March 14, 2005

Juniors Heather Booth and Kellie Middleton earned weekly honors from the BIG EAST Conference on Monday after helping the University of Notre Dame softball team finish its Spring Break trip with a 6-1 record, including five-straight wins to end the week. The conference player of the week is the first BIG EAST award for Middleton, while Booth earns the third pitcher of the week accolade in her career.

Booth finished last week with a 3-0 record, making four appearances while allowing just two earned runs and striking out 16. She earned her second shutout of the season at UC Santa Barbara on March 7, keeping the Gauchos at bay as the Irish earned a 1-0 victory.

She also picked up two victories and a save during Notre Dame’s 4-0 run through the Spring Fling at the University of Hawai’i. She earned victories over the host team and Nevada, going the distance in both games and allowing just seven hits. Booth also earned her second career save against Virginia, entering the game with the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the seventh. She recorded a pop out and strike out to end the game.

For the week, Booth compiled a 0.71 ERA, allowing just 13 hits in 19.2 innings pitched.

Middleton served as the catalyst for the Irish offense, which exploded during last week’s Spring Break action. Notre Dame pounded out 45 hits and 25 runs during the Spring Fling and Middleton came out with the best overall statistical line from all the Irish starters.

The junior, who is back to full strength after missing 61 games last season with an injury, hit .563 in Notre Dame’s five games last week. She was unstoppable on the basepaths, swiping six bases in six attempts. No stolen base was bigger than her theft at UC Santa Barbara. She got on base with a bunt single, moved to second on a steal and scored on an RBI double by teammate Sara Schoonaert – the only run of the game.

Middleton was also hot in Notre Dame’s tournament action in Hawaii, going seven for 11 at the plate with two RBI and four stolen bases. She shared this week’s award with Providence’s Shannon Garvin.

The Irish will return to action this weekend at Ohio State, taking part in a two-day tournament in Columbus, Ohio, beginning on Saturday, March 19.