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    May 2, 1997

    Irish Face Boston College in First Round of Big East Tournament

    May 3, 1997     Game 1:  Notre Dame vs. Boston College      10:00 a.m.
                    Game 2:  Connecticut vs. Rutgers            12:00 p.m.
                    Game 3:  Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2     2:00 p.m.
                    Game 4:  Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2       4:00 p.m.
    May 4, 1997     Game 5:  Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4     10:00 a.m.
                    Game 6:  Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5    12:00 p.m.
                    Game 7:  Same Teams as Game 6, If Necessary  2:00 p.m.

    BIG EAST Championship Field: The top two finishers in the BIG EAST regular season in the North and South Divisions have advanced to the 1997 BIG EAST softball championship with the winner of the two-day tournament receiving the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA championship. Notre Dame won the South Division to claim its spot in the field. The Irish will face Boston College, who placed second in the North Division. North Division champion Connecticut plays Rutgers, the second-place team in the South Division.

    Probable Notre Dame Lineup (BIG EAST stats):
    • Catcher: Kris McCleary (Westerville, Ohio), So., .405 BA, 5 doubles, 13 RBI, SB/SBA 4-12.
    • First Base: Kelly Rowe (Edison, N.J.), Jr., .326 BA, 13 runs, 12 BB, .508 OB%, 1.000 FLG %.
    • Second Base: Lisa Tully (Garden Grove, Calif.), Fr., .233 BA, 4 runs, 2 doubles, .925 FLD %. Dawn Cunningham (Bethalto, Ill.), So., .222 BA, 11 runs, 1.000 FLD %
    • Third Base: Kara McMahon (Pasadena, Texas), Sr., .400 BA, 16 runs, 5 doubles, 8 RBI, 9 BB, .978 FLD %.
    • Shortstop: Meghan Murray (Minnetonka, Minn.), Sr. co-captain, .529 BA, 17 runs, 8 doubles, 4 home runs, 28 RBI, .843 SLG %, .534 OB %, 5 SB, .924 FLD %.
    • Outfield: Liz Perkins (Cupertino, Calif.), Sr., .385 BA, 18 runs, 9 doubles, 19 RBI, .569 SLG %, 6 SB, 1.000 FLD %. Sarah Mathison (Hilton Head Island, S.C.), Fr., .354 BA, 9 runs, 5 doubles, 8 RBI, 1.000 FLD %. Katie Marten (Lisle, Ill.), Sr. co-captain, .420 BA, 19 runs, 3 doubles, 5 triples, 12 RBI, .609 SLG %, 1.000 FLD %. Tara King (Overland Park, Kan.), Fr., .353 BA, 5 RBI, .405 OB %, .975 FLD %.
    • Pitcher: Angela Bessolo (Lakewood, Calif.), So., 0.85 ERA, 5-2-1, 41.1 IP, 21 BB, 30 SO, .199 OP BA. Kelly Nichols (Vancouver, Wash.), Jr., 1.28 ERA, 6-1-0, 43.2 IP, 14 BB, 23 SO, .185 OP BA. Joy Battersby (Morris, Ill.), Sr., 1.52 ERA, 5-1-0, 46.0 IP, 18 BB, 30 SO, .246 OP BA.

    Irish in BIG EAST Championships: In its first appearance in the BIG EAST softball championship in 1996, Notre Dame went 3-2 and dropped a 1-0 decision to Connecticut in game seven of the championships. The Irish forced a decisive game by coming out of the losers bracket to win twice on Sunday before falling to the Huskies. Notre Dame defeated Providence 3-2 in the first game on Saturday, May 4, but then fell into the losers bracket with a 3-0 loss to Connecticut. On Sunday, the Irish beat Villanova 4-0 and then forced a seventh game with a 6-3 win over Connecticut before the 1-0 loss.

    Angela Bessolo was the pitcher of record in all five of Notre Dame's games as she pitched 24 of the 35 innings that the Irish played, starting four of the five games. She started all three games on Sunday and pitched a complete game in game seven as she held Connecticut to three hits and just one unearned run.

    Notre Dame vs. the Field: All four of Notre Dame's 1997 BIG EAST losses have come at the hands of the three teams in the BIG EAST championship field. Boston College swept a doubleheader at Notre Dame on April 4 by 2-0 and 5-3 scores. Connecticut beat visiting Notre Dame 3-2 on April 20 and Rutgers blanked the Irish 7-0 at Notre Dame on April 27. The Irish lead the all-time series with Connecticut and Rutgers and is tied with Boston College.

