May 4, 2017
by Tony Jones
Notre Dame vs. Boston College
May 5-7, 2017
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Indiana
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(30-19, 11-10 ACC in 2017)
Boston College Eagles
(30-19, 13-7 ACC in 2017)
Notre Dame Weekly Schedule
Friday, May 5
Notre Dame vs. Boston College – 6 p.m. (ET)/ACC Network Extra
Saturday, May 6
Notre Dame vs. Boston College – 3 p.m. (ET)/ACC Network Extra
Sunday, May 7
Notre Dame vs. Boston College – Noon (ET)/ACC Network Extra
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – One final regular season series awaits the University of Notre Dame softball team this weekend. The Irish say farewell to Melissa Cook Stadium for 2017, and their four seniors Dana Bouquet, Rachel Nasland, Kimmy Sullivan and Karley Wester, in a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) series against Boston College. First pitch of the conference set is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. (ET) on ACC Network Extra.
Irish Slap Hits• Notre Dame has amassed a 1,176-513-3 (.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.
• A game-winning two-run double down the line at third by Morgan Reed capped a late Irish comeback to stun Butler 4-3 on Wednesday in the final 2017 nonconference game at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish claimed their 13th win this season as a result of their final plate appearance of a game, including their ninth victory after entering the seventh inning tied or trailing.
• The Irish have won their last 28 nonconference midweek games at Melissa Cook Stadium dating back to the 2013 season.
• An RBI double by Sara White in the bottom of the sixth inning lifted Notre Dame to a 6-5 win over No. 24 Arkansas on April 29 at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish claimed their first home win over a Southeastern Conference (SEC) foe in program history with the victory. Notre Dame softball raised more than $42,000 during its seventh annual Strikeout Cancer series.
• Notre Dame erupted for eight runs over the first three innings, including a pair of three-run home runs, to defeat Northwestern 10-2 in five innings on April 25. It was the first Irish win over the Wildcats in six series trips to Drysdale Field in Evanston, Illinois.
• Notre Dame has won eight straight games against Boston College dating back to the 2013 season. The Irish and Eagles were formerly foes in the BIG EAST Conference from 1996-2005, with Notre Dame joining the ACC in 2014.
• Irish softball is one of only two Notre Dame varsity athletic programs to have never posted a losing record. The softball team clinched its 29th straight season with a .500 record or better with a 6-5 win over Western Michigan on April 19. 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.
Reed’s Heroics Cap Irish Nonconference Home ScheduleA game-winning two-run double down the line at third by Morgan Reed was the latest clutch hit for the Notre Dame junior infielder. Reed's walk-off rip capped a late Irish comeback to stun Butler 4-3 on an emotional Wednesday night in the final 2017 nonconference game at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Notre Dame wore its navy blue uniforms with orange accents in honor of Brody Stephens, an 8-year-old two-time leukemia survivor who died on April 29 as a result of a viral complication from his battle with pediatric cancer. Along with sporting their traditional Strikeout Cancer jerseys, belts and stirrups, the Irish adorned the Melissa Cook Stadium backstop with the saying `Brody Strong' in memory of the New Palestine native and Riley Hospital for Children patient.
Cardiac Irish Strike AgainWith an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning that lifted Notre Dame past Butler on Wednesday, the Irish have now won 13 games as a result of their final plate appearance thus far in 2017.
Notre Dame has earned nine victories in the seventh inning or later after entering the frame either trailing or tied, including four bottom of the seventh walk-offs. The Irish have added three run-rule walk-offs in the bottom of fifth innings during home games.
The Irish opened the season with a win thanks to a bottom of the seventh wild pitch to defeat Weber State 2-1 on Feb. 10. Katie Marino struck for Notre Dame on Feb. 25, delivering a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning of a 5-4 win over No. 4 Oklahoma. A fielder's choice and error in the top of the eighth capped the Notre Dame tournament comebacks during a 5-3 win over FIU on March 4.
At the conclusion of a wild three-game conference series at Georgia Tech, Morgan Reed established a Notre Dame single-game record with eight RBI thanks to a grand slam in the top of the eighth in an 8-6 win over the Yellow Jackets on March 12. The opening Irish home game of 2017 against Michigan State (March 22) ended at 11-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to an RBI single from Madison Heide. Notre Dame's homestand featured a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning that secured a 9-1 Irish win in game two against Virginia Tech on March 24.
Melissa Rochford, whose two-run double with two outs in the top of the seventh inning tied the aforementioned FIU contest, struck again in the opening game of a three-game series at Louisville on April 1. Rochford's two-run single with two away in the top of the seventh vaulted Notre Dame to a 5-4 win over the Cardinals. Rochford followed up in the subsequent ACC series against North Carolina on April 8, singling in the bottom of the seventh frame for a 2-1 Notre Dame win.
Kimmy Sullivan continued her hot hitting at Melissa Cook Stadium on April 12, depositing a walk-off, three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the fifth inning of a 13-4 win over IUPUI. Reed returned with a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning later in the week during game one of a series at NC State on April 14, with the big fly ultimately guiding Notre Dame over the Wolfpack 4-3. Caitlyn Brooks connected on the ultimate game-winning RBI double to score Reed from second in the 10-2 win at Northwestern on April 25.
Reed struck for the third time in the seventh inning or later in 2017 on Wednesday night, ripping a full-count pitch down the line at third base to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning in a 4-3 win over Butler.
Irish Again Knock Strikeout Cancer Out Of The ParkThe seventh annual Strikeout Cancer series and weekend for the Notre Dame softball program upheld its tradition of fun, fellowship and funds raised for pediatric cancer patients. Irish softball accrued some $42,000 from the event’s Friday trivia night and Saturday doubleheader against No. 24 Arkansas, with proceeds directly benefitting families of children battling cancer.
Since the inception of the Strikeout Cancer initiative in 2011, Notre Dame softball has raised more than $200,000 for patients fighting pediatric cancer.
Celebrating The Seniors This WeekendThis weekend’s series against Boston College marks the final regular season games in the careers of Notre Dame’s four-member Class of 2017; Dana Bouquet, Rachel Nasland, Kimmy Sullivan and Karley Wester. The Irish senior class has compiled a 156-60 (.722) combined record at Notre Dame entering the series, reaching three NCAA Championship Regional finals and two ACC Championship games thus far in their respective careers.
Living By The Home Run Has Been Prosperous For The IrishNotre Dame has logged a 14-6 record in 2017 in games in which it has hit a home run, including a 7-2 mark when leaving the yard two or more times in a single contest. Of the 31 total Irish home runs this season, the most damage has been done by way of the long ball with runners aboard.
Notre Dame has hit 22 home runs with runners on the bases this season, including one grand slam. The Irish are 13-2 in games in which hitters have hit at least one two-run home run in 2017.
Irish Offense At HomeOver the first 17 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 .346 as a team inside their friendly confines, outscoring opponents 101-80 with 94 RBI at home. Seven of the nine regular Notre Dame starters are batting .280 or above in home games. Along with 33 walks and being hit by pitch 11 times, the Irish compiled a .400 on-base percentage over their first 17 home starts.
Irish Against The ACCTaking into account all prior games, including those before joining the league, Notre Dame is a combined 172-65 (.726) against the current ACC membership.
Irish Against The OppositionNotre Dame owns a 25-6 (.806) record in its all-time series with Boston College, dating back to the first meeting between the teams in BIG EAST Conference play in 1996. The Irish are 20-5 against the Eagles in regular season conference matchups split between the BIG EAST and ACC, including a perfect 6-0 since joining the ACC in 2014.
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.