May 11, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - After earning a share of the 2010 BIG EAST Conference regular season title, No. 24 Notre Dame heads to Louisville's Ulmer Stadium as the league's second-seeded squad for the eight-team championship showdown May 13-15.
The Irish will face seventh-seeded Providence at 4:00 p.m. (ET) on Thursday in first-round action.
Notre Dame and DePaul tied for the 2010 regular-season title with identical 18-3 conference marks. The Blue Demons were awarded the No. 1 seed after winning the season series between the two schools.
Last season, DePaul edged out Notre Dame for the regular-season title but the Irish and Blue Demons met in title game of the BIG EAST Championship with Notre Dame dealing DePaul a 1-0 defeat.
Among this year's BIG EAST Championship field, Notre Dame (6) has won the most tournament titles, followed by DePaul (1), Louisville (1) and Providence (1).
DePaul (7-3) and Louisville (7-3) also have the best winning percentage (.700) in championship play. Notre Dame has the next best percentage among this year's field at 30-15 (.667).
In Notre Dame's first season of BIG EAST Conference competition (1996), Liz Miller guided her team to the league's South Division title with a 19-1 record. When the Irish first joined the conference, they faced each divisional team in a pair of doubleheaders over the course of a two-day weekend. The formula changed in 1998, as the games were dropped to just a single doubleheader followed by a solo contest the next day. The conference adopted its current format in 1999, which pits each team in a single-day doubleheader.
Notre Dame is currently 243-46 (.841) in BIG EAST Conference regular-season competition. They finished the 1999 (16-0) and 2001 (20-0) conference schedules with perfect records and have claimed the regular-season title in 12 of the last 15 seasons.
Notre Dame broke through with its first BIG EAST Tournament title in 1999 led by the event's Most Outstanding Player, Jennifer Sharron. The Irish repeated in 2000, then fell to fourth in 2001 before claiming the title in 2002 and 2003. The 2003 team pounded out 21 runs during the tournament and earned the title on Andrea Loman's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against Villanova. Loman would go on to earn the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award. The 2006 season produced another championship, as the Irish saddled the strong pitching of Most Outstanding Player Heather Booth to hoist the hardware. It was Notre Dame's fifth BIG EAST Tournament crown, and was followed by a runner-up finish in 2007. Notre Dame brought home the league trophy once again in 2009. In all, Notre Dame has posted a record of 30-15 (.667) over the course of 14 league tournaments.
Notre Dame is one of only three BIG EAST teams that have won at least 18 league games in a single season. The Irish have accomplished the feat on three occasions since 2001, after first reaching the 18-win mark in 1996 then again in 2010. In 2009, both Notre Dame (19-4) and Louisville (19-5) reached the 19-win mark. DePaul won 18 games in 2010.
Notre Dame has seen a team member earn the BIG EAST Conference's top player award on eight occasions. Melanie Alkire won the award in 1999 and 2000, followed by Lizzy Lemire (2001), Jarrah Myers (2002), Andrea Loman (2003) and Megan Ciolli (2004). Meghan Murray also was a two-time honoree, winning the league's top award in 1996 and 1997.
Six players have earned the league's Pitcher of the Year award, five have garnered Rookie of the Year nods, and the coaching staff has been named the top in the conference on five occasions. All-BIG EAST accolades have been passed out to Irish players on 93 occasions since 1996.
BIG EAST One-Hitters ...
The BIG EAST Conference has sponsored a softball championship tournament since 1990.
The top eight teams in the final regular-season conference standings advance to the championship, and the winner of the now single-elimination tournament receives the conference's automatic bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
Notre Dame has won the league championship title six times, with each of the six victories coming in the last eleven seasons ... the Irish joined the BIG EAST in 1996.
