Wildcats Swept by Notre Dame to Open Conference Play
April 4, 2005
VILLANOVA, Pa. - In the conference opener for both teams, the Wildcats kept up with the visiting Fighting Irish on the pitching end, but could not match up offensively, falling in both games of a doubleheader by scores of 4-0 and 2-0. Villanova (19-13, 0-2 Big East) was limited to a combined five hits in the two games by Notre Dame (19-8, 2-0 BE). The teams had originally been scheduled to play on Sunday, but heavy rains all day Saturday forced a postponement to Monday afternoon.
In the opening game, the Fighting Irish plated two unearned runs in the top of the second inning, giving starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein all the support she would need. Notre Dame added single runs in the fourth and sixth, and Stenglein pitched a two-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts. Senior left fielder Krissy Yauch (Tucson, Ariz.) had both Wildcat hits in the opening game, producing two singles.
Villanova's best scoring chance came in the third inning, when senior catcher Veronica Alvarez (Miami, Fla.) and freshman second baseman Jackie Dempsey (Lexington, Mass.) each drew walks. Yauch sandwiched a single to left field in between the two walks, and Dempsey's free pass gave the Wildcats a bases-loaded, two-out opportunity. Stenglein, however, induced an infield fly in foul territory to get out of the inning, and Villanova managed just one base runner in their final four innings.
Senior starting pitcher Kristen Haynes (Fairfax, Calif.) dropped to 10-6 on the season with the loss. She pitched the first 3 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and three runs, of which only one was earned. Haynes walked none and struck out five before yielding to freshman reliever Kat Walsh (Los Angeles, Calif.). Walsh struck out five and allowed an earned run on three hits in the final 3 1/3 innings.
The nightcap turned into a pitching duel between the Wildcats' Shannon Williams (Macungie, Pa.) and Notre Dame's Heather Booth. Both hurlers went the distance for their respective teams, but Booth had the edge, pitching a three-hitter and striking out five. Williams scattered seven hits and allowed two earned runs, while walking two and striking out eight.
Sophomore shortstop Sheri Donley (Orange, Calif.) was 2-for-3 in the game or Villanova, while sophomore catcher Cassie Koenig (Las Vegas, Nev.) was 1-for-3. The Wildcats saw only two runners get into scoring position in the game, as Koenig and Donley led off the home fifth with consecutive singles. However, a strikeout and two subsequent groundouts got Booth out of the inning, and she wound up setting down the final nine batters she faced.
Throughout both games, the Fighting Irish created scoring opportunities by executing their running game to get players into scoring position. Notre Dame was successful on all nine of its steal attempts in the two games, including 5-for-5 in the opener.
Because of the rescheduled date, the Wildcats will have almost no break before returning to the field. On Tuesday afternoon, Villanova plays a non-conference doubleheader at Drexel. The first game is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m.