April 13, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team welcomes Rutgers this weekend for a three-game series at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish (26-10, 7-1 BIG EAST) and Scarlet Knights (23-15, 7-5 BIG EAST) will play one game Saturday (1 p.m. first pitch) before taking the field for a doubleheader Sunday at noon.
The Irish are 30-8 all-time against the Scarlet Knights, including a 29-7 record in regular season BIG EAST play. Notre Dame won two of three meetings with Rutgers in 2012, including a 5-0 victory in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship May 10 at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Saturday’s game will coincide with the third annual Strikeout Cancer celebration. Notre Dame softball raised more than $35,000 during the first two years of its Strikeout Cancer initiative, and game day events will include giveaways, on-field contests (highlighted by a home run derby) and much more. The scheduled silent auction will continue during Sunday's doubleheader. Visit UND.com and click on the Strikeout Cancer tab on the softball team page for more information.
Fans can follow live stats for all games via CBS GameTracker by visiting UND.com. Live video will also be available through the Notre Dame Athletics YouTube page.
For updates throughout the weekend, follow the Irish on Twitter @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf.
Notre Dame vs. Rutgers
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Ind.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(26-10 overall, 7-1 BIG EAST)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
(23-15 overall, 7-5 BIG EAST; ND leads all-time series 30-8, 29-7 in BIG EAST)
Notre Dame Weekend Schedule
Notre Dame vs. Rutgers (Strikeout Cancer) – Saturday, noon (ET)/UND.com
Notre Dame vs. Rutgers – Sunday, noon (ET)/UND.com
Notre Dame vs. Rutgers – Sunday, 2 p.m. (ET)/UND.com
IRISH SLAP HITS
• Notre Dame hosts the third annual Strikeout Cancer Weekend with a Saturday game against Rutgers. The teams close the three-game BIG EAST Conference series Sunday at noon with a doubleheader.
• The Irish won their third straight BIG EAST series with a 9-3 triumph over Villanova last Sunday at Melissa Cook Stadium. Notre Dame went 4-1 in conference play over the past two weeks, sweeping Georgetown during an April 3 doubleheader. The Irish outscored opponents a combined 36-10 in those five contests, and hold a 66-10 run edge in eight BIG EAST games (7-1 record).
• With its 8-2 game one win April 3 at Georgetown, Notre Dame won the 1,000th game in program history. In 25 seasons of competition, the Irish are a combined 1,003-448-3 (.691).
• For the third straight week, Emilee Koerner claimed the number one slot in individual batting average in the NCAA national statistics rankings. Koerner is currently hitting at a .504 clip. She also ranked second in doubles per game (0.46), ninth in slugging percentage (.920) and 11th in on-base percentage (.556) amongst Division I peers entering the week.
• Notre Dame leads the BIG EAST Conference in triples (8) and stolen bases (55 on 65 attempts). The Irish rank second in team batting average (.327), slugging percentage (.516), on-base percentage (.396), runs (211), hits (320), RBI (185), doubles (61), total bases (505) and batters struck out (265).
• Jenna Simon received her second BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll citation of the season Monday. Simon led all Notre Dame hitters who had at least 10 plate appearances last week with a .533 batting average (8-for-15). The second baseman chipped in a double, triple, four RBI, three stolen bases and team-high six runs scored during Notre Dame’s 4-1 BIG EAST swing.
• Amy Buntin has reached base in a team-high 16 consecutive games. The 2012 All-American is batting .419 (18-for-43) with one home run, 15 RBI and 12 runs scored in her last 16 starts. Buntin’s on-base percentage of .491 ranks second on the team during the stretch (Emilee Koerner, .593).
Notre Dame’s 8-2 victory over Georgetown in game one last Wednesday was the 1,000th win in program history. The Irish needed only 1,449 games to reach the milestone, and have a .691 all-time winning percentage (1,003-448-3).
Head coaches Brian Boulac (1989-92, 135-90-2), Liz Miller (1993-2001, 377-156) and Deanna Gumpf (2002-present, 491-202-1) have been credited with all 1,003 team wins. Notre Dame has averaged just over 40 wins per season (40.12) during its 25-year history.
Offense In Peak Form Last 10
Notre Dame has hit its so-called ‘midseason form’ in the past 10 games. The Irish are batting .373 with 101 hits, 30 extra base hits, 62 RBI, 155 total bases and 73 runs scored during the 7-3 stretch (7-1 in the BIG EAST).
Emilee Koerner leads all Notre Dame hitters with a .515 average, 17 hits, five doubles and three home runs in her past 10 starts, while Jenna Simon has contributed a .483 batting average and a team-high 13 runs scored. Laura Winter is tied with Koerner for the home run lead (3) and has 19 RBI in her last 30 at-bats.
In fact, eight members of Notre Dame’s everyday lineup is batting .300 or above in the past 10 games, with Winter (.433), Amy Buntin (.433) and Kelsey Thornton (.407) joining Koerner and Simon over the .400 plateau.
Start Strong, Finish Strong
The Irish offense has regularly set the early pace this season, outscoring opponents 43-9 and 35-13 in the first and second innings, respectively, in 36 games. Notre Dame is 13-0 when scoring at least one run in the first inning, and 21-2 when scoring the game’s first run overall.
In later innings, the Irish have continued to produce, outscoring opponents an impressive 37-4 during the sixth frame. Notre Dame is 15-2 when leading heading to the seventh inning in 2013.
Twelve Games In 14 Days
Notre Dame is in the midst of playing a scheduled 12 games in 14 days, which began with last weekend’s three-game BIG EAST series against Villanova. The stretch is the most congested part of the 2013 Notre Dame schedule, which also included the early season tournament slate.
Advantage All-Time Goes To The Irish
Notre Dame is 30-8 all-time against Rutgers, including 29-7 in BIG EAST Conference regular season games dating back to 1996. The Irish have won eight of the last 10 meetings between the teams.
Notre Dame was 2-1 against the Scarlet Knights in 2012, splitting a two-game series in Piscataway, N.J. before shutting out Rutgers 5-0 during the BIG EAST Championship at Melissa Cook Stadium. Kelsey Thornton batted a team-high .556 (5-for-9) against Rutgers, while Amy Buntin, Emilee Koerner and Cassidy Whidden each recorded three RBI against Scarlet Knight pitching last season.
Gumpf Nearing 500
Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf is nine wins away from becoming the first Notre Dame softball head coach to record 500 career victories (491-202-1, .709). Gumpf’s squads have averaged nearly 41 wins (40.92) per season during her 12-year tenure at the helm of the Irish, and have won seven BIG EAST regular season and four tournament championships during that span.