Zips (11-14) are lead by freshman outfielder Cali Stratton, who enters the contest with a .295 batting average, one homer and seven RBIs. Akron freshman pitcher Julie Boyes is batting .284 with one home run and nine RBIs.
Gumpf feels the Irish can beat Akron.
“We definitely have to pick it up a notch,” Gumpf said. “They’ll bring it and we have to be ready.”