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    BIG EAST Play Starts At Seton Hall For Irish Softball

    FIGHTING IRISH The Irish venture to New Jersey for three games against Seton Hall this weekend in South Orange.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    The Irish venture to New Jersey for three games against Seton Hall this weekend in South Orange.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    March 26, 2010

    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame looks to improve upon its best start ever under head coach Deanna Gumpf as the team heads to Seton Hall (March 27-28) to kickoff the BIG EAST Conference portion of its schedule. The Irish (21-5) have won 20 of their last 21 games, including a recent pair of home doubleheaders as part of an eight-game winning streak.

    Seton Hall (5-11) swept a home-opening doubleheader earlier this week against Central Connecticut State to snap a four-game skid. The Pirates took game one, 3-2, and scored 10 runs in the first inning of the nightcap while cruising to a 15-0 victory.

    The Irish are the only BIG EAST team with single-digit losses and received votes in the latest NFCA Top 25 Poll. The team leads the BIG EAST with a .808 winning percentage, ahead of Louisville (20-10, .667) and DePaul (14-11, .560).

    Saturday (March 27) will see the Irish and Pirates faceoff twice, with one additional game on Sunday (March 28). Each of Notre Dame's BIG EAST series - with the exception of Georgetown (April 14) and DePaul (April 22) - falls under a three-game, two-day format.

    Live stats for each game this weekend will be available at UND.com.

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    BIG EAST Conference Regular-Season Series
    Saturday, March 27 • 12:00 p.m. / 2:00 p.m. (ET)
    Sunday, March 28 • 11:00 a.m. (ET)
    Ivy Hill Park • South Orange, N.J.

    Live stats: UND.com
    Notre Dame Athletics Twitter: @und_com
    Notre Dame Softball Twitter: @ndsoftball

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    Notre Dame Fighting Irish
    (21-5 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST)
    [und.com • bigeast.org]

    Seton Hall Pirates
    (5-11 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST)
    [shupirates.com • bigeast.org]

    Series: Notre Dame, 30-9
    Series streak: Notre Dame, W6
    First meeting: April 27, 1996 - Notre Dame, 7-2
    Last meeting: April 5, 2009 - Notre Dame, 13-0 (5)

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    One-Hitters ...
    • Notre Dame has won eight straight and 20 of its last 21 contests ... the Irish won 20 of 21 in 2003, and 23 of 24 in 2005 (that run was halted with a loss to Seton Hall on April 25) ... the best run under head coach Deanna Gumpf was a streak of 27 wins in 28 contests in 2002.
    • Notre Dame is off to its best start through 26 games since 2001 when Liz Miller guided the Irish to a 23-3 mark ... it is the best start for Gumpf, who is in her ninth season at the helm of the Irish program.
    • Gumpf earned her 350th win with Notre Dame with a 9-0 triumph over Eastern Michigan (March 24) in the home opener.
    • The defending BIG EAST Tournament champions are 225-43 (.840) in regular season league play ... now in their 15th season of BIG EAST competition, the Irish have won 10 regular season league titles (last in 2006) and six tournament titles.

     

     

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    On the National Scene ...
    Here is how Notre Dame ranked nationally (team and individually) heading into the seventh week of the season:

    Team
    4th - Triples / game - 0.45
    7th - Fielding pct. - .976
    13th - Slugging pct. - .543
    24th - Home runs / game - 1.09
    25th - W / L pct. - .773
    

    Sadie Pitzenberger T-7th - Triples - 4 T-10th - Triples / game - 0.18 20th - Toughest to strikeout - 23.7

    Erin Marrone 20th - Batting average - .453

    Alexa Maldonado T-7th - Triples - 4 T-10th - Triples / game - 0.18

    Jody Valdivia 5th - Shutouts - 6 22nd - Victories - 13 25th - Hits per 7.0 innings - 4.13

    On the Career Charts ...
    Here is how several current Irish players rank among the program's career charts:

    Jody Valdivia
    3rd - Strikeouts per 7.0 innings - 7.91
    5th - Winning pct. - .754
    7th - Strikeouts - 429
    8th - Hits per 7.0 innings - 5.57
    8th - Strikeout-to-walk ratio - 3.06
    9th - Games started - 67
    9th - Shutouts - 13
    10th - Wins - 43
    10th - Complete games - 37
    10th - Innings pitched - 379.2
    

    Christine Lux 1st - Home runs - 41 1st - Putouts - 1,398 1st - Fielding pct. - .994 5th - RBI - 140 T-8th - Walks - 61

    Heather Johnson 8th - Batting average - .340 10th - Assists - 281 T-12th - Home runs - 15 14th - RBI - 109 12th - Walks - 50

