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    Fighting Irish
    Feb. 20, 1998

    Notre Dame Softball Falls to 10th-Ranked South Florida in Season Opener

    Irish bounce back to beat Kansas

    TAMPA, Fla. - Notre Dame's softball team opened its 1998 season with a tight 3-1 loss to 10th-ranked and host South Florida in its first game of the Gladstones Tournament and rebounded in the second game for a 7-2 win over ninth-ranked Kansas. The Irish, losers of their third straight season-opening game since a win over Michigan to start 1995, stand third in the five-team pool with a 1-1 record. South Florida and DePaul are both 2-0 while Kansas and Auburn are both 0-2. The Irish will face Auburn and 24th-ranked DePaul on Saturday to conclude the round robin portion of the tournament before bracket play begins on Sunday.

    South Florida scored three runs in the fourth inning on two walks and three singles. The Irish, who left seven runners stranded in the game, attempted to rally in the bottom of the seventh when freshman Lizzy Lemire doubled with one out, went to third on a ground out and scored on an RBI single by Jenn Giampaolo before a strikeout ended the game for the Notre Dame.

    Junior Angela Bessolo started and pitched three innings, allowing just one hit but walked seven. Freshman Jennifer Sharron relieved Bessolo but allowed three runs on hits and a walk in her first collegiate inning pitched to suffer the loss. Sharron then settled down, allowing just two hits and one batter over the minimum over the last three innings. Seniors Kelly Rowe and Giampaolo led the Irish offensively with a pair of hits each.

    Against the Jayhawks, Notre Dame scored three runs in both the first and sixth innings for a 7-2 win. Kelly Nichols pitched five two-hit, scoreless innings for the Irish. Giampaolo and Alkire walked in the first inning and scored on a single by McCleary, who scored on two Kansas errors. Amy Laboe smacked a two-run single in the sixth and scored on a single by Nichols for a 6-0 lead. Giampaolo singled and scored on a triple by Tara King in the seventh. Alkire pitched the final two innings, allowing two runs on four hits in her first collegiate outing.

    South Florida   000 300 0   3  6  1
    Notre Dame      000 000 1   1  7  0
    WP-Jennifer Thomson 2-1. 
    LP-Jennifer  Sharron 0-1.  
    Save-Triner (2).
    Thompson, Triner (7) and Smith and Holler.  
    Bessolo, Sharron (4) and McCleary.
    2B-Lemire, ND.
    
    Notre Dame   300   003   1   7  7  0
    Kansas       000   001   1   2  5  4
    WP-Kelly Nichols 1-0.
    LP-Christy McPhail 4-2.
    Nichols, Alkire (5) and McCleary.
    McPhail and Johnson.
    3B-King, ND, Johnson, KU.
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