No. 25 Notre Dame Ready To Start NCAA Regional Action

Notre Dame will face Cleveland State to open the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

May 13, 2009

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The second-seeded Notre Dame softball team is set to face third-seeded Cleveland State in the opening game of the Ann Arbor Regional hosted by Michigan on Friday. This is the 11th consecutive season Notre Dame has earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament and the 14th invitation overall for the program. The Irish are joined by top-seeded Michigan, No. 3 seed Cleveland State and No. 4 seed Miami (Ohio) in the double-elimination event.

Notre Dame is coming off its sixth BIG EAST Conference Championship title and is 6-11 against teams in the Ann Arbor Regional - Michigan, Cleveland State, Miami (Ohio.) Nine of those losses were at the hands of the Wolverines. Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf is 11-14 in the NCAA Tournament while the Irish are 19-26 all-time in the event.

The winner of the regional in Ann Arbor will move on to a Super Regional against the winner of the regional being hosted by Baylor in Waco, Texas. That regional consists of No. 12 overall seed Northwestern, Louisiana-Lafayette, Baylor and Texas State. The Super Regional is a best two-of-three format with the winner advancing to the eight-team Women's College World Series set for May 29-June 3 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Tickets for the regional tournament will go on sale through the Michigan Ticket Office on Tuesday (May 12) at 8:30 a.m. (ET). Admission for each day of the event is $10 for reserved grandstand chairback seating, $9 for reserved grandstand bleacher seats, $7 for outfield bleachers and $5 for students and seniors. All tickets must be picked up in person. Ticket will call on game days will be located near the Wilpon Complex scoreboard at the entrance gate near the Michigan Indoor Track Building.

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No. 25 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
41-15 overall / 19-4 BIG EAST
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NCAA Championship • Ann Arbor Regional
University of Michigan • Ann Arbor, Mich.
Wilpon Softball Complex • May 15-17
Live stats:

One-Hitters ...
• Heading into the NCAA Tournament the Irish are ranked (25th) for the first time since 2004 ... Notre Dame received votes in five of this season's NFCA polls before cracking the list Tuesday afternoon ... it's the first time Notre Dame has ended a season in the top 25 since 2002.
Christine Lux tied her single-season school record two weeks ago by hitting her 15th home run of the season ... she is also third on the single-season charts with 51 RBI ... Dani Miller has hit a Notre Dame freshman-record 10 home runs this season ... nine hitters have belted multiple home runs and five Irish players have hit at least 11 doubles.
• Notre Dame needs five RBI this week to break the school's single-season record (278) ... five walks are also needed to set that respective record (148) ... should Notre Dame maintain a steady performance in terms of slugging (.509) and on-best pct. (.376), each of those numbers should go down as school records ... the Irish have already set the benchmark for home runs in a single season (63) while tallying 431 hits ... the 431 hits ranks just 15th on the all-time chart ... Notre Dame has struck out 207 times this season while last year's team was fanned on 290 occasions.
• With double-digit home run totals Christine Lux (15), Dani Miller (10) and Linda Kohan (11) comprise an elite Irish group - the first trio of teammates to hit at least 10+ home runs in the same season.
• Notre Dame continues to litter the national statistical rankings: batting average (.302 / 28th), ERA (1.90 / 28th), runs per game (5.38 / 27th), win-loss pct. (.732 / 25th), home runs per game (1.13 / 15th), doubles per game (1.52 / 15th) and slugging pct. (.509 / 13th) ... individually, Brittney Bargar is 15th with 10 shutouts while Christine Lux is 39th with a .794 slugging pct. and 20th with 15 home runs ... Heather Johnson ranks 13th overall with four sacrifice flies.
Brittney Bargar passed Heather Booth on the school's all-time list last week when she appeared in a pair of games from the circle ... Bargar has now appeared in a record 168 games.