Two of Notre Dame's most notable tournament runs occurred at the Salem, Va., site ... in 2002, the Irish rallied from a first-day loss to win four straight games to claim the tournament title in Deanna Gumpf's first season ... the next season the Irish utilized a walk-off home run by Andrea Loman in the bottom of the ninth inning to capture their second straight league title ... bolstered by that home run, Loman became the third BIG EAST player to earn the tournament's Most Outstanding Player trophy two times (UConn's Bridgett McCaffery and Janna Venice also earned the award twice) and joined McCaffery as just the second BIG EAST player to claim the award in back-to-back tournaments.
In 2006, behind the strong pitching of senior hurler Heather Booth, the Irish won their three tournament games over Providence, Pittsburgh and No. 18 Louisville by the combined score of 10-1 ... Booth started and threw complete games in all three games of the tournament, including a one-hit shutout of No. 18 Louisville in the championship game ... for her efforts, Booth was named the 2006 Most Outstanding Player.
The 2007 BIG EAST Championship was hosted in South Bend, Ind., for the third time in as many seasons ... the tournament was played at the Belleville Softball Complex.
Notre Dame beat three teams - St. John's, No. 17 Louisville and No. 19 DePaul - without allowing an earned run en route to claiming the program's sixth BIG EAST Tournament title in 2009 ... not only did Notre Dame hand Louisville just its second home loss of the season, but the Irish became the only team to blank the Cardinals on the year ... it was the first time Notre Dame beat ranked opponents in two consecutive contests since 2005 and the first time the Irish beat a pair of top-20 teams on consecutive tries since 2000 ... Brittney Bargar, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, earned two shutout wins while giving up eight hits.
Irish Record vs. Opponents in BIG EAST Championship vs. Boston College - 3-1 vs. Connecticut - 5-4 vs. DePaul - 2-0 vs. Louisville - 2-2 vs. Pittsburgh - 1-0 vs. Providence - 2-0 vs. Rutgers - 1-1 vs. Seton Hall - 2-5 vs. St. John's - 1-0 vs. Syracuse - 2-0 vs. Villanova - 6-1 vs. Virginia Tech - 2-1--
Join UND.com for a live in-game chat on the Softball Gameday Central page for each of this week's contests. In-game Twitter updates (@NDSoftball) and IRISH ALERT text-messaging services (UND.com) are also great ways to follow Notre Dame softball. Live stats will be available at UND.com.
BIGEAST.tv will provide live video coverage of the four quarterfinal games. A professional production with play-by-play will be available for all four games on Thursday (May 13).
The semifinals and championship game will be televised live on CBS College Sports.
No. 24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(44-9 overall / 18-3 BIG EAST)
BIG EAST Conference Championship
Ulmer Stadium Louisville, Ky.
Thursday-Friday May 13-15
Notre Dame enters the tournament leading the nation in batting average (.352) ... the Irish are second in doubles/game (1.81) while ranking third in slugging percentage (.618) and fielding pct. (.980) ... the Irish are seventh in triples/game (0.38), 10th in win-loss pct. (.830), 12th in scoring (6.64) and home runs/game (1.38).
Heather Johnson is fifth nationally with 1.25 RBI/game ... Jody Valdivia is third with 35 victories and fourth with 15 shutouts ... Sadie Pitzenberger is the sixth-toughest to strikeout, fanning once every 28.5 at-bats.
In BIG EAST play, the Irish rank first in slugging percentage (.635), runs scored (150), RBI (134), doubles (46), home runs (31), and total bases (330).
A quick glance at the record book indicates that Notre Dame is poised to make a run at a number of single-season bests ... the Irish already reset the single-season scoring mark with 352 runs through 53 games in 2010 (the 2002 squad scored 318 times in 61 games) ... with 322 RBI, this season's team is the first ever to break the 300-mark ... the 73 home runs is a school record ... two more doubles are needed to tied the record of 98 ... the 825 total bases set a new record ... if its respective trends continue, Notre Dame is also on pace to break the school records for batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and fielding percentage.
