April 13, 2017
by Tony Jones
Notre Dame at NC State
April 14-15, 2017
Dail Softball Stadium
Raleigh, North Carolina
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(23-15, 8-7 ACC in 2017)
NC State Wolfpack
(15-25, 8-4 ACC in 2017)
Notre Dame Weekly Schedule
Friday, April 14
Notre Dame at NC State – 4 p.m. (ET)/ACC Network Extra
Notre Dame at NC State – 6 p.m. (ET)/ACC Network Extra
Saturday, April 15
Notre Dame at NC State – Noon (ET)/ACC Network Extra
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team returns to conference play with a three-game set against NC State this weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina. The teams will play two games on Friday and the series finale on Saturday, with an adjusted schedule in anticipation of Easter Sunday.
Irish Slap Hits• Notre Dame has amassed a 1,169-509-3 (.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 established a pair of season-highs on Wednesday against Detroit Mercy, scoring 13 runs and 16 hits in six innings.
• 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.
• 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 April 8. 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.
• Beriont earned her first career ACC Pitcher of the Week honor on April 11.
• 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 (.312), hits (361) and runs (232) 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 returns to Raleigh for just its second series at Dail Stadium against NC State.
• 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.
Big Sixth Inning Against IUPUIAnswering the bell after a four-run counterpunch from IUPUI in the top of the sixth inning, Notre Dame responded with an eight-run haymaker of its own to walk-off the visiting Jaguars 13-4 in six innings on Wednesday night at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Notre Dame’s eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning secured the most runs (13) and hits (16) for the Irish in a game thus far in 2017. It was the second time Notre Dame has scored eight runs in an inning this season, and the first since the Irish opened with eight runs against Chattanooga on March 5. Notre Dame improved to 9-1 at Melissa Cook Stadium this season, and has outscored foes a combined 68-26 in those contests.
KB Named ACC Pitcher Of The WeekFollowing her first career collegiate no-hitter that clinched a weekend series win over North Carolina, Notre Dame junior Katie Beriont was recognized on Tuesday as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Softball Pitcher of the Week. The weekly conference honor was the first for Beriont in her Notre Dame tenure, and the first league citation earned by an Irish player in 2017.
Beriont’s effort against the ACC’s second-ranked offense was the 36th solo no-hitter (43rd overall no-hitter) in Irish program history, and was the first seven-inning no-hitter for Notre Dame since the 2012 season. A third-inning walk issued to North Carolina represented the only batter to officially reach safely against Beriont, who forced nine flyouts, 10 groundouts, and logged two strikeouts on only 79 pitches.
North Carolina entered the weekend series with Notre Dame averaging more than eight hits and five and a half runs per game. With the exception of a fielding error in the sixth inning, Beriont retired 14 of the last 15 hitters she faced in the victory that cemented the series for the Irish.
In her last nine overall appearances (six starts) in the circle, Beriont is 6-0 with a .231 batting average against. The Colts Neck, New Jersey, native has led a consistent Notre Dame pitching attack at Melissa Cook Stadium thus far in 2017, notching a 4-0 record, 1.20 ERA and .225 average against in 23.1 innings at home this season.
Past Irish Success At DailWith Notre Dame set to face NC State for just the second time at Dail Softball Stadium, the Irish have previously racked up a number of crucial program victories at the venue as a neutral participant.
Notre Dame won a pair of games last May to reach the final game of the ACC Championship on NC State’s home field, finishing as event runner-up.
The Irish also claimed their first win since 1999 against No. 11/10 Michigan with a 6-4 decision on Feb. 18 at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Nasland Runs Gauntlet Vs. UNCThe game two no-hitter was not the only stellar pitching seen by Notre Dame against North Carolina on April 8. 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.
Rochford In The Clutch AgainMelissa 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 April 8. 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 Offense Up To SpeedIn its last 10 games overall against all opponents, Notre Dame has posted an 8-2 record thanks in large part to its success at the plate. Irish hitters are batting a combined .337 with 21 extra-base hits, 51 RBI and 57 total runs scored since a 9-4 ACC victory against Virginia Tech on March 25.
Ali Wester has paced all Notre Dame players with a .471 batting average in her last 10 starts, added five RBI and a team-high eight runs scored. Kimmy Sullivan has added a .438 clip, six doubles, 11 RBI and seven runs.
Seven of Notre Dame’s nine regular starters have notched nine or more total hits over the past 10 starts.
Irish Against The ACCTaking into account all prior games, including those before joining the league, Notre Dame is a combined 169-62 (.732) against the current ACC membership.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame returns to Raleigh to face NC State for the first time since 2015, despite ACC Championship (2016) and ACC/Big Ten Challenge (2017) stops at Dail Softball Stadium since. NC State leads the all-time series 5-3.
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.