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Big BIG EAST Conference Weekend Ahead For Softball

April 10, 2003

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Notre Dame vs. St. John’s, Doubleheader

Friday, April 11, 4 p.m.

Notre Dame vs. Seton Hall, Doubleheader

Sunday, April 13, 11 a.m.

Ivy Field * Notre Dame, Ind.

Irish carry season-high six-game win streak into crucial BIG EAST Conference weekend:

The University of Notre Dame softball team (16-11, 2-0) finally played its first two BIG EAST Conference games of the season on Wednesday at Pittsburgh, and the Irish came away with two victories (5-4, 4-1). Notre Dame is focused on a full weekend of conference action at Ivy Field, as St. John’s (18-18, 5-3) and Seton Hall (19-7, 5-2), the top two teams in the BIG EAST, arrive on campus for two doubleheaders.

Challenging April schedule will determine the outcome of Notre Dame’s season:

It has been an unusual spring across the country this season and the Notre Dame softball team seems to find itself in the wrong place at the wrong time in terms of weather. The Irish have lost at least nine games to inclement weather this season, and it took the team almost two weeks past schedule to get in their first BIG EAST Conference games at Pittsburgh just this last Wednesday.

The weather has forced Notre Dame to adjust their schedule and face a possible 30 games in the month of April. The make up date with Virginia Tech has not yet been announced, but it will fall at some point in the month of April. The two games against the Hokies will give Notre Dame 30 games this month – the second most in the history of the program. Notre Dame played 31 games in April in 1989 – the first year of varsity softball competition.

Rally at Pittsburgh on Wednesday best seventh-inning effort in school history:

Notre Dame achieved a program first on Wednesday. Their five-run inning in the top of the seventh goes down at the best-ever seventh inning rally by the Irish. Since 1989, the first season of softball, the Irish had never rallied from a four-run deficit in the seventh inning to win, or tie the game.

The big hit in the seventh was provided by Andrea Loman, who drilled a bases-loaded double to plate the tying and winning run.

Make up dates:

The Notre Dame softball team has two make up doubleheaders in BIG EAST play this month. The Providence trip has replaced Notre Dame’s previously scheduled trip to Nebraska on April 15. The Irish and Friars will meet in Rhode Island at 3 p.m.

Notre Dame also is working on rescheduling its postponed doubleheader with Virginia Tech. That date and time will be announced as soon as it becomes available.

April success:

The month of April has traditionally been a successful 30 days in the history of the Notre Dame softball program – especially over the last three seasons. The 2001 Irish team went 23-0 in April, a key portion of its 54-7 season. The ’02 team from a season ago matched the ’01 team’s win total of 23, and suffered just one loss during the month (23-1, .958).

One of Notre Dame’s goals this month will be to reach that 23-win plateau. The Irish already have six wins this month and have at least 22 games remaining in April.

Notre Dame’s top April performances:

2001 – 23-0 (1.000)

2002 – 23-1 (.958)

1996 – 23-2 (.920)

1998 – 23-3 (.885)

New and improved live stats available this weekend:

Live statistics for Notre Dame softball have been available for the past two seasons, but the Official College Sports Network (OCSN) has taken a leap forward with a new improved design this season.

With the new format, the statistics update quicker and the graphics offered include the opposing defense, runners on base, play by play and complete updated box score statistics. To get to the live statistics page, just go to the main page at, look for the appropriate softball game on the right side and click on ‘Game Tracker.’

Notre Dame Sports Information and OCSN will offer live audio for all home BIG EAST games:

The Notre Dame Sports Information Office and the Official College Sports Network will offer live audio of all home BIG EAST softball games this season to those fans signed up for the “Fighting Irish Pass” on Assistant sports information director Chris Masters will provide play-by-play and commentary this weekend for both games of the St. John’s doubleheader and game one of the match up with Seton Hall.

Live audio will also be available for the following doubleheaders:

Notre Dame vs. Villanova, Friday, May 2, 4 p.m.

Notre Dame vs. Rutgers, Sunday, May 4, 11 a.m.

Notre Dame vs. St. John’s series history and doubleheader preview:

The Irish and Red Storm will be meeting for the 15th and 16th time on Friday, and Notre Dame has won all previous 14 meetings in the series. The Irish also boast a five-game shut out streak against St. John’s.

The Red Storm enter Friday’s doubleheader with an 18-18 record and 5-3 mark in conference play. St. John’s has won four conference games in a row, sweeping Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech at home. They also lost both ends of a doubleheader at Villanova and split a double dip at Rutgers to begin the conference season.

Pitching has been the story for the Red Storm so far this season, with Courtney Fitzgerald logging most of the innings from the circle. Fitzgerald is 15-11 this season with a 1.89 ERA and 115 Ks in 173.2 innings. Meghan Allman is 3-2 with a 1.79 ERA in 31.1 innings.

The offense is led by Megan Oliver (.298, 10 RBI) and power-hitting Alesha Argeras (.277, 10 HR, 19 RBI).