Taking Down the BIG EAST ...
Notre Dame beat three teams - St. John's, No. 17 Louisville and No. 19 DePaul - without an allowing an earned run en route to claiming the program's sixth BIG EAST tournament title (and the 101st BIG EAST title in the history of Notre Dame athletics) ... each of the three teams defeated Notre Dame once during the regular season ... 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 this season ... it was the first time Notre Dame beat ranked opponents in two consecutive contests since 2005 (No. 21 USF and No. 19 Florida) ... it was also the first time the Irish beat a pair of top-20 teams on consecutive tries since 2000 (No. 16 Louisiana Lafayette and No. 6 Oklahoma) ... the wins over Louisville and DePaul were earned despite both teams tossing their best pitchers (Louisville's Kristen Wadwell and DePaul's Becca Henteniak), who rank among the finest pitchers in the nation ... in fact, both tossers were first team all-BIG EAST choices ... however, Notre Dame placed both of its second team all-league pitchers on the all-tournament team ... Jody Valdivia was 1-0 and allowed two hits at the tournament while Brittney Bargar, who was named Most Outstanding Pitcher, earned two shutout wins while giving up eight hits ... the pair combined to hold opposing teams to a .143 batting average ... Bargar is the sixth Irish winner of the tournament's top award ... pitcher Heather Booth was the last winner in 2006 ... Christine Lux, Heather Johnson and Linda Kohan were also part of the all-tournament team ... Johnson had one of two Irish hits in the final game against DePaul, which happened to be the game-winning RBI double ... Kohan had four hits in eight at-bats for the Irish, while Lux had 31 putouts and two assists at first base throughout the three-game stretch, including the starting leg of a game-ending double play in the championship matchup.

BIG EAST Tit for Tat ...
Notre Dame has a total of six BIG EAST Championship titles ... each of the titles have been earned in the last 11 seasons as Notre Dame's first trophy was hoisted in 1999 ... the Irish have finished second in five tournaments ... Notre Dame has made four appearances in the BIG EAST Championship finals under head coach Deanna Gumpf ... the Irish have four times won the tournament under her tutelage ... Notre Dame is now 29-15 all-time in the BIG EAST Championship (19-6 under Deanna Gumpf) ... the Irish have made 10 trips to the final game of the BIG EAST Championship since joining the league in 1996.

Two Hands To Count Them All ...
For the second season in a row the Irish placed seven players on respective all-BIG EAST Conference squads ... three players earned the honor for the first time and four were repeat winners, as Notre Dame's roster now includes 10 all-BIG EAST performers ... Beth Northway, Christine Lux and Dani Miller were each named to the first team ... both Irish pitchers - Brittney Bargar and Jody Valdivia - along with Linda Kohan were on the second team as Erin Marrone was voted to the third team ... Miller was the only freshman named to the first team but missed out on the league's Rookie of the Year Award, which went to Syracuse's third-team pitcher Jenna Caira.

On the Field and In the Classroom ...
Three Notre Dame players - Christine Lux, Erin Marrone and Beth Northway - were part of the Academic All-District V team in balloting by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) presented by ESPN The Magazine ... Lux and Marrone were both part of the award's first team and Northway was a second-team choice ... Lux is a junior accounting major from Glendale Heights, Ill., with a 3.42 grade-point-average ... a native of Alexandria, Va., Marrone sports a 3.98 grade-point-average as a sophomore outfielder for the Irish ... Northway is a senior accounting major with a 3.83 grade-point-average from Kentwood, Mich.

Jammin' With Jody ...
After starting the season with a 2-5 record, Jody Valdivia has been victorious in each of her last 16 decisions to carry an 18-5 slate into the NCAAs ... she was named the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week two weeks ago after picking up three league wins ... Valdivia's three conference wins improved her league record to a perfect 10-0 ... Valdivia struck out at least 10 batters in two of the Fighting Irish's four games over that stretch, notching 11 at Georgetown (May 1) and 10 at Providence (April 30) ... in her 21.2 innings of work, she allowed only six earned runs for a 1.94 ERA ... Valdivia collected 28 strikeouts on the week, including the only two batters she faced in relief of game one against Louisville (May 3) ... Valdivia has not dropped a game since March 14 when the righty faltered against No. 12 Arizona.

The Home Run Queens ...
One long-standing Irish record has already fallen ... previously, the Irish hit 54 home runs in 61 games in 2002 to top the school charts ... Notre Dame now has 63 home runs through 56 games this season ... of the 2009 total, only one of those home runs was hit during the first three weeks of the season, and seven games were called off earlier in the year due to rain ... 19 games have been marked by multiple home runs, with a season-high four coming against both Northern Illinois (April 1) and Connecticut (April 11).

Run Baby, Run ...
Notre Dame (301) has scored well over twice as many runs as its opponents (143) this season, while outscoring BIG EAST teams by a whopping 142-60 margin during league play.

Check the Numbers ...
Notre Dame is 33-0 when recording more hits than the opposition ... Notre Dame has won 23 of its last 25, and 31 of its last 35 games ... the Irish have posted respective winning streaks of nine and 10 games this season and were a perfect 11-0 on the road against BIG EAST foes ... in fact, Notre Dame has won each of its last 14 road games.

