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Softball: Luck runs out in Las Vegas

Dan Murphy | Monday, February 20, 2006

The Irish got off to a slow start this weekend by dropping three out of five games in the UNLV Desert Classic. The team played doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday and finished the trip with an early game Sunday morning against Cal State Fullerton.

“The trip did not go exactly as planned, because we walk into every contest expecting to win,” senior pitcher Heather Booth said. “However, we did learn a lot about ourselves as a team.”

Friday’s first game was a 5-4 loss to Colorado State.

Rams’ pitcher Kim Klabough was only three outs away from throwing a no-hitter until the Irish bats woke up in the seventh inning. Freshman Linda Kohen brought the Irish within one with a three-run home run in her first career game. The shot was the first of three that she hit while in Vegas.

Despite coming up short, Notre Dame was able to take momentum and a little more confidence into the second game of the day against BYU. Mallorie Lenn had the big hit for the Irish in the contest with a grand slam in the sixth inning that gave them an 8-3 win.

Brittney Bargar earned the win in her pitching debut, going 4 1/3 innings and giving up only two runs on three hits.

“I think that Bargar did a great job handling her first weekend out as a freshman,” Booth said. “She is a fighter and worked hard out there.”

Bargar did not wait long for an encore performance against the host Rebels of UNLV. The win came only a few hours after being shut out by a strong Oregon State team, 5-0.

Just like the day before, the Irish were able to bounce back, beating UNLV 6-4. Notre Dame jumped out to an early lead with a five-run third inning. Kohen (2-for-3) added another with a homer down the right field line in the fourth, and Booth came in to close the door as the Irish evened their record at 2-2.

The seesaw weekend concluded with a 9-3 loss to Cal State Fullerton. The Titans used the long ball – eight of their nine runs came on home runs – to pull away early, as well as fight off any comeback from the Irish. Ashlee Van Boxmeer hit two of the shots, while Jenna Wheeler added a third to seal the Titan victory in the fifth inning.

The one bright spot for Notre Dame in the game was Kenya Fuemmeler, who gave up only one run after coming in to pitch the final three innings.

Team members were in relatively good spirits following the tough stretch, focusing on their potential for a successful year. The Irish will try to make a few changes before heading to Miami next weekend for a similar tournament hosted by Florida International.

“We have a lot to improve on but are by no means deflated after the weekend. We realize it’s not about where we start, but where we finish,” Booth said