Christine Lux finished her BIG EAST regular season career with 66 RBI in league play for the league record ... she tied the mark for career home runs (24) in league play ... Lux is the only player in BIG EAST history to record 60+ runs, 80+ hits and 60+ RBI in a career ... she put her mark in the BIG EAST record book for career RBI (1st - 66), home runs (t-1st - 24), runs scored (3rd - 61), walks (t-7th - 33) and doubles (t-8th - 17).
Katie Fleury (51) is within reach of the school record for runs in a single season (52 - set by Jarrah Myers in 2002).
Sadie Pitzenberger (16) is one double away from joining three others (Katie Laing, Lizzy Lemire and Jenn Giampaolo) on top of the single-season chart.
Heather Johnson (66) set the Irish single-season record in RBI.
Jody Valdivia is tied with Terri Kobata with 15 shutouts this season ... Kobata accomplished the feat in 1994.
Head coach Deanna Gumpf has a career record of 376-162-1 (.697) in nine seasons with the Irish ... she is one win away from matching Liz Miller's school-record win total of 377, also achieved in nine seasons.
Tit for Tat ...
Notre Dame enters the BIG EAST Tournament on a nine-game winning streak ... the Irish previously posted winning streaks of 9, 11 and 12-games earlier this season ... 10 of Notre Dame's 18 league wins lasted less than seven innings ... Kelsey Thornton has stolen one base in each of the last four games ... her 16 swipes in 2010 is tied for 11th all-time in a single-season ... Heather Johnson's slugging pct. of .766 is currently second all-time in a single season for a Notre Dame player ... she led all BIG EAST Conference players with 31 RBI and three sacrifice flies in league action ... Jody Valdivia finished the regular season with a school-record 35 wins ... her 255 strikeouts rank fourth in a single-season for an Irish pitcher... she posted a 16-1 mark from the circle in BIG EAST Conference play ... the win total is the second-highest in league history ... Valdivia has won 26 of her last 27 league decisions, the best two-season stretch in league history (regular season only) ... Valdivia has won eight straight (six against league foes) heading into the tournament ... her 14 complete league games in 2010 tied her for fourth all-time in that category ... she led the BIG EAST with a 1.34 ERA and 93 strikeouts in league play ... Sadie Pitzenberger has been walked only twice this season (one intentional) to expand her career streak between unintentional walks to 273 plate appearances ... Katie Fleury is currently the school record holder in single-season on-base pct. (.488) ... she is first among BIG EAST Conference players with .460 batting average in league play, while ranking second with a .561 on-base pct. and eight doubles ... Fleury is the only Irish player with 50+ hits, 50+ runs and 25+ RBI ... Dani Miller is the first player in Notre Dame history to post double-digit home run totals in her first two years with the program (11 in 2009, 10 in 2010) and is tied for ninth on the program's all-time home run chart (21) ... the Irish outfield (Pitzenberger, Maldonado and Jorgensborg) has not committed a fielding error in 181 chances this season.
Making It Rain Against the Red Storm ...
Notre Dame outscored St. John's, 28-7, during a three-game series (May 8-9) ... trailing 2-0 in game three, Notre Dame rallied back to scored 12 unanswered runs over the final stretch, including 10 runs in the sixth and final inning ... Kasey O'Connor scored twice in the sixth frame ... in fact, O'Connor had only recorded two hits in 11 conference at-bats for her career entering the series with the Red Storm ... an illness in the Irish lineup jabbed her into a starting role, and she responded with a banner weekend that included six hits in 10 at-bats and a slugging pct. of 1.200 ... O'Connor went 2-for-3 in the series opener (her first-ever multi-hit effort), hit her first career home run in game two, and went 3-for-4 in the finale - one single, one double and one triple - to fall just short of the cycle.
Total Bases (single season) 1. Melanie Alkire (2000) - 129 2. Heather Johnson (2010) - 121 3. Christine Lux (2010) - 120 4. Meagan Ruthrauff (2006) - 119 Meghan Murray (1996) - 119 6. Meghan Murray (1997) - 117 7. Sara Hayes (1994) - 116 8. Christine Lux (2009) - 114 Stephanie Brown (2006) - 114 Andrea Loman (2002) - 114
Christine Lux and Dani Miller Get It Done Off the Field ...