Notre Dame vs. Seton Hall series history and doubleheader preview:

The Irish and Pirates will be meeting for the 21st and 22nd time on Sunday. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 19-1, with the loss coming to Seton Hall in the 2001 BIG EAST Championship.

Seton Hall is 19-7 this season and sits atop the BIG EAST Conference standings with a 5-2 league record. The have defeated Villanova in a single game, swept a doubleheader at Rutgers and split doubleheaders at home against Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh.

McKenzie Richards is leading the team in hitting with a .337 average. Laura Taylor has provided much of the RBI production, with 24 runs batted in and nine home runs to go along with a .320 average. In the pitching circle Christina Shanko has been most impressive for the Pirates, boasting a 12-2 record, 1.23 ERA and 102 Ks in 102.2 innings.

Last week’s offensive surge puts Irish atop the BIG EAST in hitting:

Notre Dame out-scored its opponents 24-5 last week while posting doubleheader sweeps at Purdue and at home against Loyola (Chicago). The Irish are now hitting .272 as a team, but their .279 mark at the beginning of the week led the BIG EAST ahead of Virginia Tech (.277) and Villanova (.276). Individually, Andrea Loman was sixth in the league in hitting (.370) and slugging percentage (.603). The Irish are also tied for the league lead in fielding percentage (.975) with Boston College.

Loman proving herself as one of the best in the country:

Notre Dame’s season-high six-game win streak has been keyed by the outstanding play from senior third base Andrea Loman. A tri-captain this season (along with classmates Andria Bledsoe and Alexis Madrid), Loman has led Notre Dame to six straight wins with a .474 batting average and six RBI. She also has stole three bases, drawn two walks and provided the winning hit in three of Notre Dame’s last eight victories.

On the season, Loman boasts a .380 batting average with four home runs, 20 RBI, nine stolen bases and a .608 slugging percentage.

Loman also boasts 11-game hit streak:

With her hit in the second game at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Andrea Loman extended her season-high hit streak to 11 games (dating back to DePaul on March 14). During the streak Loman has gone 15-34 (.441) with two home runs, one double, 11 RBI and five stolen bases.

Heather Booth developing into a force:

Freshman Heather Booth has hit her stride over the last 10 games. During the string, she has gone 4-1 in five appearances with two combined shut outs and 25 strike outs in 30.0 IP. Opponents have scored four runs off her, but only two of them were earned.

Booth is pushing to get her ERA under the 2.00 barrier, carrying a 2.02 ERA into this weekend’s doubleheader action. She is 10-5 this season with five complete games, 71 Ks and three shut outs (two combined, one solo).

Notre Dame team members chasing down career records this season:

There are a number of Irish team members ascending the career record charts this season. The senior-captain trio of Alexis Madrid, Andria Bledsoe and Andrea Loman are all approaching the career games played record. Madrid has appeared in 208 career games, Bledsoe 206 and Loman 205. Notre Dame has 30 games remaining on the regular-season schedule this year. Combined with any post season contests, and all three Irish players have a shot at the career games played record of 245, held by Jarrah Myers (1999-2002).

Loman, a top player on the Irish team in all her years with Notre Dame, is threatening a number of career marks. She is third in runs scored (140) behind Jenny Kriech (1999-2002). She is creeping up the most hits list with 195, needing a strong finish to get in the top five (243). Loman and Bledsoe are both about to appear on the top five in all-time doubles, as Loman has 38 and Bledsoe 35. In fifth-place is Lizzy Lemire with 43 and Melanie Alkire holds the all-time record with 49.

Loman, Bledsoe and Hartmann are all moving up the career home run record list:

1. Jarrah Myers (1999-2002), 36

2. Melanie Alkire (1998-2001), 30

3. Sara Hayes (1992-95), 26

Andrea Loman, 26

5. Meghan Murray (1994-97), 15

Liz Hartmann, 13

Andria Bledsoe, 12

Loman is also within reach of the career walks record (needing just one more to break Jarrah Myers’ career mark of 76) and stolen bases mark (Loman has 51, needing eight more this season to break Katie Marten’s record of 58 from 1994-97).

Notre Dame single-game home run record has even more company:

Notre Dame’s original single-game home run record was set in 1990 when Sheri Quinn hit two home runs against Loyola-Chicago. Since that day on March 24, 1990, the feat has been matched 14 times. Andria Bledsoe and Liz Hartmann hit two home runs each in Notre Dame’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 28. Hartmann was already a member of the record-holding club after hitting two bombs against Oakland in 2002.

In all, five current Notre Dame players are among the nine in school history who have hit two home runs in one game. Jarrah Myers (1999-2002) is the only Notre Dame player to hit two home runs in a game three times in her career – against Virginia Tech (4-30-02), Seton Hall (4-30-00) and CS Northridge (3-11-01).

Bledsoe enjoys first career grand slam:

Even as senior short stop Andria Bledsoe closes in on the top five all-time in career home runs, she has never hit one with the bases loaded until Tuesday’s doubleheader at Purdue. Bledsoe liked the second pitch she saw in her second at bat on Tuesday, blasting a bases loaded grand slam for her fourth home run of the season. The Higley, Ariz., native had hit a grand slam in the fall exhibition season of 2001.

