May 3, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame softball team welcomes No. 9 Louisville this weekend for the final BIG EAST Conference series at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish and Cardinals will square off in a doubleheader Saturday. First pitch is set for 4:04 p.m. Both games will be televised on ESPNU, with Joe Davis and Cheri Kempf calling the action.
The series closes Sunday with a 1 p.m. start, and will be streamed live on UND.com. The Irish will honor its five-member senior class prior to the start of Sunday's series finale. Jackie Bowe, Amy Buntin, Kathryn Lux, Brittany O'Donnell and Kelsey Thornton will all be recognized during the pregame festivities.
Notre Dame (39-11, 17-2 BIG EAST), winners of 13 of its last 14 games, will attempt to win its 14th BIG EAST regular season championship in 18 tries. Louisville (44-8, 17-2 BIG EAST) has won eight of its last 10 contests entering the weekend.
Notre Dame is a perfect 3-0 in games televised on the ESPN family of networks this season. The Irish outscored Boston College (March 2) and Pittsburgh (April 20) a combined 31-6 in its three prior appearances, all on ESPN3, in 2013.
Fans can follow live stats for this weekend's games via CBS GameTracker by visiting UND.com.
For updates throughout the weekend, follow the Irish on Twitter @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(39-11, 17-2 BIG EAST)
No. 9 Louisville Cardinals
(44-8, 17-2 BIG EAST; UL leads all-time series 13-10, 8-7 in BIG EAST)
Game Schedule (BIG EAST Regular Season Championship/No. 1 Seed At Stake)
Notre Dame vs. No. 9 Louisville - Saturday, 4:04 p.m./ESPNU
Notre Dame vs. No. 9 Louisville - Saturday, 6:30 p.m./ESPNU
Notre Dame vs. No. 9 Louisville - Sunday, 1 p.m./UND.com
IRISH SLAP HITS
Notre Dame has won all seven of its BIG EAST series during the 2013 regular season. The Irish have swept Seton Hall, Georgetown, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Connecticut, while picking up two out of three victories against Villanova and DePaul, to tie Louisville for first place in the conference at 17-2.
Pitcher Laura Winter earned BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career Monday on the strength of a .467 (7-for-15) performance at the plate last week. Winter led all Notre Dame players with two home runs, eight RBI, 13 total bases, a .867 slugging percentage and a .526 on-base percentage in five games against Connecticut and DePaul. Winter is already off to a 4-for-7 (.571) start with two home runs and four RBI this week following midweek wins over both Eastern and Western Michigan.
Head coach Deanna Gumpf became the third softball/baseball coach (joining Jake Kline and Paul Mainieri) to win 500 games at Notre Dame after an 11-1 victory over Connecticut in game two of an April 23 doubleheader.
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 1,016-449-3 (.692).
USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 25 Finalist Emilee Koerner leads the BIG EAST Conference with a .484 batting average, including a league-best .509 in conference play. Koerner also has the BIG EAST's top slugging percentage (.852) and on-base percentage (.544), along with the most doubles (21), hits (75) and total bases (132).
Notre Dame holds a 144-38 scoring edge over BIG EAST opponents through its first 19 conference games played this season, batting .355 as a team in league play. The Irish also have more doubles (26-13), home runs (26-13), RBI (129-37) and stolen bases (22-7) than the opposition during their 17-2 BIG EAST start.
Cassidy Whidden has reached base in nine consecutive games, the longest active streak among Irish players. Whidden is batting .471 with five RBI and a .679 OBP during the streak.
Winter Stands Tall At The Plate
One week removed from winning USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week, BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week and the College Sports Madness BIG EAST Softball Player of the Week honors, Laura Winter provided a fitting encore performance last week against Connecticut and DePaul.
The Notre Dame ace was 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA in 20.1 innings in the circle, walking none with 23 strikeouts. Winter made arguably an even bigger impact in the batter's box during the 4-1 Irish week.
Winter was 7-for-15 (.467 average) at the plate with two home runs, eight RBI and a .867 slugging percentage on her way to being named BIG EAST Player of the Week for the first time in her Notre Dame career.
After crushing a pair of homers during Wednesday's non-conference win at Western Michigan, the Irish junior is one long ball from tying Christine Lux and Heather Johnson (2010) for the single-season program record of 17 home runs.
Emi Becomes First ND 20 2B Hitter
Emilee Koerner's third-inning double to left field against Western Michigan Wednesday was the 20th of the season for the sensational sophomore outfielder, making her the first player in program history to hit 20 or more two-baggers in a single campaign.
The BIG EAST's leading hitter added a two-run double, number 21 of 2013, to opposite field in the top of the fifth inning to score the game-winning runs in Notre Dame's 6-1 victory over the Broncos.
Two Outs, No Problem!
While conventional wisdom says to become more selective with two outs on the scoreboard, the Notre Dame offense has thrived with two away this season, connecting on 125 of the team's 437 total hits (.292 batting average).
