April 26, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Following a two-game sweep at Villanova last week, Notre Dame hits the road again for a BIG EAST Conference softball doubleheader at USF on Wednesday.
The Irish will then return to campus for three contests versus St. John's (April 30-May 1) to kickoff a six-game homestand.
With a 9-1 BIG EAST record, Notre Dame will be jockeying with USF and its 12-1 league mark for a position atop the conference standings. USF is tied with DePaul for first place in the regular-season race.
The Irish are third in the league standings and their 33-8 (.805) overall record is the best of any other squad.
USF swept Connecticut in a three-game series last week as pitcher Sara Nevins went 2-0 in the circle with a save. Nevins did not give up a run in 11.1 innings of work while striking out 11 batters. Her program-record eight saves leads the nation.
During their last outing, the Red Storm dropped a home doubleheader to Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(33-8 overall / 9-1 BIG EAST)
(32-16 overall / 12-1 BIG EAST)
USF Softball Stadium Tampa, Fla.
Wednesday, April 27 11:00 a.m. (ET) / 1:00 p.m.
TV: Bright House Sports Network (Tampa)
Live stats: UND.com
Series: Tied, 10-10 (6-5 BIG EAST - Notre Dame)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W5
First meeting: 3.26.93 - USF, 3-2 (8)
Last meeting: 4.11.10 - Notre Dame, 2-0
St. John's Red Storm
(19-26 overall / 6-9 BIG EAST)
Melissa Cook Stadium Notre Dame, Ind.
Saturday, April 30 12:00 p.m. (ET) / 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 1 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Live video / audio: UND.com
Live stats / blog: UND.com
Series: Notre Dame, 31-1 (30-1 BIG EAST)
Series streak: Notre Dame, W5
First meeting: 4.21.96 - Notre Dame, 2-0
Last meeting: 5.7.09 - Notre Dame, 5-1
IRISH ALERT text message updates: UND.com
Twitter: @und_com / @ndsoftball / @ndcoachgumpf
Facebook: facebook.com/unddotcom, facebook.com/notredameathletics
Notre Dame is 9-1 in true road contests this season, with the only loss coming at Cal State Fullerton (March 16).
Wednesday's game at USF will pit the league's best hitting against the top pitching corps ... the Irish top the BIG EAST with a .357 batting average in league play and boast three of the top five hitters in Sadie Pitzenberger (1st - .609), Heather Johnson (2nd - .531) and Alexia Clay (5th - .500) ... Johnson leads all batters by slugging at a 1.281 rate ... USF's 0.67 ERA is the best in the league ... Notre Dame also paces the league in slugging pct. (.631), on-base pct. (436) and walks allowed (13).
One week after freshman Laura Winter saw her nine-game winning streak from the circle come to end, she was nearly flawless in the opener at Villanova (April 21) with nine strikeouts while taking a one-hit shutout into the seventh inning ... Winter went on to collect her fourth save of the season in the second game.
Johnson's 21- game hitting streak, which tied the second-best jaunt in school history, came to an end in game one at Villanova ... but she made up for it in the latter contest of the twinbill with her second five-RBI output of the season ... Johnson's streak was the nation's second-longest this season entering the doubleheader ... she is currently batting .385 with 50 hits, 50 RBI, seven doubles and 11 home runs for a .692 slugging pct.
Last Meeting With USF (April 11, 2010): Jody Valdivia hurled a one-hitter with six strikeouts in 7.0 innings to lead Notre Dame past visiting USF, 2-0 ... Valdivia's 13th shutout of the season helped the Irish sweep the three-game series from to run the team's winning streak over the Bulls to five contests following a two-game sweep in 2009 ... Valdivia finished the series with two wins and an ERA of 1.00 in 14.0 innings of action ... Notre Dame out-hit USF, 3-1, and both of its runs were scored on sacrifice flies.
Last Meeting With St. John's (May 9, 2010): A decisive 10-run sixth inning capped off a comeback win for Notre Dame over St. John's at Red Storm Field ... the BIG EAST Conference contest was tied, 2-2, heading into the frame before the Irish scratched across the double-digit total on nine hits along with four RBI by Heather Johnson ... Notre Dame defeated the Red Storm, 12-2, in six innings.