April 15, 1997
Notre Dame Sweeps Four-Game Series at Villanova
Softball Team Takes First Place in BIG EAST South Division
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame's softball team opened its
lead in the BIG EAST South Division with a four-game sweep over
Villanova Sat.-Sun., April 12-13. The Irish swept the series by
7-0, 5-0, 12-0 and 8-1 scores. Notre Dame traveled to Michigan
Thurs., April 10 and lost a pair of one-run games 2-1 and 5-4.
Northwestern and Valparaiso travel to Ivy Field this week before
the Irish make their last road trip of the regular season at St.
John's and Connecticut.
Irish Sweep Villanova Series: Notre Dame outscored
Villanova 32-1 in four games this past weekend as the Irish
improved to 10-2 in BIG EAST games. Five extra base hits by five
different players keyed Notre Dame's 10-hit attack in the 7-0 win.
Liz Perkins (Cupertino, Calif.) smacked a three-run homer and
Katie Marten (Lisle, Ill.) hit her seventh triple of the season in
Kelly Nichols (Vancouver, Wash.) pitched a two-hitter in
Saturday's second game as she struck out five batters and walked
none in the 5-0 win.
On Sunday, Meghan Murray poured in three hits and three RBI as the
Irish pounded out 14 hits in the 12-0 win. Murray hit a two-run
home run in the fourth game of the series, an 8-1 Irish win.
Michigan Takes Doubleheader: Notre Dame traveled to the
site of its last two NCAA regional appearances and came away with
two losses to Michigan at Alumni Field. The Wolverines edged the
Irish in a pair of one-run games, 2-1 in eight innings in the
first game and 5-4 in the second game. The Irish fell behind 1-0
after the first inning but tied the game thanks to an RBI single
by Perkins. Michigan used a pair of walks and a RBI single to end
the game in the bottom of the eighth.
The Irish took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the second game
when Murray singled to score Marten. After Michigan took a 3-1
lead after two innings, Perkins blasted a bases-loaded double to
the centerfield fence to give Notre Dame a 4-3 lead they would
hold until the seventh inning when Michigan scored twice to win
This Week for the Irish: Notre Dame welcomes Northwestern
and Valparaiso to Ivy Field this week before hitting the road for
their final road games of the regular season. Notre Dame and
Northwestern played earlier in the season in the consolation
bracket of the Sooner Classic in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Irish
jumped out to a 2-0 lead in that game before the Wildcats took a
3-2 lead heading into the sixth inning when Sarah Mathison (Hilton
Head Island, S.C.) hit a two-run homer in a three-run inning for
Notre Dame and a 5-3 win over Northwestern. The Wildcats come to
Notre Dame on Tuesday with a 12-21 record after splitting a
weekend doubleheader against Michigan.
After Thursday's doubleheader against Valparaiso, the Irish head
to Jamaica, N.Y., for a BIG EAST cross divisional doubleheader at
St. John's on Sat., April 19. Notre Dame then travels to Storrs,
Conn., to face the BIG EAST North Division leading Huskies in a
doubleheader. Connecticut stands at 6-0 in the BIG EAST and will
face Providence this weekend in a four-game series and Villanova
on Saturday before facing the Irish on Sunday.
The two teams played five times in 1996 with Notre Dame winning
three of those games but with Connecticut's two wins coming in the
BIG EAST championships as the Huskies claimed the title.
Head Coach Liz Miller: Liz Miller has compiled a 187-86
(.685) record in her four-plus seasons at Notre Dame since 1993.
Miller led the Irish to a school-record 48 wins in 1996 and to
their third consecutive NCAA appearance. She was named the 1996
BIG EAST coach of the year in her first year in the conference as
she led Notre Dame to a 19-1 record and the BIG EAST South
Division title. Miller won her 700th-career game on April 27,
1996, becoming one of only five collegiate softball coaches to
have won 700 career games. Miller began her coaching career at
Lake Michigan Community College where she posted a 541-142 (.792).
She ranks fifth in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association
career-win standings with a 728-228 (.762) record.
Marten, Murray Lead Irish, BIG EAST Batting: Senior
co-captains Katie Marten and Meghan Murray continue to lead both
Notre Dame and the BIG EAST in batting. A two-time All-American,
Marten is batting a team high .392 while Murray is hitting .391.
The 1996 BIG EAST player of the year, Murray is 23-44 in 12 BIG
EAST games for a conference leading .523 batting average. Marten
is one behind at 22-44 for a .500 average.
