March 30, 2011
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)
(13-11 overall, 3-0 BIG EAST)
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.
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.