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    Notre Dame Escapes Wildcats, 3-2

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Sophomore Megan Hinck notched her second-pinch hit single of the season in the seventh inning Saturday against Notre Dame to help stoke NU's comeback attempt.
    Sophomore Megan Hinck notched her second-pinch hit single of the season in the seventh inning Saturday against Notre Dame to help stoke NU's comeback attempt.

    May 21, 2005

    Box Score

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- No. 9 seed Northwestern hit a temporary roadblock in its quest for a regional championship Saturday afternoon, falling to Notre Dame, 3-2, at the Irish's Ivy Field.

    Northwestern's overall record falls to 39-16 with the loss, while Notre Dame improves to 46-13. The Wildcats join seeded teams California and Oregon State as top-10 seeds to fall into the consolation bracket at their respective regionals.

    Northwestern will now play in the consolation bracket final scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. CT Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats' opponent in that game will be the winner of the Albany vs. Louisville game taking place immediately beforehand.

    Notre Dame began the scoring right away in the top half of the first inning. A leadoff single and walk followed by a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out. Meagan Ruthrauff then hit a grounder to freshman Stephanie Churchwell (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) at short. Churchwell gunned the ball home and junior Jamie Dotson (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) applied the tag to Stephanie Brown for the second out of the inning.

    The Irish were only able to score after a pitch plopped straight up out of Dotson's glove, but came straight down on the umpires leg, rolling toward the backstop and allowing the runner on third to score and give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.

    In the second inning, an Irish batter hit a fly ball down the right field line in foul territory, and senior Erin Mobley (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) showed great hustle, laying out in attempt to reel it in. She came up just short, and was hurt on the dive. She finished the inning in the field, but was replaced by sophomore Jessica Miller (Elberfeld, Ind./Techumseh) to begin the third.



    The Irish added another unearned run in the top of the fourth. Megan Ciolli reached on an error, and eventually advanced to third with two outs. After a walk, Mallorie Lenn doubled to left field, but a sharp relay from Churchwell nailed a greedy runner trying to score all the way from first at the plate to end the inning and limit the Irish advantage to two, 2-0.

    Mobley re-entered the game for Northwestern to start the sixth inning.

    On the first pitch of that inning, Ciolli hit a solo homer to center to give the Irish a 3-0 lead and their first earned run of the game. Northwestern starter Eileen Canney (Paradise, Calif./Paradise) (18-8) got the next two batters to fly out, but she was replaced by junior Courtnay Foster (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) after a single up the middle.

    Foster retired the first batter she faced to end the inning.

    Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Northwestern did not go down quietly. Junior Sheila McCorkle (Costa Mesa, Calif./Mater Dei) got a one-out infield single, then freshman Kelly Odell (Portland, Ore./Westview) drew a walk. Sophomore Megan Hinck (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) stepped into the batter's box as a pinch-hitter and loaded the bags with an infield single to short.

    Sophomore Katie Logan (Tempe, Ariz./Corona del Sol) dumped a single into right field to bring home McCorkle for NU's first run of the game. With two outs, Mobley singled to third base to cut the ND advantage to just one, 3-2, and bring sophomore Garland Cooper (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) to the plate.

    Cooper, who singled in the first and had reached base in five of her first six plate appearances in the tournament, took a rip at the first pitch, and just missed hitting it into Lake Michigan. The ball skied into center field where it was caught to end the game.

    Heather Booth recorded the win for the Irish, upping her record to 22-7.