Feb. 26, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Following its second four-win tournament of the 2015 season, the University of Notre Dame softball team closes the showcase portion of its schedule this weekend at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic. The No. 23 Irish will play a total of five games in three days at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida, the third different state in which Notre Dame has visited in the early going.
“It’s really important for the team to be spread around the country,” Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf said. “The more opportunities they get to go to different places the better, and we want to go somewhere different all the time and try new things. I think we did a good job with that this year. We saw some familiarity with a couple places as well as some new things, but our goal every year is to play great competition at great venues. We’ve done a great job of that.”
Notre Dame (9-5) faces its latest test in the tournament’s first game, taking on No. 20 Missouri (8-2) at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Friday in a contest that will stream live on ESPN3. The Irish will follow with their second game of the day against former BIG EAST rival Georgetown (5-3) at 5:45 p.m.
The fourth and final SEC opponent on the 2015 Notre Dame slate awaits on Saturday, as the Irish and Mississippi State (13-2) are set for a 3:30 p.m. first pitch. A late change in the tournament schedule pits Notre Dame against Lehigh (0-0) in the first meeting ever on the softball diamond between the schools at 5:45 p.m.
Notre Dame will finish off the tournament lineup at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday against regional foe Indiana (2-13), the first meeting between the Irish and Hoosiers since 2004.
“We try to find out as much as we possibly can about our opponents so we have a game plan going in, but our team is at a point right now where it doesn’t really matter who our opponent is,” Gumpf said. “If we play well we can beat anybody, and if we don’t anybody can beat us. That’s really the game of softball, and that’s why it’s so important to bring your very best game all of the time.”
Live stats will be available for all five Notre Dame games at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic via CBS Gametracker at UND.com.
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.
No. 23 Notre Dame at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic
Feb. 27-March 1, 2015
ESPN Wide World Of Sports
No. 23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(9-5 in 2015)
No. 20 Missouri Tigers
(8-2 in 2015)
(5-3 in 2015)
No. RV Mississippi State Bulldogs
(13-2 in 2015)
Lehigh Mountain Hawks
(0-0 in 2015)
(2-13 in 2015)
Notre Dame Diamond 9 Citrus Classic Schedule
Friday, Feb. 27
Saturday, Feb. 28
Sunday, March 1
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame improved to 9-5 with a 4-1 weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The Irish are 14-6 (.700) in their past 20 games in the state of California dating back to last season.
– Sophomore pitcher Rachel Nasland earned ACC Pitcher of the Week honors after seeing action in the circle during all five Notre Dame games at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.69 ERA and one save over 20.2 innings pitched (three starts). Opposing hitters batted at a .178 clip against the right-hander during the weekend, while only one runner scored over Nasland’s final 15.2 innings that included outings against No. RV/25 Texas and No. 7/8 Georgia.
– Notre Dame gained one spot to outright No. 23 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll that was released on Tuesday. The Irish also jumped to 23rd in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 weekly rankings. Notre Dame has been ranked in the national top 25 for 18 straight weeks.
– Notre Dame is 15-2 (.882) all-time at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic, and has won its last nine games at the tournament by an aggregate run count of 58-17 dating back to the 2013 edition at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
– The Irish earned their first win in program history over perennial national contender Georgia (5-3) last weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Georgia became the 192nd different opponent Notre Dame has defeated, and the third new addition to that list in 2015. The Irish downed UCLA 8-4 on Feb. 6 for their first win in nine meetings against the Bruins all-time, and held off Central Arkansas 4-1 in the first game played between the teams in series history on Feb. 14 during the LSU Tiger Invitational.
– Irish softball is one of only two Notre Dame varsity athletic programs to have never posted a losing record. The softball team has completed its first 26 seasons with a .500 record or above in each campaign. Notre Dame’s three-time national champion women’s soccer program has posted 27 straight winning seasons since its inception at the varsity level in the fall of 1988.
Irish On Fire In Cali
Notre Dame improved to 8-2 (.800) in games played in the state of California this season with four victories last weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The Irish have won 14 of their last 20 games overall in the state, outscoring opponents 111-65 in those contests.
