April 17, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Looking to continue its ascent up the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) standings this weekend, the University of Notre Dame softball team travels to Charlottesville, Va. for the first time for a three-game series with Virginia. First pitch on Friday between the Irish and the Cavaliers is set for 4 p.m. (ET), with game two of a doubleheader tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday's series finale is set to begin at noon at The Park in Charlottesville.
No. 21/22 Notre Dame (26-9, 6-4 ACC) enters the weekend series with Virginia as winner of eight of its past 10 games after blitzing Toledo 17-2 in five innings on Wednesday night at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish scored 12 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, a frame that saw 15 Notre Dame players come to the plate and scatter a total of eight hits.
The Irish have won four of their last five ACC contests after splitting a pair of games with national top 10 Florida State on Sunday, and enter the weekend as the ACC leader in batting average (.345), doubles (72, 2.06 doubles per game leads the NCAA) and slugging percentage (.521).
Notre Dame has won all eight of its previous meetings with Virginia, with this weekend being the first meetings between the teams to not take place on a neutral field. The Irish claimed an 11-3 decision in five innings and a 9-0 win over the Cavaliers on Feb. 26-27, 2010 at the Cavalier Invitational in Newport News, Va.
Fans can follow live stats for weekend's games via CBS GameTracker by visiting UND.com.
No. 21/22 Notre Dame at Virginia
April 18-19, 2014
The Park (475)
No. 21/22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(26-9 in 2014, 6-4 in the ACC)
(6-35 in 2014, 1-19 in the ACC; 0-8 all-time against ND)
IRISH SLAP HITS
Notre Dame capped the historic first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) game at Melissa Cook Stadium with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, defeating No. 7/8 Florida State 8-5 on Sunday. The Seminoles scored a dramatic comeback of their own, 9-7 in nine innings, in the nightcap to split the series.
Notre Dame's victory in game one over Florida State was the program's 22nd all-time win against a top 10 opponent, and the team's highest ranked opponent defeated since a 3-2 win over No. 4 Nebraska on April 23, 2002.
Head Coach Deanna Gumpf surpassed former baseball coach Paul Mainieri for second place all-time in baseball/softball wins at Notre Dame with career victory number 534 in Wednesday's non-conference victory over Toledo. Gumpf's squads have averaged more than 41 wins per season during her 13-year tenure.
The Irish outscored Florida State 15-14 during the twin bill, and the team's 15 total runs were the most allowed to a single opponent by the Seminoles this season. Notre Dame scored eight of its runs off Florida State ace Lacey Waldrop, who had only surrendered a total of 40 runs (0.87 ERA) in 176.2 innings pitched this season leading into the series.
Freshman outfielder Karley Wester was named one of the top 25 finalists for the NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award on Thursday. Wester is the Notre Dame team leader with a .440 batting average, a .496 on-base percentage, 51 hits, 20 stolen bases (in 23 attempts) and five outfield assists.
The 17 runs scored by Notre Dame in its 17-2 win over Toledo on Wednesday tied a Melissa Cook Stadium record, previously established on April 9, 2009 in a 17-9 win over Valparaiso. Notre Dame's 17 runs, 16 hits (also tied a stadium record) and 13 RBI each set season-highs for the Irish offense.
Notre Dame entered its ninth consecutive week ranked in the national Top 25 after being tabbed No. 21 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball and No. 22 in the USA TODAY/NFCA Coaches polls on Tuesday.
Historic Home Win Over Toledo
A total of 11 players recorded at least one base hit, and after scoring 12 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Notre Dame shut the door on Toledo 17-2 in five innings on Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium.
The 17 runs scored by the No. 21/22 Irish (26-9) tied a Melissa Cook Stadium record, previously established on April 9, 2009 in a 17-9 win over Valparaiso. Notre Dame's 17 runs, 16 hits (also tied a stadium record) and 13 RBI were also season-highs.
Senior captain Chloe Saganowich led all Notre Dame players with seven RBI on the day, tying a school record held by Christine Lux ('10) and Meagan Ruthrauff ('06). Saganowich has now logged five or more RBI twice (five against Michigan State on April 2) in her first six home games this season.
Irish Win ACC Home Debut
Notre Dame opened the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) era at Melissa Cook Stadium in grand style, breaking a 5-5 tie with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to defeat No. 7/8 Florida State 8-5 on Sunday.
Florida State became the highest ranked league foe that Notre Dame has ever defeated, as well as the highest ranked visiting team to fall on the Notre Dame campus. The Irish have now won their conference home opening game in four straight seasons.
With the series split with the Seminoles, the Irish are now 4-4 all-time against ranked league opponents at Melissa Cook Stadium.
