Northwestern 4, Notre Dame 3
Northwestern 4, Notre Dame 3May 22, 2005
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Revenge is a dish best served in the NCAA Tournament. After falling in its first two meetings with Notre Dame -- including earlier in the Ninth Regional -- Northwestern fought back to sweep the Irish on championship Sunday, winning the second game, 4-3, to advance to the Super Regional.
With the win, Northwestern improves to 42-16 overall, 19-16 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame closes its season with a 46-15 record.
Northwestern advances to the Super Regional to face Eighth Regional champion DePaul. The Blue Demons upset No. 8 seed Oregon State, winning the final game of that Region, 8-6.
After the Wildcats opened the Regional with a 6-1 win over the University at Albany, Notre Dame sent NU to the loser's bracket by a 3-2 score. Northwestern clawed its way out of the consolation final, 8-2, against Louisville, before winning both game one, 4-1, and game two Sunday against the Irish.
"Today alone to come through the loser's bracket like we did and beat a very, very good Notre Dame team is great for our program," NU head coach Kate Drohan said. "It is exciting to see us take this next step. We will enjoy these wins today and are excited to face a Chicago opponent next weekend."
Just like the first game, Notre Dame scored first with a single run in the first. Stephanie Brown again led off with a double and moved over on a sacrifice. After Northwestern starter Courtnay Foster (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) coaxed a foul out, Meagan Ruthrauff hit a single with eyes through the left side to put the Irish up, 1-0.
The Northwestern response came in the third inning. Sophomore Katie Logan (Tempe, Ariz./Corona del Sol), who was batting a team-best .455 with a .538 on-base percentage in the NCAA Regional from the nine spot in the lineup entering Sunday's second game, drew a leadoff walk.
With her plate set, leadoff batter Stephanie Churchwell (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) cleaned up. The shortstop launched her ninth home run of the season over the fence in left-center field to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
"This is great for our school," Logan said. "It has been a while since our team went this far and it is exciting to be staying near home for the next round. We hope a lot of our friends and fans will be able to come out and see us play."
Notre Dame was a feisty bunch throughout the contest, putting runners on base in each of the first four innings. Foster pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning with a fly ball to Logan in left field, and in the fourth, catcher Jamie Dotson (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) gunned down Sara Schoonaert trying to steal second to end the frame.
In the fourth, the bottom of the Northwestern lineup came through again as it had so many times before in the Regional. Freshman Darcy Sengewald (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln Way East) hit a deep fly ball to right with one out, and Brown lost it in the sun and the breeze, dropping it for a three-base error.
Logan then fouled off several pitches and drew a full-count walk before stealing second base. Senior Erin Mobley (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) stepped to the plate and laced a two-out double down the right field line to score Sengewald and Logan and extend NU's lead to 4-1.
The hit was the 214th of Mobley's career, bringing her to within one of Northwestern's all-time hits record.
In the top of the fifth inning, Notre Dame's first two batters reached on an error and a walk. Sophomore Eileen Canney (Paradise, Calif./Paradise) entered the game to relieve Foster.
Canney got a fielder's choice groundout for the first out of the inning. With runners on first and third, Carrie Wisen hit a sacrifice fly into center field to bring home the runner on third and cut NU's advantage to two, 4-2. Canney whiffed the final batter of the inning to end ND's threat.
The Irish continued their comeback in the top of the sixth. Mallorie Lenn lead off with a home run to center field to cut the Wildcat lead to just one, 4-3. After a single followed the home run, Notre Dame had a runner on third with two outs, but Canney got Kellie Middleton to ground out to short to again preserve NU's lead.
The Wildcats went quietly in the bottom of the sixth, setting the stage for yet another seventh-inning showdown between Northwestern and Notre Dame.
Canney got Megan Ciolli to ground out to third for the first out of the inning, then Meagan Ruthrauff singled to second base. With a runner on, Canney struck out Wisen for the second out of the inning.
The next Irish batter hit a slow roller toward the middle that freshman Kelly Odell (Portland, Ore./Westview) was able to get to, but her throw to second arrived too late to nail Wisen. The next batter drew a full-count walk to load the bases.
In the teams' first meeting of the Regional, Northwestern fell by one run to the Irish after a flyout with the bases loaded in the seventh ended the game. In this game, Canney got Liz Hartmann to ground out to Churchwell at short to end the game and secure Northwestern's first trip to a best-two-out-three NCAA Tournament series since 1987.
Foster earned the win to up her record to 22-7 on the year. Canney earned her second save of the year.
Stenglein took the loss for Notre Dame, falling to 21-7 on the year.
-- Courtesy Northwestern
Northwestern Head Coach Kate Drohan
On toadys game &
Today with our ability to come through the losers bracket and win two games and see our program take the next step. We are excited about beating a good Notre Dame team and now we have the ability to play near home against DePaul.
Mobley had a really good hit.. She turned over on the ball and she was one of my first players and to see her get a hit like that today was great for her and myself because she was a freshman my first year and together it was a great day for her.
On getting a win today &
We are two wins away from the World Series; I can not stress enough about how we won two today and coming out of the losers bracket and beating a great Notre Dame team.
Northwestern Outfielder Katie Logan
On playing in the game today &
I was just trying o do my job regardless of how important this game was. I was not really nervous at all, we have been in situation like that before, but I felt that everyone was pumped and that we were not going to give up that easy this time.
Northwestern Infielder Stephanie Churchwell
On getting the last out of the game &
I was a little scared that it took a funny hop, but it was great to make the play.
On hitting the home run today &
Before the at bat, I was focusing on how she pitched my before, and I tried to guess and it worked out
Notre Dame Head Coach Deanna Gumpf
On the defense in todays games &
Defense hurt us a little bit today. IN the first game we made a few mistakes and it cost us. They (Northwestern) did a great job of taking care of business when we made mistakes.
On this season &
Many people counted us out early, but this team fought early, they are fighters, I would take this team anywhere.
Talking to the team after the game &
I talked to the seniors about how great they were and how they lead my example, the seniors taught this team how to fight especially the younger players. It was a fun ride, a fun year, and it did not end the way it could have or should have but it was a great season.
-- Courtesy Notre Dame