May 17, 2009
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - No. 7 Michigan got out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth and to keep the 25th-ranked Notre Dame softball team off the board en route to handing the Irish a 4-0 loss Sunday at the Wilpon Softball Complex. The Irish were eliminated from the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional after the defeat and finished the season with a 43-17 record.
Michigan (44-10) now advances to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Bree Evans, who drove in the winning run against the Irish yesterday with a single to left field, started the game with an infield single. The Wolverines would leave a runner stranded as the infield copped a pair of grounders and Roya St. Clair never took the bat off her shoulder which allowed Brittney Bargar (24-12) to record her first strikeout of the day.
Nikki Nemitz (26-5) retired the Irish in order on four pitches in the bottom of the first.
The Irish defense held in the second as Heather Johnson retired Maggie Viefhaus by diving to snag a grounder then throwing the third baseman out from her knees. A single up the middle by Nemitz came prior to Christine Lux racking a pair of putouts at first base to end the stanza.
Viefhaus reached first with a single in the fourth and stole second one play later. However, Marrone made an athletic effort to rob Nemitz of an RBI-single for the final out.
Linda Kohan put down a single in the home half of the fourth to the left field gap and was replaced on first by Christine Farrell. Johnson's attempted sacrifice turned into a Michigan 3-6-4 double play as the game would remain scoreless.
Bargar kept the ball in the infield throughout the fifth as Kohan and Katie Fleury flashed the leather to down the Wolverines in order.
Dani Miller doubled off the top of the center field wall to crack open the fifth for Notre Dame, literally mere inches short of scoring the first run of the game. Fleury moved pinch-runner Kasey O'Connor 60-feet from home with a sacrifice. Michigan survived the scoring threat with a pair of outs.
Slicing a single down the left field line in the sixth was Evans who went to third after two Michigan infield grounders. St. Clair went fishing and sent Bargar's 2-2 offering to right to give the Wolverines their fifth hit and a 1-0 lead.
The first walk of the afternoon issued by either pitcher was drawn by Northway with one out in the sixth. Nemitz was then pulled in favor of Jordan Taylor after giving up three hits and striking out four Irish batters. After Taylor struck out Kohan, Johnson drilled a single to right-center that helped Northway sprint into scoring position as runners stood on the corners for Lux, who was walked to load the bases. Miller was fanned on an off-speed delivery by Taylor.
Nemitz helped her cause with a seventh-inning home run off the right field foul pole. Ewing added her first postseason hit with a bloop single to right and stole a base on the next pitch. She would come home on Evans' double to the warning track in center. Angela Findlay and Evans traded places after a line shot through the left side of the infield which boosted Michigan ahead, 4-0.
A pair of Irish base runners made their way onto the pond with one out in the final period when Marrone was walked and Alexia Clay singled off the glove of Viefhaus. Taylor struck out Jorgensborg with a high 3-2 inside pitch and Northway grounded out to end the game.
Taylor earned her fourth save of the season after tossing 1.2 innings, giving up two hits with five strikeouts. The win went to Nemitz after she got through 5.1 innings of three-hit ball with one walk and four strikeouts.
Bargar lasted 6.2 frames after surrendering nine hits and four earned runs in her final outing with Notre Dame.
Evans finished 3-for-4 with two runs and one RBI as Nemitz added two hits from the dish for Michigan.