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ND SOFTBALL: Weather poses problems

Thomas Barr | Thursday, April 14, 2005

Rain, rain, go away.Entering today’s contest against the University of Illinois Chicago (28-19) on the heels of yet another cancellation due to inclement weather, the Irish are just hoping to get this one in. Thus far this season, 12 regular season games and the seed play of a tournament have been postponed or cancelled due to unplayable weather conditions.”We have faced a lot of adversity from the weather this season,” coach Deanna Gumpf said. “It could affect [us], but we cannot let it. We just remember that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it and take it in stride.”The Irish travel to Chicago for today’s game against the UIC Flames. Illinois Chicago has faltered of late, winning only two of its last five games. Like the Irish, the Flames also lost their last scheduled game to rain.Senior Steffany Stenglein is scheduled to start today’s game and hopes to add to her ten wins and team-leading 141 strikeouts. Junior Heather Booth is likely to come in for relief. Booth currently boasts a 13-4 record with a 1.10 ERA.The Irish hope to slow down Flames star outfielder Cameron Astiazaran. Cameron is third in the nation in slugging percentage at .895, eighth in batting average, hitting at a .477 clip, and second in doubles with 23.”Astiazaran is really a stud player,” Gumpf said. “Basically, we need to get her to swing at bad pitches. We need her to swing at our pitchers’ best pitches and keep it out of her power zone.”The Irish respect the abilities of the whole Flames team and are not focusing only on their star. “They are scrappy, one of the scrappiest teams out there,” Gumpf said. “They can flat out hit. They are mistake hitters, and if you make a mistake, they can make you pay.”Due to lack of games in recent days, Gumpf believes the recent efforts of Liz Hartmann, Stephanie Brown and Sara Schoonaert deserve special recognition.”Liz Hartmann has really been on a roll”, Gumpf said. “Stephanie has definitely stepped as leadoff hitter, and Sara Schoonaert has been hitting exceptionally [well] the last few games.”In fact, in Schoonaert’s last four games, she has gone 7-for-11 with three RBI and a run. The streak has upped her season batting average more than 60 points to .283.Today’s first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Flames Field.