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ND SOFTBALL: Home season opens with 2-1 Irish victory

Justin Schuver | Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Carrie Wisen showed she can win games with her bat as well as with her arm.

With the Irish down to their final two outs and behind 1-0 against Western Michigan, Wisen knocked home a two-RBI double to give Notre Dame (14-8) a thrilling come-from-behind victory in its home opener Friday.

“That was an interesting game. I think we made it more interesting than it should have been,” Irish coach Deanna Gumpf said. “[Wisen] has really stepped up with the bat this year. She hits the ball right on the nose.”

Wisen, who has made several appearances this season as a relief pitcher, helped take advantage of a two-base error earlier in the inning.

Bronco starter Tricia Vanderslik led off the bottom of the seventh inning by retiring Meghan Ruthrauff on a ground ball. Katie Laing reached on base with a single to right field to start Notre Dame’s one-out rally.

Liz Hartmann followed Laing and hit a ground ball up the middle that was fumbled by Western Michigan shortstop Danielle Daughtry. The ball skipped away into centerfield, and both runners moved up a base on the play.

Pinch runner Nicole Wicks replaced Hartmann at second base, and both Wicks and Laing came around to score after Wisen drilled a line-drive double down the left field line that just stayed fair – landing on the chalk line and rolling into the corner.

Wisen’s walk-off double spoiled an impressive pitching performance for Vanderslik, who had retired 10 consecutive batters before Laing’s single in the seventh. Vanderslik only allowed four hits to the Irish, striking out two batters.

“[Vanderslik] did a nice job of placing the ball and hitting her spots,” Gumpf said. “Early in the game, we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities and would hit it right at people.

“But she had a good changeup working and really did a nice job of keeping us off balance.”

Steffany Stenglein pitched the first three innings of the game for the Irish, allowing one run and three hits before being replaced by Heather Booth. Booth entered the game and shut down the Broncos the rest of the way, allowing just two hits in her four innings of work.

“[Stenglein] was giving up more hits than she usually does and was getting called for some debatable illegal pitches, so I wanted to do something to change up the momentum,” Gumpf said.

Western Michigan took a one-run lead in the top of the third inning, with Amy Fleming leading off with a double to right field. Fleming was replaced by pinch runner Corey Andrezjewski, who advanced to third on an illegal pitch by Stenglein and came around to score on Connie Kolokithas’ one-out RBI single.

Stenglein worked out of the inning with no further damage, striking out Daughtry and getting Vanderslik to ground out to third.

Notre Dame will be back in action today with a doubleheader at Ivy Field against Valparaiso.

“I want to see us go out and dominate somebody,” Gumpf said of the doubleheader. “We need to go out there and get after it early and not let up. I want to see us make things happen.”