As a team Notre Dame is hitting .309 while the opposition is
hitting .249. In BIG EAST games the Irish are hitting .404, well
on pace to break Connecticut's season record of .346 which it set
Mathison Earns BIG EAST Honors, Leads BIG EAST Freshmen:
Freshman Sarah Mathison was named BIG EAST rookie of the week
after she hit .476 against Michigan and Villanova. She was 10-21
with three runs scored, two RBI and a double. Mathison is
currently riding a 10-game hitting streak, the second longest of
the season for Notre Dame. Meghan Murray strung together an
11-game hitting streak from March 27-April 6. Mathison has hit
safely in every game since April 4. She is 15-35 (.429) in those
games with four runs, three RBI and two doubles.
Her .432 batting average in BIG EAST games is the eighth best in
the conference and is the highest among BIG EAST freshmen. She is
behind Murray, Marten, Connecticut's Stephanie Mason, Kara McMahon
(Pasadena, Texas), Rutgers' Danielle Dolbow, Perkins and Rutgers'
Bessolo Bears Down: Angela Bessolo (Lakewood, Calif.)
pitched two complete-game shut outs this weekend against Villanova
and threw a complete-game three-hitter against Michigan in an
extra-inning loss to the ninth-ranked Wolverines. Since starting
the season 3-5 with a 2.14 ERA, the 1996 BIG EAST co-rookie of the
year has gone 7-3, allowing just nine earned runs in 51.2 innings
pitched. Bessolo has the second lowest ERA in BIG EAST games with
a 0.93 ERA, behind only teammate Kelly Nichols who has a 0.90 ERA
in conference games. She is third in allowing the opposition to
hit .192 behind Nichols' .155 and St. John's Liz Stanton's .183.
The Irish pitching staff, including Bessolo, Nichols and Joy
Battersby leads all other BIG EAST pitching staffs in ERA (0.99)
and opposing batting average (.198). The Irish staff has also
allowed the fewest hits per game (4.75) and runs per game (1.5).
Perkins Pours It On: Senior Liz Perkins has powered the
Irish offensively in the 16 games, accounting for more than one
third of the teams runs. Since March 27, Perkins has batted 24-51
for a .470 batting average. She has raised her batting average
from .270 at the beginning of the hot streak to its current
average of .352.
She has had a part in 32 of the teams 96 runs in those games,
driving in 20 runs and scoring 12 other runs. Perkins has hit
nine doubles in that time, bringing her season total to a
team-leading 12 doubles, well on pace to break the school record
of 17. Her seven doubles in BIG EAST games is just two short of
the conference single-season record of nine doubles in a BIG EAST
season and with eight BIG EAST games left, that record is also
within site for Perkins.
Marten Triples: While Perkins is on a record-setting pace
for doubles, Katie Marten has already set Notre Dame and BIG EAST
marks for triples. She has hit seven triples so far in 1997,
breaking Andy Key's 1993 record of six in one season. Marten has
also hit four three-baggers in BIG EAST games, topping the old
mark of three in one season accomplished by 10 other hitters in
BIG EAST history, including herself and Murray in 1996. Her 12
career triples are also the most Notre Dame history.
Team Record Pts. LW
1. Fresno State (15) 37-6 614 2
2. Arizona (9) 33-4 607 1
3. UCLA 29-7 565 3
4. South Carolina * (1) 41-3 561 4
5. Iowa * 29-5 518 6
6. Washington 25-9 485 5
7. Oklahoma 40-11 475 7
8. Cal Poly SLO 31-8 408 9
9. Michigan * 30-10-1 402 8
10. Arizona State * 28-8 377 11
11. Missouri * 34-8 367 12
12. Michigan State 36-9 363 10
13. Long Beach State 28-13-1 289 13
14. South Florida 34-9 282 15
15. Minnesota 25-9 255 14
16. Colorado State * 34-9 242 16
17. Northeast Louisiana 35-4 209 19
18. Oklahoma State 27-13 172 17
19. Florida State 31-14-1 155 18
20. Louisiana Tech 24-12 120 21
21. California 23-16 110 20
22. Utah 23-10 101 22
23. Kansas * 26-12 95 25
24. Pacific 25-12 71 24
25. Hawaii 27-17-1 63 23
* indicates 1997 Notre Dame opponent.
1997 Big East Softball Standings
BIG EAST Overall
South Division W L Pct. W L Pct
1. Notre Dame 10 2 .833 22 18 .550
2. Rutgers 6 4 .600 16 18 .471
3. Villanova 4 8 .333 15 21 .417
4. Seton Hall 2 10 .166 11 17 .393
1. Connecticut 6 0 1.000 18 14 .563
2. Boston Coll. 8 4 .667 23 7 .767
3. St. John's 4 7 .364 9 18 .333
4. Providence 1 6 .143 9 16 .360