ND SOFTBALL: Wissen looks to pitch winner
By MATT LOZAR
Carrie Wisen is showing people more than one freshman pitcher is on the Notre Dame softball pitching staff. In today's game against Purdue, Wisen looks to continue her impressive pitching performances.
In her last seven appearances, Wisen is 6-0, has a 0.53 ERA and registered 28 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings pitched. Wisen's success comes from keeping the hitters guessing.
"Lately, my change-up has been working for me," she said. "I have been able to keep the hitters off-balance."
Coach Deanna Gumpf needed to use Wisen more with Steffany Stenglein bothered by a groin pull. The Notre Dame head coach knows this experience will help Wisen for more important games in the future.
"Carrie has been throwing more lately to get here ready for Big East," Gumpf said. "She has been doing very well."
Third baseman Andrea Loman and right fielder Liz Hartmann both missed Tuesday's doubleheader sweep of Vaplaraiso. Loman broke her right index finger and Hartmann is suffering from a minor back injury. Both Irish regulars are expected back in the lineup today but Stenglein could miss the game.
"Steff might not go [today]," Gumpf said. "We are going to rest her for the Big East games this weekend. Everyone else should play."
During their current 10-game winning streak, the Irish have seen their pitching be matched by their offense. As a team, the Irish are batting .361, hit 10 home runs and driven in 72 runners.
"It [run support] gives me more confidence," Wisen said. "I know we are going to score some runs. When I am on the mound, I can just relax."
Catcher Jarrah Myers and first baseman Lisa Mattison have led the offense throughout the winning streak. Myers is hitting .538 with three home runs and 14 RBI. Mattison has driven in 10 and is batting .500.
Purdue is 29-15 on the year but 0-6 in the Big Ten. The poor record in conference action does not influence Gumpf's assessment of the Boilermakers.
"Purdue is a good team and we need to contain their hitters," the head coach said.
At the top of that Boilermaker offense is second baseman Andrea Hillsey. The freshman leadoff hitter holds a team best .362 batting average. Shortstop Katie Crabtree leads the team with 10 homeruns and 33 runs scored. Crabtree is also second in batting average — .340 and RBI — 36. First baseman Heidi Foster leads Purdue with 39 RBI.
For the Irish to extend their 10-game winning streak and 23-game home winning streak, they have to keep improving on their entire game.
"We have to keep getting better every day in order to be successful," Gumpf said.
Wisen should start today's game against Purdue. The time for the game has been changed to 5:00 and is at Ivy Field.
All Sports Stories for Thursday, April 11, 2002