Senior first baseman Christine Lux was named first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V for the second time in as many years while sophomore second baseman Dani Miller was named to the second team, as announced May 6 by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) ... an accounting major from Glendale Heights, Ill., Lux ranked 14th nationally with 16 home runs at the time of the honor, a mark that broke Notre Dame's single-season record which she set in 2008 (15) and 2009 (15) ... Miller is a pre-professional studies major with a 3.31 grade-point average from Huntington Beach, Calif.
Lux Earns Top Irish Honor at O.S.C.A.R.S. ...
The Notre Dame Department of Athletics held its ninth annual O.S.C.A.R.S (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements & Recognition Showcase) April 28 inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, with the traditional year-end gala honoring more than 750 student-athletes for their achievements on the field and in the classroom during the 2009-10 school year ... Christine Lux was one of six student-athletes to receive the Kanaley Award, the most prestigious honor presented to an Irish student-athlete ... the award has been given annually since 1926 to senior monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as both students and leaders ... chosen by the University's Faculty Board on Athletics, the awards are named in honor of the 1904 Notre Dame graduate who was a member of the baseball team as an undergraduate ... Kanaley went on to a successful banking career in Chicago and served the University as a lay trustee until his death in 1960.
Lux Leaves Last Impression On Ivy Field ...
Senior Christine Lux's final regular season game at Melissa Cook Stadium nearly yielded the same results as her final regular season game at Ivy Field in 2008 ... Lux went 4-for-4 with two home runs - including a grand slam - and tied a program record with seven RBI in an 11-3 rout of Wisconsin (April 29) in five innings ... with the two round trippers against the Badgers, Lux became the program's single-season leader with 16 home runs, breaking the record of 15 she set in 2008 and 2009 ... the seven RBI tied a record Lux shares with Megan Ruthrauff ... Lux last accounted for seven RBI in a five-inning win over Eastern Michigan in 2008, the final Irish softball game before closing the door on their former facility, Ivy Field.
Irish Set Home Record ...
Notre Dame finished the home portion of the regular season with a 19-0 record in the friendly confines of Melissa Cook Stadium, the most home wins ever by an Irish squad ... the 2001 team went 18-0 at Ivy Field, and finished the season with an overall record of 54-7 ... Christine Lux batted .510 while posting a 1.143 slugging percentage on eight home runs and seven doubles in front of the home crowd in 2010, while Jody Valdivia went 15-0 at home during the regular season with a 1.12 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 81.1 innings ... she also had nine shutouts ... Notre Dame hit .402 with 34 home runs and a .757 slugging pct. on its home turf ... the Irish outscored the opposition, 146-30.
Heather Johnson went 4-for-4 with three RBI and scored three times in game two of a non-conference doubleheader with Bowling Green (April 28) at Melissa Cook Stadium ... Johnson hit a two-run home run, two doubles and her first career triple while nearly clinching the cycle ... Johnson finished the doubleheader with six hits in seven at-bats, five RBI and a slugging clip of 1.857 ... Alexa Maldonado could not have asked for more on April 24 against Villanova as she notched five hits in five trips to the plate, hit for the cycle on the day, drove in four runs, scored four more, ended game two with a three-run dinger, and set new career single-game highs in hits (three) and RBI (three) ... after Notre Dame's contest earlier this season against Stephen F. Austin (Feb. 21), Maldonado sat at 3-for-23 (.130) on the season and was hitting .194 (27-for-139) for her career ... but in the next 38 games the sophomore was red hot, batting .404 (36-for-89) with 27 runs scored, 14 extra base hits - including all four of her career home runs - and 19 RBI.
Runnin' Ova' 'Nova ...
