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Softball: Two extra innings losses lower team’s record to even 7-7

Jay Fitzpatrick | Monday, March 6, 2006

The Irish continued their season with a disappointing performance in Tulsa, Okla., this weekend, losing three of five games played in the Best Western Airport Festival and dropping their record to 7-7.

Notre Dame lost its first game against No. 17 Nebraska, 5-3, in eight innings Friday. Despite leading into the seventh inning, the Irish, behind pitcher Heather Booth, gave up a crucial sacrifice fly to pinch hitter Brittany Pascale in the top of the seventh. Notre Dame was unable to post the winning run in the bottom of the seventh, and the game moved to extra innings.

Although Booth was able to get the first two outs of the inning, a misplayed ground ball by third baseman Linda Kohan extended the Huskers’ eighth, giving them the one extra out needed to start a rally. Nebraska tacked on three unearned runs in the inning, and Notre Dame could not respond in the bottom half, adding only one run.

Notre Dame’s second game, a 2-1 loss to Tulsa, showed more frustration at the plate for the Irish. The squad was only 4-for-26 as a team and failed to record an extra base hit. Notre Dame’s only run came in the fourth, on an RBI single by shortstop Sara Schoonaert. But the Golden Hurricanes responded in the bottom of the fourth with RBIs by left fielder Brook Smart and catcher Leanne Pepper.

After the rally by Tulsa in the fourth, the Irish could not muster any offense, despite pitcher Brittany Bargar – now 3-2 on the year – holding Tulsa to only the two runs with nine strikeouts in the game.

The Irish bats awoke in the third game of the tournament, a 10-1 win over Northern Iowa in five innings. The pitching duties for the Irish were split by Bargar, who picked up the win, and Kenya Fuemmeler, who gave up the only run.

But Notre Dame’s real strength in this game was at the plate. The Irish hit .444 as a team, scoring 10 runs on eight hits. Cleanup hitter Meagan Ruthrauff led the offense with a three-run home run in the first to start the scoring.

Booth improved her record to 3-4 in Notre Dame’s fourth game, a 5-2 win against Kansas. Booth continued to pitch well, giving up five hits and striking out 10 batters in a complete game win.

The Irish opened the scoring in the fifth inning with a two-out rally that lead to four unearned runs. Although Notre Dame did provide its own hitting throughout the game, the team was able to take full advantage of the poorly-timed Jayhawk miscues, especially in the fifth.

The final game of the tournament for the Irish was a disappointing 2-1 loss to S.F. Austin in eight innings. The Irish hit the ball well throughout the game, but could never find that last hit to drive in any runs en route to stranding 12 runners on base. ohan, as the Irish dropped their second extra inning game over t

Although the three weekend losses are disappointing, the Irish are still 7-7 overall. Due to travel delays no members of the team could be reached for comment following the games.