Nasland Named ACC Pitcher Of The Week
Reigning ACC Pitcher of the Week Rachel Nasland threw the first five innings of the opening Notre Dame Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic game against No. 13/10 Tennessee last Thursday, striking out a career-high 10 batters while walking only one Volunteer hitter. The San Diego, California native later threw the final 0.2 innings of an 8-6 victory over Maryland in the nightcap of Notre Dame’s first day at the tournament.
The Notre Dame hurler clicked on all cylinders yet again versus UNLV on Friday, tossing her first career shutout by allowing three hits and one walk with three strikeouts in an 8-0 Notre Dame win in six innings.
Nasland won her second straight start in the first Irish Saturday contest against No. RV/25 Texas, yielding two hits and one earned run to the Longhorn order while adding four punch-outs over seven innings in a 5-1 complete game win. She later tossed the final two innings in relief against the top half of the potent No. 7/8 Georgia lineup Saturday night, blanking the Bulldogs on two hits with one strikeout to claim her first save of the season.
Nasland leads all Notre Dame pitchers in ERA (2.10), appearances (11), starts (7), complete games (3), strikeouts (43) and opposing batting average (.197) thus far in 2015.
Wester Returns To Form
A slower paced offensive start to the 2015 season could not keep sophomore All-American Karley Wester cooled down for long. The Notre Dame left fielder lit up the batter’s box and the base paths at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, showcasing her skills as one of the best young offensive players in the NCAA.
After opening the year 5-for-23 in the season’s first six games, Wester is 14-for 27 (.519) with five stolen bases and nine runs scored in her past eight starts. Wester has logged multiple-hit outputs in six of those eight contests, posting a season-high with three hits against Maryland last Thursday.
Wester remains the career Notre Dame leader in both batting average (.439) and on-base percentage (.498) among batters who have logged at least 125 career plate appearances.
Haus Remains On Fire In 2015
Senior third baseman Katey Haus has shown few signs of slowing down during her torrid 2015 start at the plate. Named the ACC Player of the Week on Feb. 9, Haus has maintained her team lead in batting average (.439), slugging percentage (.829), on-base percentage (.429), home runs (5), total bases (34) and RBI (12) through 14 starts.
Haus’ current average is a remarkable 129 points above her career clip (.310), while her slugging (career .504) and on-base percentages (career .379) have also seen a marked increase. Haus’ five home runs in her first 40 at-bats this season already surpassed her total of three long balls that she hit in 165 official at-bats in 2014.
Irish Breaking New Ground Against Top 25
Notre Dame has already won three games against top 25 foes in February, downing No. 6/7 UCLA (8-4 on Feb. 6), No. 7/8 Georgia (5-3 on Feb. 21) and No. RV/25 Texas (5-1 on Feb. 21). It’s the first time the Irish have defeated three top 25 teams in February since 2005, and the only time the program has logged two top 10 victories in the season’s opening month.
Gumpf One Win From The Top
With one more victory, head coach Deanna Gumpf will become the winningest softball/baseball coach in Notre Dame history. Gumpf enters the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic with 558 career wins, tied with legendary baseball skipper Jake Kline (1934-75).
Koerner, Wester On USA Softball POTY Top 50 Watch List
Two-time NFCA All-American Emilee Koerner and sophomore NFCA All-American Karley Wester were each named to the “Watch List” for the 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced on Jan. 28.
Notre Dame has been represented on the top 50 preseason watch list in four straight seasons, with NFCA All-Americans Dani Miller (2012) and Amy Buntin (2013) joining four-time NFCA all-region selection Laura Winter (2014) and Koerner (2014) in previously earning the distinction.
The preseason top 50 watch list included 26 seniors, 18 juniors and six sophomores, with freshmen ineligible for consideration. Freshmen can be considered for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award once they officially compete at the collegiate level. Student-athletes from 32 NCAA Division I universities and 13 athletic conferences comprised the preseason watch list.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is 17-15 (.531) all-time against its five opponents entering this weekend’s Diamond 9 Citrus Classic. The Irish are 1-5 against Missouri, 6-0 against Georgetown, 1-0 against Mississippi State and 9-10 against Indiana (first series meeting with Lehigh).