Notre Dame scored eight runs in the second inning of an April 25 contest against visiting Villanova as the Irish blanked the Wildcats, 10-0, in five innings ... it was third time in the three-game series that the Irish needed just five innings to deal a loss to Villanova (by respective winning scores of 8-0, 11-3 and 10-0) ... for the series, Notre Dame outscored Villanova, 29-3, with a slugging clip of .902 and batted .492 with a 0.93 ERA.
Valdivia Strikes Again ...
In game one with Bowling Green (April 28), Jody Valdivia tossed a two-hitter with nine strikeouts which earned her the title of Notre Dame's all-time leader in wins for a single season ... it was the 31st win in 2010 for Valdivia, who bettered Brittney Bargar's total of 30 set in 2008.
Irish Use Sacrifice To Get Past Crusaders ...
Dani Miller went 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI, including a walk-off sacrifice fly to score Katie Fleury from third in the bottom of the seventh to give Notre Dame a 7-6 non-conference win against Valparaiso (April 21) ... Miller stroked a three-run homer in her first at-bat of the game, one of 11 hits for Notre Dame ... it was her third home run in three career games versus the Crusaders, as she homered in both ends of the 2009 doubleheader ... Sadie Pitzenberger was a perfect 3-for-3 with a run scored and Fleury added two hits and crossed the plate twice ... the game featured two ties and five lead changes with the squads combining for 23 hits.
Whatever You're Doing, Keep Doing It ...
Jody Valdivia has been quite a force on the BIG EAST scene for the last few seasons ... earlier this season Valdivia did not allow an earned run in 37.2 straight frames, a streak which was halted at DePaul (April 22) with her first BIG EAST loss in 20 decisions, dating back to 2008 ... her 20-0 thrashing of league foes (not including BIG EAST Tournament outings) included 20 starts and 23 appearances with a 1.14 ERA in 135.2 innings and 144 strikeouts ... furthermore, the winning streak featured one no-hitter, four one-hitters, seven shutouts, only 22 extra-base hits and five games with 10+ strikeouts while holding the opposition to a .175 batting average ... Valdivia is also 4-0 with a 0.45 ERA in 15 career relief appearances and holds a current string of 22.1 consecutive scoreless innings when she is not the starter.
Johnson Does It Again ...
Third baseman Heather Johnson was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week (April 12) for the second time after she helped the Fighting Irish hold on to its unblemished conference record with a three-game sweep of USF (April 10-11) ... Johnson showed she could play under pressure as she went a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with a solo home run and a sacrifice fly in a nationally televised victory over USF (April 10) on CBS College Sports ... she continued her strong play in game two of the doubleheader, blasting her first career grand slam and finishing with five RBI ... for the week the third baseman totaled seven RBI while hitting .500, slugging 1.500 and recording an on-base mark of .500.
Taking USF By the Horns ...
Jody Valdivia hurled a one-hitter with six strikeouts to lead Notre Dame past visiting USF, 2-0, wrapping up a three-game sweep of the Bulls on April 11 ... Valdivia's 13th shutout of the season boosted Notre Dame's home record to 9-0 ... the Irish sweep ran 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 ... a pair of comeback wins provided plenty of highlight-reel material for Notre Dame in Saturday's doubleheader with USF (April 10) ... the nation's leader in team batting average entering the day, Notre Dame racked up 16 hits in the twinbill including three doubles and three home runs ... two of the homers came off the bat of Heather Johnson and her game-two grand slam was part of an eight-run fourth inning.
Lux Is the First Ever ...
With 10 home runs this season, Christine Lux is the only player in school history to have 10+ home runs in three campaigns ... Lux posted a single-season school record 15 home runs in 2008 and 2009.
All Good Things Come To An End ...
