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ND SOFTBALL: Perfect league record gone with loss to Friars

Joe Meixell | Monday, April 16, 2007

Notre Dame’s perfect Big East record is history.

The Irish received their first blemish of the conference season Saturday when they split a road doubleheader at Providence College.

Notre Dame (20-14, 9-1 Big East) had run off nine straight victories before falling 9-0 to the Friars in the second half of the double dip this weekend.

After dropping the first game 10-1, the Friars jumped out to an early lead in the second game and never looked back.

Senior catcher Rachel Bartholomew got things started when she clubbed a pitch over the right field wall with runners on first and second. Bartholomew’s blast was the first of three home runs given up by the Irish pitching staff in the game.

No members of the team were available for comment following the game due to travel.

Senior Kenya Fuemmeler started the game for Notre Dame, but did not make it out of the second inning as freshman Jenna Garcia roped another three-run round-tripper with one out.

Sophomore Brittney Bargar came in to replace Fuemmeler and was able to keep the Friars’ bats at bay for three innings. However, they eventually caught up to her as well when another freshman, Christy Becker, put the final nail in the coffin with a home run of her own. The blast gave Providence a nine-run advantage and the game was called at that point due to the mercy rule.

Notre Dame 10, Providence 1

The first game was a completely different story as the Irish came up with their own five-inning mercy rule win.

Bargar threw all five, holding the Friars to one earned run on only four hits. The sophomore ace also picked up four more strikeouts in the contest.

Her battery mate, senior catcher Gessica Hufnagle stole the show with a run scored and six RBIs – three of the six came on a home run in the top of the fourth inning. The inning started with two infield hits from sophomore Beth Norway and senior Stephanie Brown. Norway led off the inning with a bunt down the third base line and moved to third on Brown’s single. The blast gave the Irish a 6-0 lead and they never looked back from there

Notre Dame tacked on four more in the next frame, and, once again, Hufnagle led the way. The senior came to the plate with the bases loaded and ripped a bases-clearing double into the gap to bring the margin to double digits.

Providence was able to put a small dent in the lead in the bottom half of the fifth when they scratched across one run, but it was too little, too late for the Friars. Garcia picked up the RBI on a single to right field which scored senior outfielder Katie Ross.

Notre Dame was scheduled to play another Big East doubleheader against Connecticut Sunday afternoon but both games were postponed due to inclement weather in the Constitution State. The extra day off may bei beneficial for the Irish, who will play four games in a three-day stretch starting next Tuesday when they take on Western Michigan in a doubleheader at home.