One Win Away From 100...
Senior Laura Winter inched closer to becoming the first pitcher in program history to reach the 100 career win plateau, logging victory number 99 on Sunday against Florida State.
Winter earned the win in game one of the doubleheader, surrendering five runs in a complete game effort against a Florida State offense that averages nearly seven runs per game. She added an inning in relief in game two against the Seminoles, striking out two Florida State hitters.
The Offensive Juggernaut Rolls On
In the most recent installment of the NCAA national statistical rankings for the 2014 season that was released on Monday, Notre Dame remained the top team in the nation in doubles per game for the sixth straight week. Through 35 contests, the Irish have averaged 2.06 two-baggers per game to pace all of Division I softball, and remain the only program in the country averaging at least two doubles per contest. Junior All-American outfielder Emilee Koerner checks in as the Notre Dame leader with 16 doubles in 2014, tied with Florida State's Maddie O'Brien for the top total in the ACC.
With a .345 team clip, the Irish are among the national top 10 in batting average, checking in with eighth-best average in the country. Notre Dame led the NCAA with a .343 final average in 2010.
Notre Dame also assumed the ACC lead in slugging percentage this week with a .521 clip, which ranks in the top 20 among all teams in the NCAA.
Saganowich Driving In Everyone
Senior captain Chloe Saganowich has been an RBI machine for the Notre Dame offense in her past 10 starts. Saganowich is batting .375 with three doubles, one home run and 19 RBI in her last 32 at-bats in the eight-hole of the Irish lineup.
The Treasure Island, Fla. native tied a program record with seven RBI in Wednesday's non-conference win over Toledo at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Scoring In Bunches Against FSU
A major key to Notre Dame's success during Sunday's doubleheader with Florida State was the team's ability to score multiple runs in an inning. Entering the matchup, such a scenario would have seemed a bit farfetched, as the Seminoles opened last week leading the entire ACC with a 1.20 team ERA.
The Irish posted four innings where they scored two or more runs against Florida State pitching, including a five-run bottom of the sixth frame in game two. In their first 45 games this season, Florida State had only allowed two or more runs for an entire game on 11 occasions.
Wester Does It All At Top Of The Order
During Notre Dame's 3-1 ACC slate last week, there was no hotter hitter in the Irish batting order than freshman outfielder Karley Wester. Wester, now firmly entrenched in the Notre Dame leadoff spot, batted a spellbinding .750 (12-for-16) at the plate, and had three or more hits in three of her four starts.
In fact, of Wester's 12 hits against North Carolina and Florida State, seven were officially ruled infield singles. The speedster from Huntington Beach, Calif. did damage once she reached the base paths as well, stealing four bases and scoring five runs for the Irish offense.
Wester, Notre Dame's team leader with a .440 batting average, 51 hits and 20 stolen bases overall in 2014, is batting .613 (19-for-31) in her last eight games since moving to the top of the Irish lineup.
All Regulars Over .300
Notre Dame's team endurance in the batter's box has been on full display throughout the season. A total of 17 double-digit hit games, eight double-digit run games and 108 extra base hits are among the highlights of the first 35 games from the Irish offense, and it has all been on the strength of a balanced lineup.
All nine regular Notre Dame starters, who have each started at least 23 games in 2014, are currently batting .300 or above, making the Irish the only team in the ACC with its entire regular starting lineup over the benchmark. Six Notre Dame starters are batting .320 or greater through 35 games.
Coach Gumpf Moves To Second All-Time In Wins
Wednesday's 17-2 win in five innings over Toledo marked the 534th career victory for head coach Deanna Gumpf. The 13th-year Irish skipper is just the third coach in school history to win at least 530 games on the baseball and softball diamonds.
Gumpf, the Irish softball career wins leader, passed former baseball coach Paul Mainieri (1995-2006) for second place all-time (533 wins) with the triumph over the Rockets. Legendary Notre Dame baseball manager Jake Kline (1934-75) won 558 career games in his 42 seasons at the helm of the Irish.
Irish In The ACC
Notre Dame officially opened its tenure in the ACC at Georgia Tech on March 8 after compiling a 297-53 record (.849) in the BIG EAST Conference, winning 13 regular-season and four tournament championship titles in 18 years. The Irish won the most BIG EAST games of any league team during that span.
Following Sunday's win against Florida State, the team's first ever ACC conference victory at Melissa Cook Stadium, the Irish are now a combined 111-26 (.810) all-time against the current league membership.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is a perfect 8-0 in the all-time series against Virginia, in a series that dates back to the 1996 season (a 5-2 Notre Dame win on March 12, 1996).
The Irish have outscored the Cavaliers a combined 51-11 in the previous eight meetings between the teams.