April 26, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season begins to wind down for the University of Notre Dame softball team this weekend, as the Irish welcome Maryland for a three-game series at Melissa Cook Stadium.
The league set, which coincides with Notre Dame softball’s fourth annual Strikeout Cancer festivities, is scheduled to begin with a Sunday doubleheader at 1 p.m. (ET). Game two of the opening day doubleheader is tentatively set for 3 p.m. The series finale will take place on Monday at 7 p.m., when the Irish “Orange Out” Melissa Cook Stadium on ACC Monday on ESPNU.
Live video coverage for Sunday’s games will be available at UND.com on WatchND, and through the WatchND app.
No. 21 Notre Dame (31-10, 10-5 ACC) has won six of its last seven games after earning a 7-2 come from behind midweek victory over Valparaiso on Thursday. The Irish have outscored opponents by a cumulative 64-21 run count in the past seven contests, and Notre Dame enters the weekend as the leading team in the ACC in team batting average (.353), doubles (83), doubles per game (national-best 2.02 per game) and slugging percentage (.539).
Notre Dame is a perfect 5-0 all-time against Maryland (8-32, 4-13 ACC), with this weekend’s series marking the first time the Terrapins have ever traveled to the Notre Dame campus. The Irish are expected to make their first ever appearance in College Park during the ACC Championship on May 8-10 at Robert E. Taylor Stadium.
Last season’s three-game sweep of Rutgers improved Notre Dame to 6-3 (.667) all-time during games played on Strikeout Cancer weekend at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish earned the series sweep after scoring seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Scarlet Knights in game three, capped by a walk-off, two-out, three-run home run off the bat of Cassidy Whidden.
Fans can follow live stats for the series against Maryland via CBS GameTracker by visiting UND.com.
No. 21 Notre Dame vs. Maryland
Fourth Annual Strikeout Cancer Weekend
April 27-28, 2014
Melissa Cook Stadium (1,250)
Notre Dame, Ind.
No. 21 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(31-10 in 2014, 10-5 in the ACC)
(8-32 in 2014, 4-13 in the ACC; 0-5 all-time against ND)
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame won its 13th game in its last 16 outings, and improved to 5-0 in non-conference home games this season, with a 7-2 win over Valparaiso on Thursday night at Melissa Cook Stadium.
– Notre Dame won its 32nd straight game against Valparaiso all-time, dating back to a 4-3 win in nine innings over the Crusaders on March 26, 1990.
– The Irish earned their ninth win of the season after an opponent was the first to score, tallying seven unanswered runs on Thursday against Valparaiso. Conversely, Notre Dame is a combined 22-4 when scoring first in 2014.
– Notre Dame maintained its hold on the national doubles per game lead for the seventh week in a row, upping its season average to an impressive 2.02 doubles per contest following Thursday’s game with Valparaiso.
– Freshman outfielder Karley Wester was tabbed as one of 25 finalists for the inaugural NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award on April 17. Wester, the second-leading hitter in the ACC with a .459 average this season, also leads Notre Dame with 62 hits, a .519 on-base percentage and 24 stolen bases.
– Senior Laura Winter became the first Notre Dame pitcher to win 100 career games with an 8-0 shutout win over Virginia in game one of an ACC doubleheader on April 18. Winter tossed just the third perfect game in program history against the Cavaliers, striking out nine Virginia batters over five innings to reach the century mark. Winter also reached the 1,000 career strikeout plateau on Thursday against Valparaiso, earning the distinction of being the first 100 win-1,000 strikeout pitcher in Irish history.
– Sophomore infielder Micaela Arizmendi posted the most memorable ACC weekend by any Notre Dame hitter in the team’s first season as a league member, batting .818 (9-for-11) with three doubles, one home run and eight RBI in three games at Virginia last weekend. Arizmendi was a perfect 5-for-5 in the series finale, tying Kathy Vernetti (4/22/90) and Jenn Giampaolo (4/22/95) for the program’s single-game hits record.
On This Date…
Notre Dame is a combined 16-6 (.727) all-time in games played on April 27 of a given season, winning 11 of the last 13 games played on the date since the 2002 season (4-3 victory over Boston College).
The Irish have added a 13-2-1 mark (.844) all-time on April 28, the date of Monday night’s series finale against Maryland on ESPNU.
Strikeout Cancer Turns Four!
Notre Dame softball’s signature awareness initiative, Strikeout Cancer, began supporting leukemia awareness in 2011 in solidarity for Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf and her daughter, Tatum, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the summer of 2010. Now an annual celebration, the proceeds directly benefit South Bend’s Memorial Children’s Hospital (where Tatum started her treatments) and children throughout Indiana who have been diagnosed with cancer.
