April 18, 1998
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame's softball team used a two-hit shutout by freshman Jennifer Sharron in the first game and a 13-hit attack in the second game to sweep a BIG EAST doubleheader against Connecticut by 4-0 and 7-2 scores on Saturday at Ivy Field. The Irish improve to 25-18, 8-3 in the BIG EAST and extend their winning streak to eight games while the Huskies fall to 19-17-1, 5-7 and have lost seven straight games.
Sharron threw her fifth straight complete game and third complete game shut out in six BIG EAST starts. Jessica Yanosy doubled in the first inning and Ann Gunderson singled in the third inning for the Huskies' only hits off Sharron. Sharron faced just four batters over the seven-inning minimum and held Connecticut hitters to 0-14 in the final four and two-thirds innings. She improved to 11-6, 4-1 in the BIG EAST with the win. Gunderson went five innings and allowed three runs on five hits and four walks to fall to 7-8.
Jenn Giampaolo scored the only run the Irish would need in the first inning when she singled, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single by Lizzy Lemire. Lemire made it 2-0 in the fourth when she led off with a double, went to third on a sacrifice and scored on an RBI single by Danielle Klayman. The Irish went up 3-0 in the fifth when Amy Laboe walked, went to second on an error and scored on a double by Sarah Mathison. Kelly Rowe singled and scored on a triple by Giampaolo for a 4-0 lead after six innings.
In the second game, Notre Dame jumped out to a 2-0 lead after three innings before Connecticut knotted the score at 2-2. Mathison singled in the first inning to score Laboe who reached on an error. Kris McCleary singled to score pinch runner Korrie Allen for a 2-0 lead after three innings. Notre Dame missed chance to add to their lead by leaving the bases loaded in both the first and third innings.
Connecticut rallied to score two runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Jamine Blesoff and a base-loaded walk to Alison Hirsch. The Irish took advantage of two errors and two walks to score four runs on just three hits in the fourth inning to take a 6-2 lead. Giampaolo scored on a balk in the fifth inning for the final 7-2 margin.
Melanie Alkire threw five innings to improve to 5-1 on the season. She allowed Connecticut two runs on four hits and walked just one. Kelly Nichols, the NCAA all-time saves leader with 22 career saves, pitched the final two innings in a non-save situation to close out the game. Megan Biddle went three and a third innings, gave up nine hits and six runs to fall to 7-4. Cameron allowed one run on four hits as she pitched the final two and two-third innings of the game. Notre Dame's 13 hits matched Rutgers for the most hits allowed by the Huskies this season.
Notre Dame and Villanova, which swept St. John's on Saturday, remain tied for first place in the BIG EAST South Division with 8-3 records. The Irish can take sole possession of first place on Sunday over the idle Wildcats with two wins against St. John's. Connecticut, which eliminated Notre Dame at each of the last two BIG EAST championships, may have been eliminated by the Irish from qualifying for its ninth consecutive BIG EAST championship. At 5-7, the Huskies, who have reached the championship game every year since the first BIG EAST championship in 1990, have just three BIG EAST games left and have been swept by both Rutgers (8-5 in BIG EAST) and Notre Dame. Villanova has just three BIG EAST games remaining, a three-game series at Notre Dame April 25-26. Boston College is in first place in the BIG EAST North Division with an 8-2-1 record. The Irish play host to the four-team BIG EAST championship May 2-3.
Game One Connecticut 000 000 0 0-2-1 Notre Dame 100 111 x 4-7-1
Ann Gunderson (LP 7-8), Jill Cameron (6) and Erin Layton and Jamine Blesoff (5). Jennifer Sharron (WP 10-6) and Kris McCleary. 2B- Jessica Yanosy (UC), Sarah Mathison (ND), Lizzy Lemire (ND). 3B- Jenn Giampaolo (ND).
Game Two Connecticut 000 200 0 2-5-3 Notre Dame 101 410 x 7-13-1
Megan Biddle (LP 7-4), Jill Cameron (4) and Jamine Blesoff. Melanie Alkire (WP 5-1) and Kris McCleary. 2B- Abbie Link (UC), Amy Laboe (ND).