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Softball: No. 17 Northwestern hands Irish one-run defeat

Dan Murphy | Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A walk-off single from Northwestern’s Kristen Amegin in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Wildcats a 3-2 over Notre Dame in Evanston, Ill. Tuesday. The loss was the third one-run defeat handed to the Irish from a ranked opponent – Northwestern (30-10) is currently No. 17.

After leaving the bases loaded in the top of the inning, Notre Dame clung to a slim lead going into the final frame. A lead-off walk eventually led to the tying run as catcher Jamie Dotson drove a bloop single into centerfield for the RBI. The next batter was Amegin, who ended the game with a single of her own.

The walk was Heather Booth’s eighth (one intentional) of the game – an unusually high number for the recent Big East pitcher of the week. The senior, who threw her fifteenth complete game of the year, normally averages less than one free pass per seven innings.

The other major problem Notre Dame encountered at Sharon J. Drysdale Field was driving in runs. The Irish stranded nine base runners throughout the contest and at least one in every inning except for the first.

“We were definitely capable of hitting [Northwestern pitcher Eileen Canney], we just need to be a little more disciplined against the better pitching,” Irish catcher Mallorie Lenn said.

The team was able to consistently get to Canney, but faltered with runners in scoring position. Canney gave up six hits and two walks but was able to hold Notre Dame to two unearned runs in her six and 1/3 innings of work.

Courtnay Foster came in to silence the Irish in the seventh and was awarded the win bringing her record to 16-5 on the season.

The two runs Notre Dame did manage to scratch across came with two down in the third inning. Stephanie Brown reached on an error by shortstop Tammy Williams. She scored on the next play as Sara Schoonaert drove a single into centerfield for the Irish. Lenn was up next and came through with an RBI double that gave the team an early 2-0 lead.

The quick start looked promising until the sixth inning when All-American Garland Cooper hit a solo shot to rightfield to put the Wildcats within one. Cooper went one-for-one on the day raising her batting average to .398. Booth pitched around Cooper throughout the game walking her twice early and a third time intentionally in the seventh.

The Irish return to Ivy Field to take on Toledo today at 5 p.m.. The Rockets (12-28) are also coming off of a tough 3-2 last inning loss to Ball State on Easter Sunday. Freshman Brittany Bargar will take the hill for Notre Dame who will be chasing after its 27th win of the season in another non-conference battle.

“We know what we are capable of doing and I definitely think we will be able to bounce back tomorrow,” Lenn said.