In its fourth year of existence, Strikeout Cancer has raised more than $75,000 for children battling pediatric cancer, a figure that leads all teams nationwide that participate in the NFCA StrikeOut Cancer initiative. Funds raised have gone toward “wish trips” for cancer patients and two playrooms at South Bend’s Memorial Children’s Hospital.
The 2014 Strikeout Cancer festivities began with the popular trivia night fundraiser on Friday night at The Brick in South Bend, with special promotions and giveaways highlighting this weekend’s series against Maryland.
Now 26 Years And Counting…
Notre Dame’s game one win over North Carolina State on Tuesday secured the program’s 26th consecutive 30-win season, dating back to its inception at the varsity level in 1989.
The Irish softball and women’s soccer (established in 1988) teams are also the only two active varsity athletics programs in Notre Dame history to have never posted a losing season.
Offensive Still Setting National Pace
In the most recent installment of the NCAA national statistical rankings for the 2014 season that was released on Monday, Notre Dame checked in as the number one team in the country in doubles per game for the seventh straight week. Through 41 contests, the Irish have averaged 2.02 two-baggers per game to pace all of Division I softball, and remain the only program in the country averaging at least two doubles per contest.
Junior All-American outfielder Emilee Koerner checks in as the ACC leader with 20 doubles. Koerner’s RBI double in the sixth inning on Thursday against Valparaiso made her the first batter in team history to ever hit 20 doubles in multiple seasons, after setting the program-high with 21 in 2013. The Tustin, Calif. native is two doubles shy (53) of tying Katie Laing (’08) for the program record of 55 career two-baggers.
With a .353 team clip, the Irish are also among the national top 10 in batting average. Notre Dame led the NCAA with a .343 final average in 2010.
100 Wins And 1,000 K In Same Week
Notre Dame senior pitcher Laura Winter made history the only way she can after four stellar seasons, tossing her first career perfect game to lead the Irish to an 8-0 win in five innings over Virginia on April 18, her 100th career win in a Notre Dame uniform. Winter struck out nine Virginia batters in five full innings of work, hurling only 51 pitches in the complete game effort.
Only six days later, Winter struck out 13 Valparaiso batters while allowing only two runs on four hits and one walk in her 20th win of 2014. Winter became the first pitcher in Notre Dame history to reach 1,000 career strikeouts with a fourth inning punch-out of Valparaiso first baseman Tarah McShane.
Winter also joined Heather Booth (’06) as just the second Notre Dame pitcher ever to win at least 20 games in all four seasons in an Irish uniform.
Westy A Finalist For Frosh Of The Year
In the inaugural season of the NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award, Notre Dame is represented by one of the most impactful newcomers in program history.
Freshman outfielder Karley Wester was named one of the top 25 finalists for the new NFCA honor on April 17, immediately following her masterful 7-for-9 (.778) effort earlier in that week against No. 7/8 Florida State, who boasts one of the top pitching staffs in the country.
Wester became the first Notre Dame softball player to earn a weekly award from the ACC in the team’s first season as a conference member, copping ACC Player of the Week honors on Feb. 17. Through 41 games, the Huntington Beach, Calif. native leads Notre Dame with a .459 batting average, 62 hits, two triples, a .519 on-base percentage and 24 stolen bases. Wester also has a team-high 18 multi-hit games, and has currently reached base in 17 straight contests entering this weekend’s series against Maryland.
Micaela On A Mission
Following a 0-for-3 effort against Eastern Michigan on March 26, sophomore Micaela Arizmendi has turned up the offensive heat each time she has stepped to the plate. In fact, Arizmendi has emerged as not only one of the top sluggers, but also one of the most complete hitters in the entire Atlantic Coast Conference.
In her last 14 starts since March 26, Arizmendi is batting .565 (26-for-46) with seven doubles, six home runs, 21 RBI, a .608 on-base percentage, a 1.109 slugging percentage and 15 runs scored. In that span, Arizmendi has assumed the top spot among all Notre Dame players in home runs (11), RBI (43) and slugging percentage (.795) this season.
The Huntington Beach, Calif. native, who tied the Notre Dame single-game record with five hits on April 19 at Virginia, has also recorded a team-high 14 multi-RBI outings in 2014.
Irish In The ACC
Notre Dame officially opened its tenure in the ACC at Georgia Tech on March 8 after compiling a 297-53 record (.849) in the BIG EAST Conference, winning 13 regular-season and four tournament championship titles in 18 years. The Irish won the most BIG EAST games of any league team during that span.
Following a series split with North Carolina State on Tuesday at Melissa Cook Stadium, the Irish are now a combined 115-27 (.810) all-time against the current league membership.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is a perfect 5-0 all-time against Maryland entering this weekend’s series meeting, the first between the teams to take place at a non-neutral site. The Irish defeated the Terrapins 5-3 on March 3, 2013 at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic.