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Irish rebound to split doubleheader with Broncos

Justin Schuver | Friday, April 2, 2004

After seeing its eight-game winning streak come to an end, Notre Dame came right back to start a new one.The Irish (24-10) dropped the first game of a doubleheader against Western Michigan by the score of 2-0, before coming back to earn the split with a 5-1 victory in the second game. It was Notre Dame’s last non-conference matchup before heading into Big East play this afternoon against Connecticut. The Irish bats went cold in the first game, as the team could only manage one hit off Bronco starter Laura Stewart.Stewart pitched a no-hitter against Oakland Tuesday, and nearly had her second consecutive no-hitter before Notre Dame’s Sara Schoonaert doubled in the third inning for the only Irish hit of the game.”Stewart did a really nice job against us, but we helped her out a lot too,” Irish coach Deanna Gumpf said. “We just weren’t patient hitters and weren’t good situational hitters at all.”Heather Booth, who allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings, took the loss.The Irish came back with a vengeance in game two, scoring four runs in the first inning against Western Michigan’s Jaymie Voss.Stefanie Brown and Nicole deFau started the game off with consecutive singles, and Megan Ciolli advanced both runners with a groundout in front of the catcher. Meghan Ruthrauff loaded the bases on a fielder’s choice, and Mallorie Lenn followed with a single that plated two runs.Lenn advanced to second and Ruthrauff to third on the throw, and Liz Hartmann followed with a walk to load the bases once more. Schoonaert followed with a single that plated two more runs to give the Irish a 4-0 lead. Steffany Stenglein struck out and Gessica Hufnagle grounded out to shortstop to end the top of the first.”That’s the way we need to play every game,” Gumpf said. “We came ready to play in the second game and that’s what we’re capable of every time. We were flat and not ready to play in that first game.”Western Michigan’s Kristi Strange collected an RBI double in the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Hartmann connected on a solo home run in the sixth inning to finish the scoring for the Irish. Stenglein collected the complete-game victory, allowing four hits while striking out six.Notre Dame will face Connecticut (13-12, 1-1 in the Big East) today in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m., and takes on Boston College (19-12, 1-1) Sunday in a two-game series beginning at 11 a.m. “The bottom line about [Thursday] is that I’m glad we’ve got some momentum going into [today’s] game [against Connecticut],” Gumpf said. “Now we just need to start thinking about UConn. That’s all that really matters now, is trying to beat UConn.”