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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

UIC burns Irish in 10

Despite the fact that warm weather finally arrived, the bats were cold at Ivy Field on Thursday evening."It was a beautiful day," Irish coach Deanna Gumpf said. "You couldn't ask for anything nicer than what we got. We just didn't get it done."Notre Dame (32-12) was unable to muster enough offense to overcome Illinois-Chicago (20-18) in a 10-inning marathon game won by the Flames 4-3."We had five hits in the first four innings and then just three hits after that," Gumpf said. "You've got to hit to win, and we didn't make anything happen. [The team] just waited for someone else to do it."The Irish struck blood first, putting a run on the board in both the first and second innings. In the first, Meagan Ruthrauff drove in Nicole deFau with a RBI double to left-center to make it 1-0. The next inning was much of the same, as Liz Hartmann and Nicole Wicks hit back-to-back doubles to put the Irish ahead 2-0, a lead they held for just one inning. In the third, the Flames came out with three singles off Heather Booth. They were good for one run that cut the Irish lead in half.Booth, the Irish ace, lasted just over one more inning, after throwing a lot of pitches. She gave up three earned runs, despite striking out six and walking three."She threw a lot of pitches," Gumpf said. "I think she got behind in a lot of the counts. They were hitting her change-up, and that's her game. If they hit her change-up, that changes things."In relief, Gumpf brought in Carrie Wisen. She gave up just one run in the final 5 2/3 innings, while striking out two."Carrie came in and did a really nice job," Gumpf said. "She did just what I needed her to do."But Wisen's bullpen effort wasn't enough in the 10th and final inning.Both coaches agreed to go to the international tiebreaker, in which the last out of the previous inning is put on second base to start the inning. In the top half of the inning, the Flames sacrificed Jessica Reusnow to third base, and then she was driven in by Alycia Creese's single through the right side. Creese also picked up the win for the Flames.The Irish had their chances in the bottom half of the inning, but they failed to sacrifice Carissa Jacquish over to third, and then Stephanie Brown popped out. With two outs, deFau hit a hot grounder to the shortstop, who bobbled the ball, and Gumpf waved Jacquish home. She was called out to end the game, good for the Flames' first win ever at Ivy Field."I was trying to send her the whole way," Gumpf said. "It's a make or break play - it's going to happen or it's not. You've got to give it a shot, especially when we're not hitting well at all."Now the Irish have a few days to recover before returning to Big East action on Sunday against Providence."You have to work hard these next few days at practice," Gumpf said. "We have a couple days to get back and learn how to hit again."The doubleheader is set to start at 11 a.m. at Ivy Field, and the Irish look to redeem themselves after Thursday's performance."I don't know how they're going to respond," Gumpf said. "I'm pretty disappointed right now."