May 12, 2005
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - On Thursday evening in the second game of the 2005 Big East Softball Championship, the No. 1 seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish shutout the fourth seeded Villanova Wildcats, 3-0, at the Belleville Softball Complex. The loss drops Villanova to 38-24 overall while Notre Dame improves to 43-11. Villanova will now face No. 3 seeded Syracuse on Friday at 5 p.m. to try and avoid elimination. Syracuse (27-21) fell to No. 2 Seton Hall (31-13), 3-2, in the first game of the evening.
The Irish struck early in the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back doubles. Senior Megan Ciolli hit a two-out double into right field to get Notre Dame in scoring position and then junior Meagan Ruthrauff followed with an RBI-double to give the Irish an early 1-0 lead.
In the top of the second, senior left fielder Krissy Yauch (Tucson, Ariz.) drew a two-out walk to become Villanova's first base runner, but was then caught stealing to bring the inning to a close.
In the bottom of the second, senior Liz Hartmann hit a two-out double into right field for the Irish to keep the inning alive. Freshman Sarah Smith pinch ran for Hartmann and scored on an RBI-single from junior Sara Schoonaert, who advanced to second on the throw home. Sophomore Stephanie Brown then drew a walk before Kellie Middleton lined out to senior third baseman Sarah Wall (Hollywood, Fla.), who made a quick catch to end the inning. At the end of the inning, however, Notre Dame had increased its lead to two runs.
Schoonert led off the fifth with a walk before Brown sacrificed to advance her to second, but was thrown out at third on a fielders' choice, which allowed Middleton to reach first safely. Middleton would then steal second. Ciolli then lined a base hit to center for an RBI-single to put Notre Dame up, 3-0.
Senior pitcher Shannon Williams (Macungie, Pa.) threw five complete innings allowing three runs and five hits while striking out one. Senior Kristen Haynes (Fairfax, Calif.) came in relief in the bottom of the sixth inning.
In the sixth, freshman Katie Laing lined a single up the third base line before Nicole Wicks came in to pinch run for her. Wicks advanced to second on a wild pitch. Pinch hitter Carissa Jaquish was then hit by a pitch for a free pass to first. Both runners advanced a base on another wild pitch to place runners at second and third. Haynes struck out Hartmann for the second out before Schoonert grounded out to end the inning and Villanova was able to keep Notre Dame from increasing its lead.
In the top of the seventh, senior Lisa Krueger (Mission Viejo, Calif.) got the team's first hit when she lined a single into center field. But it proved to be the only one Villanova would have and Irish hurler Steffany Stenglein finished with a complete game shutout.
Notre Dame will face Seton Hall on Friday at 3 p.m. before the Villanova-Syracuse game at 5 p.m. At 7 p.m. the loser of the Irish/Hall game will face the winner of the `Nova/Syracuse game to determine the match up for Saturday's championship.