Sadie Pitzenberger saw her 26-game hitting streak (Feb. 20-April 1) come to and end in the series finale with Rutgers ... she broke the school record with a single in her second at-bat in the first of two games at Seton Hall on March 27 ... Dani Miller held the previous record (21) and accomplished the feat as a freshman in 2009 ... coming off a pair of knee injuries that sidelined her for much of her freshman and sophomore seasons, Pitzenberger was used primarily as the lineup's designated player early in the season and became a fixture in the outfield during the Southern Miss Mizuno Classic (Feb. 20-21) ... in fact, the hitting streak began with her first defensive start against Louisiana Tech (Feb. 20) ... over the course of the 26-game streak, Pitzenberger was good for 43 hits (nine doubles, six triples), 30 runs (scored at least once in all but five games) and 17 RBI in 94 at-bats ... amazingly, she struck out only once ... Pitzenberger posted a .469 on-base percentage and a .681 slugging pct. with a .457 batting average during the jaunt ... furthermore, Pitzenberger was not walked once during the streak.
Two Times Three ...
Notre Dame kept its focus during a pair of rain delays and used three two-run home runs to help down Rutgers (April 3) by an 8-0 count in a game that lasted 5:25 ... Notre Dame's fourth home run, a solo blast by Alexia Clay, ended the game in unconventional walk-off fashion in the sixth inning ... Notre Dame was out-hit by Rutgers, 6-5, as all but one of the Irish hits went for four bases ... Christine Lux, Brianna Jorgensborg and Dani Miller each accounted for the two-run shots.
Junior Duo Sweep BIG EAST Weekly Awards For Second Time ...
For the second time in three weeks, Notre Dame swept the BIG EAST Conference's weekly softball awards (March 29) ... Sadie Pitzenberger became the second repeat winner for the Player of the Week distinction and third-year starter Jody Valdivia earned her third Pitcher of the Week award this season (the only league hurler to earn the award multiple times) ... Notre Dame won every game (7-0) for the week by at least four runs, winning five by nine or more ... Pitzenberger set a Notre Dame record by extending her hitting streak to 24 games ... her two triples on the week gave her six this season, which tied her for second in the nation ... the outfielder added to her statistical totals with four doubles, 12 runs, 11 RBI and a stolen base while going 14-for-26 (.538) at the plate ... six of her 14 hits went for extra bases ... the final game of the week against Seton Hall (March 28) saw Pitzenberger go 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBI ... Valdivia went 5-0 with three shutouts (two solo, one combined), including her first career no-hitter during Notre Dame's BIG EAST opener at Seton Hall (March 27) ... the junior extended her winning streak to 17 straight games and moved to 12-0 in her last 12 BIG EAST decisions ... she struck out 32 batters in 26.0 innings with 20 of them coming in two starts against the Pirates.
Victories for Valdivia ...
Similar to her sophomore campaign, Jody Valdivia shook off a relatively rough start to reel off win after win this season ... Valdivia started 2009 with a 2-5 record (including four straight losses in her first four starts) but was victorious in each of her last 17 decisions ... the 2010 season started with two losses in her first three outings, but Valdivia rallied to post 17 straight between defeats (Feb. 14 vs. No. 1 Washington - March 30 at Loyola-Chicago) ... her 17-game winning streak this season tied her own second-best single-season mark in school history:
Single-Season Winning Streak 22 - Kristin Schmidt - 3.2.01-5.5.01 17 - Jody Valdivia - 2.14.10-3.30.10 17 - Jody Valdivia - 3.18.09-5.15.09 16 - Terri Kobata - 4.9.94-5.20.94 16 - Jennifer Sharron - 3.28.01-5.5.01 16 - Carrie Wisen - 3.30.02-5.10.02 14 - Steffany Stenglein - 3.9.05-4.22.05 10 - Brittney Bargar - 3.22.07-4.19.07 --Three Century Marks ...
Christine Lux became the sixth player in program history to record 100 hits, 100 runs and 100 RBI in a career after scoring her 100th run against Toledo (March 24) ... after the doubleheader with the Rockets, Lux had 100 runs, 151 hits and 140 RBI ... Katie Laing ('08) was the last Irish players to finish a career with the 100-100-100 accolade.
Hitting the Trifecta ...
