March 16, 2007
FULLERTON, Calif.- Senior Gessica Hufnagle (Middlebury, Ind./Northridge) led Notre Dame's softball team (9-9) to 4-2 victory Fresno State (21-10) on the second day of the prestigious Judi Garman Classic on Friday, March 16 in Fullerton, Calif. at the Titan Softball Complex.
Fresno State got the offense going with a run in the first inning. Haley Perkins punched a single up the middle to start the game. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and took third on a ground out to pitcher. Perkins would come in to score the first run of the game on Kristin Sylvester's single up the middle.
The Irish tallied a run of their own in the first inning. Junior Katie Laing (Chandler, Ariz./Corona Del Sol) hit a single off the pitcher to start the frame and took second on the one-out sacrifice bunt from Heather Johnson (Los Alamitos, Calif./Mater Dei). Hufnagle broke the Notre Dame 11 2/3 scoreless streak with a blooping single down the right field line to score Laing.
The Bulldogs wasted a great opportunity in the third inning. Sylvester drove a one-out double off the centerfield wall. Maryann Barr followed with a single. Both runners moved up a base on fielder's choice from Robin Macklin, in which she also reached base. Senior hurler Kenya Fuemmeler (Salisbury, Mo./Salisbury) pitched out of the sticky situation inducing a pop out and ground out to the shortstop to keep the game tied.
Laing led another rally for the Irish in the third inning. She started the frame with a single to right and moved to second on the sacrifice bunt from sophomore Linda Kohan (Westminster, Calif./Westminster). A walk to Johnson would put runners on first and second. Laing would come in to score on the single up the middle from Hufnagle. Hufnagle and Johnson would move to second and third on the throw home. Junior Sarah Smith (Oklahoma City, Okla./Heritage Hall) pinch ran for Johnson and came in to score on wild pitch walk to Beth Northway (Kentwood, Mich./Kentwood). Hufnagle would continue to hustle on the walk and scored from second on the overthrow home by the Fresno State second baseman as Northway took second and then third.
Fuemmeler pitched out of another difficult situation in the fifth inning. Barr hit a one-out single to right field and moved to second on Macklin's walk, but both were stranded as the senior retired the next two batters on a fly out and strikeout.
The Bulldogs drew a run closer in the sixth inning. Perkins hit a one-out single to the shortstop. She moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a ground out. Sophomore Brittney Bargar (Corona, Calif./Corona), who was brought in relief to start the inning, induced what would have been an inning ending groundout to third, but the ball was thrown wide of the Irish first baseman and forced a collision at first, in which Perkins scampered home with the second Fresno State run.
The Irish would hold on for the 4-2 victory over an opponent that defeated No. 2/4 Arizona State earlier in the day. Fuemmeler (3-4) went the first five innings, scattering eight hits and one run with four strikeouts. Bargar pitched the last two innings for her first save of the season. Laing was two-for-three with two runs scored. Hufnagle had two hits and two RBI on the afternoon.
Fresno State stranded 13 runners on the day and outhit Notre Dame 10 to seven but also committed two costly errors.
Notre Dame continues its play in the Judi Garman Classic with a night game against No. 17/16 Louisiana-Lafayette on the second day, March 16.
Game Notes: Freshman Christine Lux (Glendale Heights, Ill./Glenbard West) picked her first hit of the season.