March 28, 1998
Notre Dame Splits Doubleheader with Rutgers
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Notre Dame's softball team opened its 1998 BIG EAST schedule with a doubleheader split at Rutgers on Saturday. The Irish rallied from four runs down for a 5-4 win in game while before falling 9-2 in game two. Senior Kelly Nichols pitched the seventh inning of game one to record her 20th career save to become the all-time NCAA career saves leader breaking the record of 19 previously held by Cal Poly Pomona's Lori Thompson from 1987-89.
The Irish put Nichols in a save position with a run in the sixth inning and four runs in the top of the seventh. Sarah Mathison led off the sixth with a single and scored on a single by Tara King. In the seventh, Jenn Giampaolo doubled, Amy Laboe singled and Melanie Alkire singled to drive home Giampaolo. Mathison singled again followed by a Rutgers error that allowed Laboe to score. King drove in Dawn Cunningham who pich ran for Alkire. Kris McCleary completed the come back by driving in Mathison for the winning run.
Jennifer Sharron picked up the win as she went six innings, allowing just two earned runs. Nichols allowed two hits to open the seventh before a strikeout, a fly ball and a ground ball gave Notre Dame the win and Nichols the NCAA saves record.
In game two, Rutgers scored in every inning but the first and ran away with a 9-2 win. Angie Catalano, Kelly Crosson and Debbie DeJong each drove in a pair of runs for the Lady Knights. McCleary and Lemire each had an RBI as McCleary and Giampaolo scored for the Irish.
Notre Dame's record goes to 12-15, 1-1 in the BIG EAST while Rutgers is now 8-5, 3-2 in BIG EAST games. The two teams will wrap up the three-game series with a single game on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.