Feb. 13, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf started her coaching career against the nation's top team in No. 1 Arizona eight years ago, and found herself in a similar spot Friday at top-ranked Alabama. The Irish stood up to the challenge early but eventually dropped the 2009 season opener to the Crimson Tide, 10-1, in the abbreviated five-inning game on a wet and overcast evening at the University of Alabama Softball Complex.
Notre Dame (0-1) takes on East Carolina (11:00 a.m.) and will face Alabama (1:00 p.m.) Saturday to continue the three-day Bama Bash.
The Irish came within striking distance early as Sadie Pitzenberger was hit by a Kelsi Dunne (2-0) pitch to start the game. That was followed by a fielder's choice from Linda Kohan which produced the first of two consecutive outs for the Crimson Tide (5-0) defense. Heather Johnson and Christine Lux drew walks to load the bases for Alexia Clay, who rifled a shot to shortstop Kellie Eubanks that was mishandled to force in a run.
Alabama neutralized the 1-0 deficit when Charlotte Morgan knocked a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the first that scored Kelley Montalvo. The Crimson Tided posted four more runs in the second courtesy of a Whitney Larsen triple and a Cassandra Reilly-Boccia double that accounted for each of the scores.
The first Irish hit of the contest came in the fourth inning, a single down the left field line by Heather Johnson from the leadoff spot.
Four more hits accounted for four fourth-inning Alabama runs, capped off by Amanda Locke's two-run homer.
Pitzenberger added a single up the middle in the top of the fifth.
Reilly-Boccia finished 1-for-2 with three RBI and Amanda Locke scored twice for Alabama.
Irish hurler Brittney Bargar (0-1) tossed 4.0 innings of six-hit ball while allowing five earned runs. Dunne got the win with the two-hit effort.
The two teams combined for three errors and each left four runners on base. Alabama stole five bases in as many attempts.