    Boston College (2-2)    
    H: 0-2      A: 2-0  N: 0-0
    Date    Site                    Score   Series
    4/6/96  Chestnut Hill, MA   W   5-4     1-0
    4/6/96  Chestnut Hill, MA   W   4-2     2-0
    4/4/97  Notre Dame, IN      L   0-2     2-1
    4/4/97  Notre Dame, IN      L   3-5     2-2
    Connecticut (5-3)   
    H: 2-0-0    A: 1-1  N: 2-2
    Date    Site                    Score   Series
    3/12/93 Tampa, FL#          W   3-2     1-0
    4/20/96 Notre Dame, IN      W   6-5     2-0
    4/20/96 Notre Dame, IN      W   2-1     3-0
    5/4/96  Chestnut Hill, MA*  L   0-3     3-1
    5/5/96  Chestnut Hill, MA*  W   6-3     4-1
    5/5/96  Chestnut Hill, MA*  L   0-1     4-2
    5/5/97  Storrs, CT          L   2-3     4-3
    5/5/97  Storrs, CT          W   6-3     5-3
    # South Florida Tournament
    * BIG EAST Championship
    Rutgers (7-1-0)     
    H: 7-1      A: 1-0  N: 1-0
    Date    Site                   Score    Series
    3/30/96 Notre Dame, IN      W  15-0     1-0
    3/30/96 Notre Dame, IN      W   5-0     2-0
    3/31/96 Notre Dame, IN      W   4-0     3-0
    3/31/96 Notre Dame, IN      W   8-2     4-0
    4/26/97 Notre Dame, IN      W   6-4     5-0
    4/26/97 Notre Dame, IN      W   5-0     6-0
    4/27/97 Notre Dame, IN      L   0-7     6-1
    4/27/97 Notre Dame, IN      W   2-0     7-1

    Irish Among BIG EAST Leaders: In winning the BIG EAST South Division title for the second consecutive year, Notre Dame has found itself leading the BIG EAST in numerous offensive categories. In conference games, the Irish were tops in team batting (.376 for a new BIG EAST season batting average record), slugging percentage (.509), on base percentage (.432), runs scored (128), RBI (114), hits (215), doubles (43), total bases (291), walks (49) and stolen bases (29). Notre Dame's pitching staff also led the conference in ERA (1.23), opposing batting average (.212), fewest earned runs allowed (23) and home runs allowed (0). Defensively, the Irish allowed the fewest stolen bases (5) and threw out the most runners stealing (9). Individually, Notre Dame was well-represented among BIG EAST leaders.

    Notre Dame Vs. Ranked Teams: Notre Dame has played 12 games against teams that are currently ranked in the NFCA/USA Today Top 25 for the week of April 29. The Irish have posted a 4-8 record against these teams, with five of the eight losses coming by one run against top-10 teams. In addition, four of those five losses came at the final at-bat for the winning team. Notre Dame's four wins have come against No. 10 Colorado State, No. 22 Southwestern Louisiana and two wins against No. 25 Kansas.

    Notre Dame Sets BIG EAST Marks: A number of Notre Dame players have set BIG EAST single season marks in 1997. Meghan Murray drove in 28 runs this season, breaking the old mark of 21 set by Connecticut's Karin Muller in 1996. Murray also broke her own record for hits in a season with her 37 in 1997 after connecting 34 times in 1996. Kelly Rowe walked 12 times topping Boston College's Donna Moore's mark of nine set in 1993. Liz Perkins matched former Connecticut All-American Andrea D'Innocenzo's nine doubles in the BIG EAST play. As a team, the Irish batted .376 this season, 30 points higher than the 1993 World Series Connecticut team that hit .346.

    1998 BIG EAST Championship Comes to Ivy Field: The 1998 BIG EAST softball championship will be played at Notre Dame's Ivy Field, the first-ever post-season softball games to be played at Notre Dame. The softball championship will mark the third BIG EAST championship to be held at Notre Dame. The Irish played host to the volleyball championship in 1995 and the women's soccer championship in 1996, winning both titles.

    What Though The Clouds...: For the second straight BIG EAST season, the Irish have played the full 20-game leagues schedule without any cancellations due to weather and were the only BIG EAST team able to play the full 20 games in 1997. In its two seasons in the BIG EAST, Notre Dame has posted a 35-5 regular season record, 14-4 at Ivy Field and 21-1 on the road.

    Irish Among Big East Leaders

    Batting average 1. Meghan Murray .529 5. Katie Marten .420 7. Kris McCleary .405 9. Kara McMahon .400 Slugging percentage 2. Meghan Murray .843 4. Katie Marten .609 5. Kris McCleary .595 6. Liz Perkins .569 On base percentage 2. Meghan Murray .534 4. Kelly Rowe .508 5. Kara McMahon .471 7. Katie Marten .453 10. Liz Perkins .432 Runs scored 1. Katie Marten 19 2. Liz Perkins 18 4. Meghan Murray 17 6. Kara McMahon 16 7. Kelly Rowe 13 Hits 1. Meghan Murray 37 2. Katie Marten 29 3. Liz Perkins 25 5. Kara McMahon 24 6. Sarah Mathison 23 Runs batted in 1. Meghan Murray 28 3. Liz Perkins 19 6. Kris McCleary 13 7. Katie Marten 12 Doubles 1. Liz Perkins 9 2. Meghan Murray 8 3T. Kara McMahon 5 Kris McCleary 5 Sarah Mathison 5 Triples 2. Katie Marten 5 Home runs 1. Meghan Murray 4 Walks 1. Kelly Rowe 12 4. Kara McMahon 9 Stolen bases 2T. Liz Perkins 6 4T. Meghan Murray 5 ERA 1. Angela Bessolo 0.85 3. Kelly Nichols 1.28 6. Joy Battersby 1.52 Opposing batting average 2. Kelly Nichols .185 3. Angela Bessolo .199 6. Joy Battersby .246 Fielding percentage 1T. Kelly Rowe 1.000 Liz Perkins 1.000 Sarah Mathison 1.000 Runners caught stealing 1. Kris McCleary 8 Double plays 2T. Kelly Rowe 2
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