New national poll:

USA Softball, in conjuncture with and the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) have formed a new national poll. See page seven of this notes package for both the ESPN/USA Softball poll and the USA Today/NFCA top 25.

Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf in her second season:

Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf led her team to a 44-17 record in 2002 – her first season as the program’s leader. A former assistant at Notre Dame and player at Nebraska (’92), Gumpf and her staff landed the BIG EAST Conference Coaching Staff of the Year award and shared the NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year award with Wisconsin last season.

Among Notre Dame’s many accomplishments in 2002, the Irish advanced to the final day of competition at the NCAA regionals for the second-consecutive season, won the BIG EAST regular-season and tournament titles and set school records for home runs (54) and fielding percentage (.971).

California girls:

Just a quick glance at the 2003 Notre Dame softball roster can beg the question; is the Notre Dame campus located on the west coast?

In all, 10 Irish players call California home – that is over 50% of the roster. Add in head coach Deanna Gumpf (La Palma) and the Notre Dame softball team has a distinctive Golden State flavor.

The California girls: Steffany Stenglein (Huntington Beach), Carrie Wisen (Fullerton), Jessica Sharron (Agoura Hills), Liz Hartmann (Novato), Chantal DeAlcuaz (Modesto), Alexis Madrid (Temecula), Mallorie Lenn (Garden Grove), Heather Booth (Riverside), Andrea Loman (Riverside) and Meagan Ruthrauff (La Mirada).

Notre Dame preseason favorite to win the BIG EAST Conference:

The BIG EAST Conference has released its 2002 preseason softball poll and the University of Notre Dame softball team ended up as the top choice, as voted on by the league’s coaches, to win the 2003 league championship. The Irish received 99 points in the conference’s preseason release, ahead of Syracuse in second place (85) and Villanova (75) in third. Notre Dame received nine first-place votes, while Villanova and Virginia Tech each received one. 2002 BIG EAST Preseason Softball Poll

Rank, team, (first place votes), points, ’02 record

1. Notre Dame (9), 99 pts., 44-17

2. Syracuse, 85 pts., 25-21

3. Villanova (1), 75 pts., 45-15

4. Virginia Tech (1), 71 pts., 42-18

5. Seton Hall, 69 pts., 29-17

6. Boston College, 63 pts., 26-26

7. St. John’s, 36 pts., 23-30-1

8. Rutgers, 35 pts., 22-25

9. Connecticut, 31 pts., 5-15

10. Pittsburgh, 30 pts., 21-33

11. Providence, 11 pts., 5-15

Mallorie Lenn wins gold medal with the U.S. Junior National team:

Freshman Mallorie Lenn landed a spot on the U.S. Junior National team that eventually won the First Junior Women’s Pan American Championship in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Lenn, from Garden Grove, Calif., was one of the starting catchers on the U.S. team that did not surrender a single run during the tournament. The team was potent on offense as well, dispatching Netherlands Antilles 21-0, Guatemala 20-0 and Jamaica 20-0.

The U.S.’s main competition in the tournament was Canada, and in the first match up during round-robin play Lenn provided the game-winning RBI in her team’s 1-0 victory. Lenn also served as the catcher for the gold-medal game against Canada (a 2-0 U.S. victory).

The victory provided the USA with a berth in the 2003 International Softball Federation Junior Women’s World Championships in Nanjin, China, during the summer of 2003.

All-Time Record:

Entering the 2003 season, Notre Dame softball has posted 556 wins in 14 seasons (almost 40 wins per season). The Irish have won 67% of their games and have never posted a losing season.

Road Warriors:

February isn’t the best time to play softball in Northern Indiana, so the Notre Dame softball team hits the road exclusively during the first two months of the season to take on some of the best teams in the nation. In just the last five years, Notre Dame has visited Arizona, Georgia, California, Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Nevada, Hawaii and Oklahoma in early-season tournament action. This year, the Irish have already visited Tampa, Fla., for the USF/Wilson Tournament and Columbus, Ga., for the NFCA Leadoff Classic, Lafayette, Louisiana for the Louisiana Classic and Fullerton, Calif., for the Kia Klassic.

Irish will not back down from the best in the country: In what has become an annual tradition for the Notre Dame softball team, the Irish spent the first two month of the season crisscrossing the country and taking on the best teams in the nation.

Notre Dame began the year on Feb. 15, 16 and 17 at the USF/Wilson Tournament in Tampa, Fla., facing traditional power South Florida and several NCAA east regional teams, including Hofstra and Rhode Island. South Florida has recently debuted in the national top 25 at #24.

Three weeks ago Notre Dame was at the challenging NFCA Leadoff Classic taking on defending national champion #4 California, Illinois State and #17 Alabama. The Irish also went to the west coast for the 2003 Kia Klassic in Fullerton, Calif. Notre Dame faced Fresno State, #4 Nebraska and #13 DePaul at the Kia this year.

Notre Dame’s regular-season schedule also features the Blue Demons later this month (April 29).