    Sadie Pitzenberger 4th - Batting average - .361 11th - Triples - 7

    Dani Miller T-14th - Home runs - 14

    Katie Fleury T-8th - Walks - 61 T-16 - Home runs - 13

    Kristina Wright 2nd - Fielding pct. - .993

    Alexia Clay 6th - Fielding pct. - .990

    Erin Marrone 7th - Fielding pct. - .987

    BIG EAST, Big Numbers ...
    Through the first six weeks of the non-conference season, Notre Dame leads the BIG EAST in: team batting average (.330), slugging percentage (.543), on-base percentage (.384), triples (10), home runs (24), opposing batting average (.186), hits allowed (96), runs allowed (48) and fielding percentage (.976) ... Erin Marrone (.453) leads the league in individual batting average and is third with a .525 on-base percentage ... Christine Lux (23) is third for RBI and tied with Heather Johnson for third with six home runs ... Alexa Maldonado and Sadie Pitzenberger are tied for first with four triples apiece ... Jody Valdivia leads the league in ERA (1.67), opposing batting average (.166), strikeouts (123), wins (13) and starts (16).

    Sadie Streaks To Record ...
    Sadie Pitzenberger is on a 21-game hitting streak to tie the school record held by teammate Dani Miller ... Miller accomplished the feat as a freshman in 2009 ... Pitzenberger has totaled 34 hits in the 21 games, including six doubles and six triples.

    Three Century Marks ...
    Christine Lux became the sixth player in program history to record 100 hits, 100 runs and 100 RBI in a career ... she scored her 100th run against Toledo (March 24) ... after the doubleheader with the Rockets, Lux had 100 runs, 151 hits and 140 RBI ... Katie Laing ('08) was the last Irish players to finish a career with the 100-100-100 accolade.

    Hitting the Trifecta ...
    Three of Notre Dame's four home runs in game two against Toledo (March 24) came in the fourth inning ... Heather Johnson, Kristina Wright and Alexa Maldonado each homered for the Irish ... it was the fourth time in school history that the Irish knocked three home runs in the same inning (each of the occurrences have been in the last three seasons) ... it was the 10th multi-homer game of the season for Notre Dame.

    Lux Named To Honor Roll ...
    Christine Lux hit her 39th career home run at Western Michigan (March 18), the first grand slam ever for the slugger ... Lux accounted for five RBI against the Broncos, the sixth time she recorded 5+ RBI in a single contest in her career ... she had two hits and scored twice in the contest ... for her efforts, Lux was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll (March 22).

    Welcome Home ...
    With the doubleheader sweep over Eastern Michigan (March 23) Notre Dame improved to 20-2 overall in home openers, winning its last 13 consecutive ... the two losses came in 1992 and 1997 ... it was the second true home opener at Melissa Cook Stadium, where the Irish are 2-0 in such contests ... Notre Dame had 22 hits in the home-opening doubleheader with Eastern Michigan (March 23) ... half of those hits went for extra bases - six doubles, four home runs and one triple.

    Defending the Home Turf ...
    After playing the first 22 games of the season on the road, Notre Dame swept each of its first four home games at Melissa Cook Stadium ... the Irish took two games from Eastern Michigan (March 23) and Toledo (March 24) ... over that stretch, the Irish scored 37 runs on 42 hits ... the team hit 11 home runs, eight doubles and four triples for a .938 slugging pct. ... Notre Dame hit .433 as a team, stole 10 of 12 bases, and held opponents to a .200 batting average with a 1.46 ERA.

    Gumpf Goes Eastbound for Milestones ...
    Deanna Gumpf coached her 500th game with the Irish against East Tennessee State (March 6), and won her 350th contest in the home opener with Eastern Michigan (March 23).

    Space Jam ...
    Brittany O'Donnell escaped a pair of bases loaded jams against in game two versus Eastern Michigan (March 23) ... it was the third time she has worked her way out of a juiced situation this season ... in all, Notre Dame has escaped 17 jams (Jackie Bowe - 3, Jody Valdivia - 11).

    Victories for Valdivia ...
    Similar to her sophomore campaign, Jody Valdivia has shaken off a relatively rough start to reel off win after win this season ... Valdivia started 2009 with a 2-5 record (including four straight losses in her first four starts) but was victorious in each of her last 17 decisions ... the 2010 season started with two losses in her first three outings, but Valdivia has rallied to posted 15 straight since her last defeat (Feb. 14 vs. No. 1 Washington) ... her current 15-game winning streak is the sixth-best single-season mark in school history.

    Single-Season Winning Streak
    22 - Kristin Schmidt -	3.2.01-5.5.01
    17 - Jody Valdivia - 3.18.09-5.15.09
    16 - Terri Kobata - 4.9.94-5.20.94
    16 - Jennifer Sharron	- 3.28.01-5.5.01
    16 - Carrie Wisen - 3.30.02-5.10.02
    15 - Jody Valdivia - 2.20.10-active
    14 - Steffany Stenglein - 3.9.05-4.22.05
    10 - Brittney Bargar -	3.22.07-4.19.07
    

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