Three of Notre Dame's four home runs in game two against Toledo (March 24) came in the fourth inning ... Heather Johnson, Kristina Wright and Alexa Maldonado each homered for the Irish ... it was the fourth time in school history that the Irish knocked three home runs in the same inning (each of the occurrences have been in the last three seasons) ... it was the 10th multi-homer game of the season for Notre Dame.
Lux Named To Honor Roll ...
Christine Lux hit her 39th career home run at Western Michigan (March 18), the first grand slam ever for the slugger ... Lux accounted for five RBI against the Broncos, the sixth time she recorded 5+ RBI in a single contest in her career ... she had two hits and scored twice in the contest ... for her efforts, Lux was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll (March 22).
Welcome Home ...
With the doubleheader sweep over Eastern Michigan (March 23) Notre Dame improved to 20-2 overall in home openers, winning its last 13 consecutive ... the two losses came in 1992 and 1997 ... it was the second true home opener at Melissa Cook Stadium, where the Irish are 2-0 in such contests ... Notre Dame had 22 hits in the home-opening doubleheader with Eastern Michigan (March 23) ... half of those hits went for extra bases - six doubles, four home runs and one triple.
Defending the Home Turf ...
After playing the first 22 games of the season on the road, Notre Dame swept each of its first four home games at Melissa Cook Stadium ... the Irish took two games from Eastern Michigan (March 23) and Toledo (March 24) ... over that stretch, the Irish scored 37 runs on 42 hits ... the team hit 11 home runs, eight doubles and four triples for a .938 slugging pct. ... Notre Dame hit .433 as a team, stole 10 of 12 bases, and held opponents to a .200 batting average with a 1.46 ERA.
Gumpf Goes Eastbound for Milestones ...
Deanna Gumpf coached her 500th game with the Irish against East Tennessee State (March 6), and won her 350th contest in the home opener with Eastern Michigan (March 23).
We'll Leave the Light On for Ya ...
With the doubleheader sweep over Eastern Michigan (March 23) Notre Dame improved to 20-2 overall in home openers, winning its last 13 consecutive ... the two losses came in 1992 and 1997 ... it was the second true home opener at Melissa Cook Stadium, where the Irish are 2-0 in such contests ... Notre Dame had 22 hits in the home-opening doubleheader ... half of those hits went for extra bases - six doubles, four home runs and one triple.
Take Two ...
Christine Lux tied the school record with her 36th career home run against Virginia (Feb. 27) and broke the mark one week later against East Tennessee State (March 6) at the UC Riverside Aten Construction Tournament ... in the same game she became Notre Dame's all-time leader in putouts (1,338) when she had an astounding 18 at first base.
Johnson Cops BIG EAST's Weekly Award ...
Senior third baseman Heather Johnson was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week (March 1) after she became the 14th Irish player in 22 seasons to hit at least two home runs in the same game when she did so against Virginia (Feb. 27) ... Johnson posted a game-high three RBI in game two against the Cavaliers and drove in a team-best seven runs throughout the four-game invite ... Johnson hit .583 with seven hits in 12 at bats and her 13 total bases helped her boast a slugging percentage of 1.083 ... she also stole a base and assisted on four putouts from third base ... Johnson had three multi-hit and two multi-RBI efforts on the weekend, including at least one RBI in each game.
Double Dipping ...
Notre Dame recorded at least 10 hits in each of its four games at the Cavalier Invite (Feb. 26-27) and extended the streak to seven games with double-digit outputs at each of the three games at the UC Riverside Aten Construction Tournament (March 6-7) ... in 2003, Notre Dame went 10 straight games with 10+ hits from April 13-23.
40 Never Looked So Good ...
Notre Dame outscored the opposition 40-3 through four games at the Cavalier Invite (Feb. 26-27), including a trio of sweeps ... heading into the UC Riverside Aten Construction Tournament, the Irish have not surrendered a single run in the second or seventh innings in 12 games.
A Higher Five ...
