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    BIG EAST Slate Opens Saturday For Irish Softball

    FIGHTING IRISH Sophomore Chloe Saganowich
    Sophomore Chloe Saganowich

    March 30, 2011

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    NOTRE DAME, Ind. - As winners of its last three home contests - and nine straight dating back to the 2011 season - the Notre Dame softball team continues its seven-game homestand with a weekend series to open BIG EAST Conference play against Connecticut.

    Live coverage - including video, audio and stats - for each of the three games at Melissa Cook Stadium will be available at UND.com. Fans are also encouraged to follow the action on Twitter (@NDsoftball, @NDcoachGumpf, @NDsidJorge) or sign up for text message updates at UND.com.


    Notre Dame Fighting Irish
    (14-10 overall, 0-0 BIG EAST)
    [und.com • bigeast.org]

    Connecticut Huskies
    (13-11 overall, 3-0 BIG EAST)
    [uconnhuskies.com • bigeast.org]
    Saturday, March 31 • Noon (ET)
    Saturday, March 31 • 2:00 p.m. (ET)
    Sunday, April 1 • 11:00 a.m. (ET)
    Melissa Cook Stadium • Notre Dame, Ind.


    Series record: Notre Dame leads, 31-7 (25-3 BIG EAST)
    Series streak: Notre Dame, W14
    First meeting: March 12, 1993 - Notre Dame, 3-2
    Last meeting: May 8, 2011 - Notre Dame, 14-11
    Last Connecticut win: April 27, 2003 - Connecticut, 2-1

    • Notre Dame has won each of the last 14 contests between the two programs and sports a 14-2 record at home against the Huskies ... game three of the 2011 series may have been the most dramatic of the 38 all-time affairs in the series history, which was also the regular-season finale for both teams ... Alexia Clay's seventh-inning grand slam - one of two grand slams and five home runs on the day for No. 21 Notre Dame - capped off a five-run final frame for the Irish to secure the program's 13th BIG EAST regular season title ... Clay's only hit of the day helped the visiting Irish overcome a nine-run fourth inning by Connecticut, leading to a 14-11 shootout victory for the Irish at Burrill Family Field ... trailing 11-10, the Irish were down to their last out in the seventh but managed to load the bases before Clay's crisp swing changed the game ... her grand slam ended a fierce rally which saw Notre Dame out-score Connecticut by an 8-1 margin over the final three innings.


    One-Hitters ...

    • The Irish are 3-0 on their home turf in 2012 with wins earlier this week against Western Michigan (W, 5-3) and Toledo (W, 9-1 / W, 8-0) ... all said and done, the Irish are 64-10-1 (.860) inside the friendly confines of Melissa Cook Stadium and 33-8 (.805) against BIG EAST opponents ... Notre Dame has won 21 of its last 22 regular-season league matchups on its home field.

    • Picked third in the preseason BIG EAST coaches poll, the Irish seek to defend their 2011 regular-season title beginning with this weekend's matchups against the Huskies, who were tabbed eighth in the poll ... now in their 17th season as a league member, the Irish are 262-47 (.848) in conference play and have won 13 regular-season crowns.

    • Heading into the week, Laura Winter ranked second national with 0.67 walks allowed per 7.0 innings and was 25th with 8.8 strikeouts per 7.0 innings ... Winter, an all-BIG EAST performer as a freshman in 2011, has a 9-1 career record against BIG EAST opponents including a no-hitter at USF on April 27, 2011.

    • Keep an eye out for the swift bats of seniors Alexa Maldonado and Dani Miller throughout the league slate ... Maldonado boasts a .358 career batting average in league play while Miller is hitting .324 against BIG EAST opponents ... in the circle, sophomore Brittany O'Donnell is a solid 9-1 in conference contests and has allowed only four extra-base hits while facing 249 batters in 54.1 innings during league play.

    • Though only three games into the home schedule, the Irish are batting .338 with a respectable 1.56 ERA inside Melissa Cook Stadium while out-scoring opponents, 22-4 ... Amy Buntin leads the team with a .625 batting average at home while slugging at a 1.375 clip ... freshman Jenna Simon is hitting .571 and classmate Emilee Koerner is steady at .500.



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