Emilee Koerner is batting an even .500 (19-for-38) during plate appearances with two outs, while 22 of Cassidy Whidden's 26 RBI have come with the Irish facing the final out of an inning.
Cards With Edge In Recent Series
Louisville holds a 13-10 edge in the all-time series against Notre Dame, including a 3-2 margin in the last five meetings.
The Irish downed the Cardinals in two of three games during the last BIG EAST series between the teams in April of 2011 at Melissa Cook Stadium (W, 8-5, 4-3; L, 6-9).
Notre Dame's 8-2 victory over Georgetown in game one April 3 was the 1,000th win in program history. The Irish needed only 1,449 games to reach the milestone, and have a .692 all-time winning percentage (1,016-449-3).
Head coaches Brian Boulac (1989-92, 135-90-2), Liz Miller (1993-2001, 377-156) and Deanna Gumpf (2002-present, 504-203-1) have been credited with all 1,016 team wins. Notre Dame has averaged over 40 wins per season (40.64) during its 25-year history.
#500 For Gumpf
Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf became the first Notre Dame softball head coach to record 500 career victories (504-203-1, .712) with a two-game sweep of Connecticut April 23.
Gumpf's squads have averaged exactly 42 wins 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.
ND All-Time Against The Top 25
The Irish have won 60 games against ranked opponents in the past 25 seasons. Below is a breakdown of Notre Dame victories over top 25 opponents in that span:
4-23-02 at #4 Nebraska W, 3-2
2-17-01 vs. #4 Washington W, 3-2
3-13-95 at #5 C St. Fullerton W, 1-0
5-21-99 vs. #5 Michigan W, 1-0
2-27-05 vs. #5 Tennessee W, 5-2
2-19-99 at #6 South Florida W, 2-0
3-18-00 vs. #6 Oklahoma W, 4-2
3-15-01 vs. #7 Fresno State W, 4-2
2-14-04 vs. #8 Nebraska W, 6-4
3-16-11 vs. #9 Oklahoma W, 2-1
3-27-92 vs. #9 S. Carolina W, 4-1
2-20-98 vs. #9 Kansas W, 7-2
3-12-09 vs. #9 Oklahoma W, 4-3
3-14-96 at #9 Florida State W, 1-0
2-26-95 vs. #10 Michigan W, 4-3 (9)
3-17-01 vs. #10 Ariz. State W, 5-1
4-19-01 at #10 DePaul W, 7-6
4-19-01 at #10 DePaul W, 5-1
3-16-06 vs. #10 Ariz. State W, 3-2
2-27-98 vs. #11 S.Carolina W, 5-2
5-11-07 vs. #12 DePaul W, 8-2
2-28-97 vs. #13 SW Louisiana St W, 4-2 (9)
5-19-01 vs. #13 DePaul W, 8-1
5-18-12 vs. #13 Hawai'i W, 7-3 (9)
3-3-96 vs. #14 Texas A&M W, 3-1
2-29-04 vs. #14 Nebraska W, 1-0
3-6-10 vs. #14 Ohio State W, 12-5
5-18-02 vs. #15 Ore. State W, 2-0
4-26-05 #15 Northwestern W, 4-3
3-18-00 vs. #16 La. Lafayette W, 4-2
3-30-08 *at #17 DePaul W, 2-0
5-8-09 at #17 Louisville W, 3-0
3-8-96 vs. #18 Ill.-Chicago W, 10-2
2-18-01 vs. #18 S. Carolina W, 1-0
5-2-02 #18 DePaul W, 3-1
4-13-04 at #18 Nebraska W, 2-0
5-21-05 vs. #18 NorthwesternW, 3-2
5-14-06 vs. #18 Louisville W, 1-0
5-3-09 *vs. #18 Louisville W, 7-4
3-24-96 #19 Indiana W, 4-0
3-24-96 #19 Indiana W, 4-3 (8)
2-13-05 at #19 Florida W, 4-2
5-9-09 vs. #19 DePaul W, 1-0
3-8-96 vs. #21 Okla. State W, 7-0
2-12-05 vs. #21 South Florida W, 5-1
4-26-00 #22 Illinois-Chicago W, 4-0
4-26-00 #22 Illinois-Chicago W, 7-1
5-18-00 vs. #22 Illinois-Chicago W, 2-0
5-16-02 vs. #22 Iowa W, 3-2
4-8-09 *vs. #22 DePaul W, 5-2
3-11-94 vs. #24 Rob. Morris W, 18-0
3-11-01 at #24 Cal St. Northridge W, 5-1
3-11-01 at #24 Cal St. Northridge W, 7-3
3-8-08 vs. #24 Virginia Tech W, 2-1
2-25-12 at #24 N. Carolina W, 6-5
2-26-12 at #24 N. Carolina W, 9-3
3-3-95 vs. #25 Minnesota W, 8-0
2-17-02 vs. #25 South Florida W, 5-3
4-17-10 *at #25 Louisville W, 5-0
4-18-10 *at #25 Louisville W, 3-1
(*) indicates conference contest