April 19, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team resumes BIG EAST Conference play this weekend with three games against Pittsburgh at Vartabedian Field. Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled for a noon first pitch, with Sunday’s series finale also slated for a noon start.
The Irish (30-10, 10-1 BIG EAST) are 26-2 all-time against the Panthers (16-24, 5-9 BIG EAST), and have won six straight meetings between the teams. Notre Dame claimed a final conference weekend sweep last season (May 5-6) at Pittsburgh, outscoring the Panthers a combined 18-1 to finish with a 16-3 mark in the BIG EAST.
Notre Dame has won four straight games after sweeping Rutgers last weekend at Melissa Cook Stadium and earning a 2-0 midweek win at Michigan State Tuesday. The Irish have had six different winning streaks during the 2013 season, with four such strings lasting three games or more.
Fans can follow live stats for this weekend’s games via by visiting UND.com. Live video for Saturday’s doubleheader will be available on ESPN3.com, courtesy of PantherVision.
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh
April 20-21, 2013
Vartabedian Field – Petersen Sports Complex
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(30-10 overall, 10-1 BIG EAST)
(16-24 overall, 5-9 BIG EAST; ND leads all-time series 26-2, 25-2 in BIG EAST play)
Notre Dame Weekend Schedule
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh – Saturday, noon (ET)/ESPN3PantherVision
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh – Saturday, 2 p.m. (ET)/ESPN3PantherVision
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh – Sunday, noon (ET)
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame swept Rutgers during the third annual Strikeout Cancer Weekend at Melissa Cook Stadium, winning 11-2 in five innings, 5-1 and 8-6 with a final-inning walk-off home run.
– The Irish won all three Strikeout Cancer games for the first time in the event’s history. According to preliminary donation counts, Notre Dame is believed to have raised more than $30,000 last weekend.
– With its 8-2 game one win April 3 at Georgetown, Notre Dame won the 1,000th game in program history. In 25 seasons of competition, the Irish are a combined 1,007-448-3 (.691).
– For the fourth straight week, Emilee Koerner claimed the number one slot in individual batting average in the NCAA national statistics rankings. Koerner is currently hitting at a .500 clip. A USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 25 Finalist, Koerner also ranked third in doubles per game (0.44), 12th in slugging percentage (.893) and 13th in on-base percentage (.557) amongst Division I peers entering the week.
– Notre Dame opened the Rutgers series with only one walk-off win during the 2013 season (3-2, Northern Illinois, March 15). Casey Africano’s fifth-inning home run in game one of the series (11-2) and Cassidy Whidden’s three-run long ball in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game three (8-6) surpassed that total in one weekend.
– Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Michigan State clinched Notre Dame’s 25th consecutive 30-win season. The Irish have never won fewer than 30 games in a season during their history.
– Casey Africano received her first career BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll citation Monday. Africano was a key contributor in all three of Notre Dame’s wins in its weekend series sweep of Rutgers at Melissa Cook Stadium, batting an even .500 (3-for-6) with two game-winning home runs, six RBI, three runs scored, and a team-best 10 total bases and 1.667 slugging percentage.
– Amy Buntin has reached base in a team-high 17 consecutive games. The 2012 All-American is hitting .405 with one home run, 14 RBI and 11 runs scored in the last 17 games she has batted.
Notre Dame’s 8-2 victory over Georgetown in game one April 3 was the 1,000th win in program history. The Irish needed only 1,449 games to reach the milestone, and have a .691 all-time winning percentage (1,007-448-3).
Head coaches Brian Boulac (1989-92, 135-90-2), Liz Miller (1993-2001, 377-156) and Deanna Gumpf (2002-present, 495-202-1) have been credited with all 1,007 team wins. Notre Dame has averaged just over 40 wins per season (40.28) during its 25-year history.
Whidden Rakes At The Dish
Cassidy Whidden has emerged as a dangerous power threat during her two seasons at Notre Dame, but the sophomore catcher’s career statistics are even more telling.
Of Whidden’s 21 hits as a member of the Irish, 10 are home runs, meaning nearly 50 percent of her safe hits have left the park. Whidden hit a two-out grand slam Saturday and a walk-off, two-strike, two-out home run Sunday against Rutgers.
Relive The Magical Bottom Of The 7th
A five-run deficit did not seem to faze Notre Dame in game two Sunday against Rutgers. Trailing the Scarlet Knights 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Irish embarked on a half-inning for the ages.
Laura Winter opened the Notre Dame seventh with a single down the left field line, and Casey Africano drew a 3-2 walk to move Winter into scoring position. A Rutgers wild pitch moved both runners to second and third base, respectively. Chloe Saganowich made the most of the opportunity, lacing a two-run single to left field to trim the deficit to 6-3.
A throwing error by Rutgers on a ground ball up the middle by Micaela Arizmendi allowed pinch runner Monica Torres to reach second base safely. Jenna Simon followed with a sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position. Back-to-back RBI singles by Kelsey Thornton and Emilee Koerner closed the gap to just one run (6-5).
After Katey Haus reached on a fielder’s choice, Scarlet Knight pitcher Alyssa Landrith took a 0-2 advantage in the count against Cassidy Whidden. On a pitch at the letters and outside, Whidden clubbed a deep three-run home run, sending Melissa Cook Stadium into a frenzy and securing an 8-6 Notre Dame comeback victory.
Irish With Big Edge Against Panthers
Notre Dame is 26-2 all-time against Pittsburgh, with all but one game being contested in BIG EAST Conference regular season play. The Irish are 14-1 in games played in Pittsburgh, and have won six straight over the Panthers.
Notre Dame outscored Pittsburgh a combined 18-1 in a three-game sweep during the final weekend of BIG EAST play last season. Chloe Saganowich was a blistering 6-for-10 (.600) with a home run and three RBI during the series, while Laura Winter tossed back-to-back shutouts, striking out 18 Panthers in 14 innings.
Gumpf Nearing 500
Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf is five wins away from becoming the first Notre Dame softball head coach to record 500 career victories (495-202-1, .709).
Gumpf’s squads have averaged nearly 41 wins (41.25) per season during her 12-year tenure at the helm of the Irish, and have won seven BIG EAST regular season and four tournament championships during that span.