If one home run in a game is nice and two are even better, what do you call five home runs in one game? The Irish are searching for that answer after sending five home runs out of the park against Virginia (Feb. 27) ... four different players hit home runs, while Heather Johnson blasted a pair ... the last time Notre Dame hit five home runs in one game was in 2003 against Louisiana-Lafayette (Feb. 28) ... the Irish also did the deed four times in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Alexa Maldonado has been keeping defenses on their heels this season by scattering shots all around the ballpark ... at the Cavalier Invite (Feb. 26), Maldonado recorded two triples and two doubles in four games ... as a freshman in 2009, Maldonado notched two triples over a four-game stretch at Stanford's Nike Invitational (Feb. 20-21).
Sister Act ...
Christine and Kathryn Lux became the first sisters in program history to not only record hits on the same day, but to homer on the same day ... the duo did so Feb. 27 at the Cavalier Invite ... Kathryn belted a two-run shot versus George Washington in her second collegiate at-bat ... Christine sent her bomb out of the park one game later against Virginia.
Catch Me If You Can ...
Seven different Irish players stole at least one base through four games at the Cavalier Invite (Feb. 26-27) ... Sadie Pitzenberger led the attack with three swipes.
Valdivia Named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week ...
Jody Valdivia was named the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 22 ... she started each of Notre Dame's three games at the Southern Miss Mizuno Classic (Feb. 20-21), earning two wins and even notching a save ... she tossed 16.2 innings with 24 strikeouts while giving up eight hits as not a single run crossed the plate under her watch ... Valdivia limited Louisiana Tech (Feb. 20) to three hits and fanned 13 Techsters ... it was the sixth game of her career with 10+ strikeouts ... she started against Southern Miss (Feb. 20) and received four runs in the first inning from the Irish offense ... she was pulled after the first inning, and Notre Dame then gave up six runs to make it a 7-6 contest in the bottom of the sixth ... Valdivia reentered the game with the bases loaded and one out, taking care of the next five Golden Eagle batters to notch the save ... Valdivia then blanked Stephen F. Austin (Feb. 21) and squeezed out of another jam in the seventh ... sitting on a 3-0 lead, Valdivia gave up three singles in the bottom half of the final frame without an out, but retired the next three batters in order to secure the complete-game shutout.
See the Ball, Hit the Ball ...
Amy Buntin (.417) and Katie Fleury (.353) were steady for the Irish at the dish throughout the Kajikawa Classic (Feb. 12-14) ... Buntin had five hits - including one double - and three RBI to open her collegiate career ... one of Fleury's six hits was good for two bases as she led the Irish with three hits and three runs against Creighton (Feb. 12) ... Christine Lux, Dani Miller and Heather Johnson each recorded home runs for Notre Dame over the four-game stretch ... Lux's three-run jack against Creighton brought her career total to 34, two shy of the program's all-time record ... 10 of the 14 Irish players with an official at-bat recorded at least one hit at the tournament.
Lid Lifter ...
Notre Dame's 11-3 win over Creighton (Feb. 12) marked the most runs ever scored by an Irish team in a season opener ... the team posted 11 runs on 11 hits with 11 RBI ... by comparison, the Irish finished six games in 2009 with double digit outputs in the hit, run and RBI categories.
A Valiant Valdivia ...
Pitcher Jody Valdivia led the way in the season-opening victory over Creighton (Feb. 12) with a complete-game 10-strikeout performance against the Bluejays in the abbreviated six-inning contest, extending her winning streak from the circle to 18 straight games dating back to March 2009 ... Valdivia brushed off a shaky start after giving up a two-run homer in the first inning, proceeding to retire 14 of the next 15 batters over the next few frames as the Bluejays managed one more run on two hits in the top of the sixth ... with the 10-strikeout performance Valdivia eclipsed the 300-strikeout plateau, becoming the ninth Irish pitcher to do so in a career ... it was the fifth game of her career with double-digit strikeouts ... Valdivia shouldered the loss one day later against Auburn (Feb. 13) to end the streak ... Valdivia appeared in four games at the Kajikawa Classic (Feb. 12-14), pitching 20.0 innings with 26 strikeouts.