April 18, 2017
by Tony Jones
Notre Dame vs. Western Michigan
April 19, 2017
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Indiana
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(26-15 in 2017)
Western Michigan Broncos
(16-23 in 2017)
Notre Dame Weekly Schedule
Wednesday, April 19
Notre Dame vs. Western Michigan – 6 p.m. (ET)/ACC Network Extra
Saturday, April 22
Notre Dame vs. Virginia – 1 p.m. (ET)/ACC Network Extra
Notre Dame vs. Virginia – 3 p.m. (ET)/ACC Network Extra
Sunday, April 23
Notre Dame vs. Virginia – Noon (ET)/ACC Network Extra
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A four-game homestand for the University of Notre Dame softball team is set to begin on Wednesday, as long-time regional foe Western Michigan returns to Melissa Cook Stadium for the third straight season in a nonconference tilt. The 6 p.m. (ET) contest will air live on ACC Network Extra.
Irish Slap Hits• Notre Dame has amassed a 1,172-509-3 (.697) 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 fourth straight Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) series by sweeping NC State 4-3, 5-0 and 5-2 last weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Irish have won 10 of their last 12 games in ACC play dating back to March 24.
• Junior infielder Morgan Reed delivered a home run in all three games against NC State, striking in the seventh inning in games one and two and in the very first inning of game three. Reed has tied a career-high with five home runs thus far in 2017.
• Notre Dame established a pair of season-highs on April 12 against IUPUI, scoring 13 runs on 16 hits in six innings during a 13-4 win at Melissa Cook Stadium.
• Senior outfielder/captain Karley Wester successfully stole her 117th career base in the bottom of the second inning against IUPUI on April 12 to pass baseball great Steve Stanley (1999-2002) as the all-time Notre Dame softball/baseball leader in stolen bases. Wester also has the most hits (301) and runs scored (210) in Irish softball history, with all three totals ranking among the top 10 of active players in NCAA Division I softball.
• The Irish have won their last 26 nonconference midweek games at Melissa Cook Stadium dating back to the 2013 season.
• Notre Dame and Western Michigan have met in all but one season dating back to 2003, with the 2014 contest between the teams canceled due to weather. The Irish have won 17 of the last 19 games against the Broncos in that span, including eight matchups on the Notre Dame campus.
• 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.
Relentless Irish Sweep NC StateEarly offense set the tone for Notre Dame in its Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) series finale at NC State on Saturday. The Irish pitching staff took the ball and ran with it, bringing Notre Dame across the finish line with a 5-2 game three win and series sweep of the Wolfpack.
The Irish completed their first ACC series sweep at NC State with the three weekend wins, avenging a series setback to the Wolfpack in 2015 at Dail Softball Stadium. Notre Dame’s pitching staff held the powerful NC State batting order to five runs over 21 innings, posting a 1.67 team ERA.
Irish Finding Their Groove In ACC Second HalfA slow 1-5 start to ACC play did not deter Notre Dame to open the conference slate. If anything, the beginning of the 2017 league docket vaulted the Irish toward a strong finish in the conference’s second half.
Notre Dame is 10-2 in its last 12 ACC games, which has included series victories against Virginia Tech (sweep), Louisville, North Carolina and NC State (sweep). The Irish are batting a cumulative .339 over their last 12 league contests, outhitting opponents 116-71 and outscoring foes 62-34.
Perhaps most important has been the emergence of Notre Dame’s pitching staff in recent conference games. Irish pitchers have logged a 2.70 team ERA in their last 12 ACC starts, and have limited opponents to a .234 batting average against.
Reed Goes Yard In The ClutchNotre Dame’s three wins at NC State can be directly tied to the timely home runs of Morgan Reed. Rising to the occasion as the most consistent Irish run producer of 2017, Reed delivered in clutch situations.
Facing a 3-1 deficit with one out in the top of the seventh inning in game one against the Wolfpack, Reed hit her second go-ahead home run of the year in a final inning with a three-run shot to down NC State 4-3. The junior infielder added a two-run shot in the top of the seventh in the nightcap to pad a 5-0 Notre Dame win before blasting off with a two-run bomb in the top of the first inning of the Saturday series finale of a 5-2 Irish victory.
Reed has already established career-highs with five home runs and 38 RBI in her first 41 starts of 2017.
Ali Wester Scores All Day For IrishAli Wester led all ACC players in runs scored during a 5-0 Notre Dame week that saw the Irish score a league-high 37 runs (7.4 runs per game) against Detroit Mercy, IUPUI and NC State. The sophomore slap hitter batted .562 with nine hits, including a double, three RBI, two stolen bases and an ACC-best eight runs scored. Wester ultimately came around to score in an impressive seven of the 10 plate appearances in which she officially reached safely during the week, and her eight runs overall were more than two entire ACC squads scored over the course of the week.
After 41 games, Wester leads all Notre Dame players with a .400 batting average, 58 hits and 36 runs scored. She’s reached safely in 13 of her last 14 starts dating back to March 24 against Virginia Tech, and has scored a total of 15 runs in those contests.
Brooks Finds Her Offensive Stride In AprilDating back to the first game of an ACC series at Louisville on April 1, Caitlyn Brooks has emerged as one of Notre Dame’s most complete hitters. Brooks batted .405 with a home run and team-high 11 RBI over her last 11 starts, slugging at a .541 clip and reaching base at a .452 mark.
Brooks was 6-for-10 (.600) with four RBI to anchor the Notre Dame lineup in the series sweep at NC State last weekend.
KB In Charge In The CircleReigning ACC Pitcher of the Week Katie Beriont spun her second straight stellar conference start on April 14 at NC State, tossing a four-hit shutout in a 5-0 win over the Wolfpack. Beriont’s previous ACC start was a seven-inning no-hitter, the first of her career, against North Carolina on April 8.
In her last 11 appearances (eight starts) dating back to an 11-3 win in five innings against Michigan State on March 22, Beriont is 7-0 with a 2.30 ERA and a .230 batting average against. Opponents have been held to five extra-base hits against the junior southpaw in her last 42.2 innings on the mound.
Irish Offense At HomeOver the first 10 home games of the 2017 season, Notre Dame has continued red hot production at the plate inside Melissa Cook Stadium. Irish players have batted a combined .382 as a team inside their friendly confines, outscoring opponents 68-26 with 63 RBI during the 9-1 start at home.
All nine regular Notre Dame starters are batting .286 or above in home games, including eight players who are hitting at a .313 clip or higher. Along with 25 walks and being hit by pitch seven times, the Irish compiled a .442 on-base percentage over their first 10 home starts.
Irish Against The OppositionNotre Dame owns a 28-6 (.824) advantage in its all-time series with Western Michigan, dating back to the first meeting between the teams in 1992. The Irish are 14-3 at home against the Broncos in series history, including a 5-1 mark 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.