Double Digits ...
Eighteen games have seen more than two Irish home runs leave the park this season ... in five games the Irish pounded out 10+ RBI ... 11 games have seen Notre Dame crank out 10+ hits.

It's Always Miller Time ...
Dani Miller saw her 21-game hit streak come to an end against North Dakota State (April 22) ... previously, the last time she went hitless was a match against St. John's (March 22) ... Miller's school-record 21-game hit streak is the longest of any BIG EAST player this season ... she also blasted a pair of home runs at Providence (April 30) including her third grand slam of the season ... Miller added a career-high six RBI in game one against the Friars.

Behind Brittney's Arm ...
Brittney Bargar was named the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week on April 20 ... she held BIG EAST opponents to just one earned run in 14.0 innings for the week ... Bargar went 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA including a shutout against league foes ... she struck out eight while surrendering just one hit for extra-bases ... in three overall appearances, Bargar posted a 0.33 ERA with a second shutout at Wisconsin ... she struck out eight Badgers in that midweek affair ... Bargar also walked just two batters in 21.0 innings.

Almost Perfect ...
Notre Dame softball team split an April 22 non-conference doubleheader with North Dakota State ... the 2-1 game-one loss was the first home non-BIG EAST Conference defeat for the Irish since 2007, breaking a 14-0-1 (10-0-1 at Melissa Cook Stadium, 4-0 at Ivy Field) streak for Notre Dame ... the Irish were previously a perfect 8-0 on their turf for the season against non-conference foes.

Streak Ends, Streak Begins ...
A two-run dandy by Linda Kohan against North Dakota State in game two of the April 22 doubleheader snapped a three-game homerless streak for Notre Dame ... it was the longest drought without a home run since the second week of the season.

Badgered Seven Times ...
Notre Dame got seven hits from seven different players during the second game of a doubleheader at Wisconsin (April 14).

Spearing the Crusaders ...
Three different Notre Dame players homered against Valparaiso (April 9) as the Irish swept the Crusaders by scores of 11-0 and 17-9 ... Dani Miller jacked two home runs - including her second grand slam of the season - to bring her season total to six, and Linda Kohan delivered a game-one home run that gave the senior six round trippers on the year ... it was Kohan's third home run in as many games ... a pair of home runs in game two by Christine Lux brought her career total to 30 and tied her for fourth on the school's all-time list ... the 17 runs in game two marked a season high and was one score shy of the school-record 18 set against Robert Morris in 1994 ... Brittney Bargar tossed a one-hitter to start the day and did not allow a single walk ... after a first-inning Valparaiso single, Bargar retired 18 straight batters and recorded seven strikeouts along the way ... Notre Dame recorded 16 hits in game two.

Sharing With Demons ...
One of the best BIG EAST Conference softball rivalries got better after an April 8 doubleheader with DePaul ... the Irish and Blue Demons exchanged a number of blows before splitting the twinbill at Melissa Cook Stadium ... Christine Lux had five hits across the two games with a pair of home runs including a game-one shot that cleared the right field fence and landed on Twyckenham Drive, a 334-foot shot that would have sailed the right field fence at Frank Eck Stadium, the home of Notre Dame's baseball team ... both Lux and Linda Kohan sent home runs out of the park in each of the two games as the teams combined for eight home runs on the day.

Homering the Huskies ...
Speaking of home runs, the Irish hit three in one inning against Northern Illinois ... Linda Kohan, Heather Johnson and Katie Fleury homered in the fourth inning to spark an Irish scoring fest of nine unanswered runs ... it was the third time Notre Dame recorded three home runs in one inning, with the first two occurring in 2008 ... Kohan, Fleury and Christine Lux homered in the same inning during a home game versus Wisconsin (April 16) and the same trio duplicated the feat exactly one month later in an NCAA Tournament bout with Kent State ... the last time Notre Dame hit four home runs in a single game was against the Badgers last season.

Northway Slugs Way On Top of BIG EAST ...
Senior Beth Northway was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week on March 30 ... the designated player earned the honor after her consistent bat helped the Irish run their winning streak to seven games with three conference wins at Georgetown (March 28) and USF (March 29) ... Northway came through in pinch-hitting duties for Notre Dame with nine hits in 16 at-bats as the Irish posted a 6-0 record for the week ... Northway hit for a .562 batting average with a 1.125 slugging percentage in the six contests, including a pair of home runs and three doubles ... she had four multi-hit games, scoring seven runs and collecting seven walks ... Northway connected for four hits in seven at-bats at USF to help Notre Dame secure its first ever sweep of the Bulls ... at the time of the honor, Northway's .500 batting average in league play was tied for sixth overall among BIG EAST batters while her 1.200 slugging percentage tied for first ... the Kentwood, Mich., native began the 2009 campaign as a nonstarter and has emerged as one of the Irish's most productive hitters this season ... after her sophomore season she underwent shoulder surgery and converted her throwing technique from right- to left-handed.

