April 10, 2017
by Tony Jones
Notre Dame vs. Detroit Mercy and IUPUI
April 11-12, 2017
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Indiana
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(21-15 in 2017)
Detroit Mercy Titans
(8-25 in 2017)
(15-21 in 2017)
Notre Dame Weekly Schedule
Tuesday, April 11
Notre Dame vs. Detroit Mercy - 5:30 p.m. (ET)/ACC Network Extra
Wednesday, April 12
Notre Dame vs. IUPUI - 6 p.m. (ET)/ACC Network Extra
Friday, April 14
Notre Dame at North Carolina State - 4 p.m. (ET)/ACC Network Extra
Notre Dame at North Carolina State - 6 p.m. (ET)/ACC Network Extra
Saturday, April 15
Notre Dame at North Carolina State - Noon (ET)/ACC Network Extra
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Prior to returning to the road to resume Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) action this weekend, the University of Notre Dame softball team wraps up a five-game homestand by welcoming a pair of regional foes to Melissa Cook Stadium this week. The Irish and Detroit Mercy collide on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. (ET) before IUPUI returns to Melissa Cook Stadium for the second straight season on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Both games will air live on ACC Network Extra.
Irish Slap Hits Notre Dame has amassed a 1,167-509-3 (.696) all-time record, 30 combined conference championships (19 regular season, 11 tournament) and 21 NCAA Regional appearances, which has included 18 straight berths into the NCAA Championship tournament.
Notre Dame won its third straight Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) series last weekend against North Carolina, claiming 2-1 (nine innings) and 2-0 decisions over the Tar Heels inside Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish are 7-2 in their past nine ACC starts overall, outscoring opponents 48-29 in those games.
The Irish have won their last 24 nonconference midweek games at Melissa Cook Stadium dating back to the 2013 season.
Junior pitcher Katie Beriont threw the first seven-inning no-hitter for Notre Dame since 2012 by shutting out North Carolina (2-0) in game two of a doubleheader on Saturday. Beriont is the fourth different Irish hurler to spin a no-hitter dating back to the 2014 season, with the previous three ending in run-rule victories after five innings.
The Notre Dame pitching staff of Beriont, Rachel Nasland and Caitlyn Brooks limited the North Carolina offense, ranked second in the ACC in batting average (.313), hits (356) and runs (231) this season, to totals of .167, 13 and eight, respectfully, in the weekend set. The Tar Heels managed only two extra-base hits out of 78 at-bats against the Irish for the weekend.
Notre Dame will host Detroit Mercy on Tuesday for the first time since the 1995 season, when the teams were foes in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (Horizon League). The Irish and IUPUI will play for the second consecutive year after meeting last April 5 at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Irish softball is one of only two Notre Dame varsity athletic programs to have never posted a losing record. The softball team clinched its 28th straight season with a .500 record or better with a 43-13 final mark to close the 2016 campaign. Notre Dame's three-time national champion women's soccer program has logged 29 straight winning seasons since its inception at the varsity level in the fall of 1988.
Doubleheader Sweep Gives Irish UNC SeriesThe Notre Dame pitching staff showed its true mettle against one of the top Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) offenses in North Carolina last Saturday. Rachel Nasland spun a masterful nine innings of work in a 2-1 Notre Dame walk-off win, before Katie Beriont tossed her first career no-hitter to lead the Irish to a 2-0 victory and day one sweep of the Tar Heels on a beautiful Melissa Cook Stadium afternoon.
Notre Dame claimed its third straight ACC series with the day one sweep, taking two games from a foe receiving top 25 votes in the national polls for the second consecutive weekend.
KB Unhittable Against The Heels In Game TwoKatie Beriont threw the first seven-inning Notre Dame no-hitter since Laura Winter blanked DePaul on April 21, 2012, in the 2-0 win over North Carolina in game two on Saturday. Allie Rhodes (Feb. 9, 2014 against Morehead State, 9-0), Winter (April 18, 2014, perfect game at Virginia, 8-0) and Rachel Nasland (March 15, 2015 at No. 9 Florida State, 12-0) had thrown no-hitters of the five-inning variety since 2012.
Beriont's effort was the 36th solo no-hitter (43rd overall) in Notre Dame program history. She faced only two batters over the minimum in the shutout, stifling the Tar Heels on only 79 pitches.
Rach Runs The Gauntlet Against UNC In Game OneThe game two no-hitter was not the only stellar pitching seen by Notre Dame against North Carolina on Saturday. Rachel Nasland set the table to open the series with a gutsy complete game in a 2-1 Irish win in nine innings over the Tar Heels.
Nasland threw a career-high 142 pitches over her nine innings of work in game one, scattering six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. In 14.2 innings in the series, Nasland limited the potent North Carolina offense to a mere .163 batting average against with 12 strikeouts.
Another Late Inning, Another Rochford Game-WinnerMelissa Rochford thumped her third game-tying or winning hit in the seventh inning or later this season with an RBI base knock that scored Morgan Reed in the bottom of the ninth of the game one win over North Carolina on Saturday. Rochford ultimately tied Kimmy Sullivan for the team lead with four hits during the series against the Tar Heels, adding a team-high nine assists in the field.
Rochford has been no stranger to the dramatic in 2017. With two runners on and two outs in the top of the seventh against Louisville on April 1, she launched a 2-0 pitch into center to clear the bases and lift the Irish to a 5-4 lead they would not relinquish. Rochford previously stung FIU with an RBI double with two away in the top of the seventh on March 4, tying the game at 3-3 in an eventual 5-3 Notre Dame win in eight innings.
Irish Remain Strong At Melissa CookNotre Dame has stormed out of the gate in 2017 at Melissa Cook Stadium, posting a 7-1 home record over its first eight games on campus. The Irish have won consecutive ACC series at home, posting a 5-1 conference mark in those games.
Since the stadium officially opened its doors during the 2008 season, Notre Dame has compiled a 143-25-1 (.849) record in home games following last weekend's series win over North Carolina. The Irish have averaged 15 wins per season at Melissa Cook Stadium during that span, topping out with 20 victories in 2015.
Irish Offense At HomeOver the first eight home games of the 2017 season, Notre Dame has continued red hot production at the plate inside Melissa Cook Stadium. Irish players batted a combined .361 as a team inside their friendly confines, outscoring opponents 45-17 with 42 RBI during the 7-1 start at home.
All nine regular Notre Dame starters are batting .250 or above in home games, including six players who are hitting at a .300 clip or higher. Along with 20 walks and being hit by pitch seven times, the Irish compiled a .429 on-base percentage over their first eight home starts.
Irish Against The OppositionNotre Dame enters Tuesday's game against Detroit Mercy with a 13-10 (.565) series edge over the Titans, with the teams meeting for the first time since May 11, 1995 (a 6-0 Notre Dame win). Notre Dame is 3-1 (.750) in its all-time series against IUPUI, most recently downing the Jaguars 11-3 in five innings on April 5, 2016 at Melissa Cook Stadium.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.