Rising From the Pacific ...
Seven unanswered runs helped Notre Dame dig itself out of an early 3-0 deficit to post a 7-3 victory over Pacific in the second day of the Judi Garman Classic ... Christine Lux, Katie Fleury and Beth Northway each homered as Notre Dame recorded nine hits in the contest ... Brittney Bargar got the complete-game win with five strikeouts while giving up six hits, and the Irish defense stood strong to help strand seven Tigers on base.

Booming the Sooners ...
Notre Dame downed No. 9 Oklahoma, 4-3, on the opening day of the Judi Garman Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton ... the Irish sat on a 3-1 lead but committed three errors in the top of the seventh, though Oklahoma saved its lone error for the bottom of the seventh to help give Notre Dame the win ... the victory was Notre Dame's first against a top-10 opponent since downing No. 5 Tennessee in 2005.

Extra Jorgensborg, Please ...
Brianna Jorgensborg was named the BIG EAST Conference softball player of the week on March 9 ... Jorgensborg put together one of the most prolific slugging stretches in Notre Dame history at the UNLV Invitational and finished the four-game invite with a 1.889 slugging pct. which came courtesy of three triples and two home runs in nine at-bats ... her .556 batting average led Notre Dame throughout the weekend ... Jorgensborg tripled in three consecutive contests, becoming the first player to accomplish the feat in the 21-year history of the program ... she also had two home runs.

Holy Toledo!
In a home-opening doubleheader sweep against Toledo (w, 15-0 / w, 9-1): Notre Dame moved to 19-2 all-time in home openers, winning its last 12 ... the two losses came in 1992 and 1997 ... the Irish posted the most runs in a home opener (15) and the most runs in a doubleheader (24) since 2003 ... first back-to-back five-inning wins since 2004 ... first five-inning home opener ... first home opener at Melissa Cook Stadium ... Sadie Pitzenberger scored a career-high four runs in game one against Toledo ... Christine Lux had five hits - including two home runs and two doubles - to pace the Irish ... her 13 total bases yielded a single-day slugging average of 2.167 ... Dani Miller had two doubles and one home run in her home debut.

Holy, Holy Toledo!
Trailing by a 1-0 count in game two against Toledo, the Irish put up a nine-spot in the bottom of the fourth to secure the victory ... ironically, Notre Dame had scored a total of nine runs in the fourth inning of its last 19 games combined, doubling that output against the Rockets ... the Irish scored seven runs in a single inning against Sacramento State (Feb. 21) earlier this season ... last year, Notre Dame scored nine runs in one inning against Charleston Southern (March 14) only to score 10 - tying the school record - in the third frame during a rematch with the Buccaneers one day later.

Been Around the World ...
An 18-game road trip that included stops in four states (Alabama, California, North Carolina and Nevada) and featured six ranked opponents came to an end against Toledo on March 18 ... since starting the season at No. 1 Alabama, Notre Dame has faced No. 5 Stanford, No. 5 UCLA, No. 9 Oklahoma, No. 12 Arizona and No. 6 Arizona State.

Three Times As Nice ...
UC Santa Barbara (March 8) had two runners on base in its half of the seventh when Tiffany Wright flew out to Alexa Maldonado in center field, who started the first leg of a triple play by throwing to Katie Fleury at second who relayed the favor to Christine Lux at first to end the game in not-so-routine fashion ... it was the first triple play in Notre Dame history. Maldonado In Palo Alto ...
First-year outfielder Alexa Maldonado had her coming-out party at Stanford's Nike Invitational ... after not recording a single hit in her first four games with the Irish, Maldonado went 5-for-10 with a pair of multi-hit affairs against Stanford and Sacramento State ... she scored a pair of runs and hit two triples over the four-game stretch at The Farm.

Flying Past the Hornets ...
Notre Dame's offense exploded during a Feb. 21 affair versus Sacramento State ... in the 11-0 blanking of the Hornets, Notre Dame buzzed through with a seven-run seventh inning courtesy of six hits in the frame ... each of the six hits were singles ... last season, Notre Dame posted totals of 10 and eight runs in separate innings against Charleston Southern ... Heather Johnson had a career-high four hits in four at-bats and scored her first run of the season against Sacramento State ... she also drove home four scores.



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