April 13, 2016
by Tony Jones
#19/20 Notre Dame vs. Butler
April 14, 2016
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Indiana
#19/20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame Weekly Schedule
Thursday, April 14
Sunday, April 17
The final game of a six-game University of Notre Dame softball homestand is set to commence on Thursday night, as Butler travels to Melissa Cook Stadium for the second time in as many seasons for a midweek nonconference meeting against the Irish. The 6:30 p.m. (ET) game will be streamed live on WatchND.
No. 19/20 Notre Dame (28-6) won its third straight game by downing Pittsburgh 13-1 in five innings during Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play on April 10 at Melissa Cook Stadium. The originally scheduled three-game conference series was postponed to a lone Sunday matchup due to inclement weather.
Butler (22-15) is in search of its first win on the Notre Dame campus in what will be the Bulldogs’ 18th road trip to face the Irish. Notre Dame is 17-0 all-time in home games against Butler, which includes a 3-0 mark at Melissa Cook Stadium. Overall, the Irish hold a 29-2 advantage over the Bulldogs dating back to when the teams were league rivals in the former Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now Horizon League) in 1989.
Along with live video coverage on WatchND, live stats will be available for all Thursday’s game via CBS Gametracker.
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.
Most recent episode (Episode 5) of the Deanna Gumpf Radio Show
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame has won 17 straight nonconference home games in the regular season dating back to March of 2013. Since a defeat at DePaul on April 4, 2014, the Irish have won 19 straight midweek contests overall. Factoring in the tail end of the 2016 tournament schedule, Notre Dame has downed 18 consecutive nonconference opponents since Feb. 20.
– Notre Dame outlasted both the elements and a potent Pittsburgh offensive attack on April 10 in a 13-1 ACC rout in five innings at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish and Panthers saw their conference series shortened to one game due to inclement weather, and Notre Dame emerged victorious for the 33rd time in 36 all-time meetings with Pittsburgh since the 1999 season.
– Notre Dame is unbeaten in its last 16 conference series at Melissa Cook Stadium, which have spanned both the BIG EAST Conference and the ACC. The Irish have won 12 league matchups and split four other two-game series at home in conference play dating back to the 2012 season.
– Notre Dame defeated its fourth top 25 foe of the 2016 season by claiming a 5-4 win in the bottom of the seventh inning over No. 9/8 Florida State on April 3. The Irish have knocked off at least one top 25 opponent at Melissa Cook Stadium in each of the last four seasons.
– The Irish Sunday triumph over Florida State was the 26th win for Notre Dame against a top 10 team in program history. Notre Dame has notched eight wins over opponents ranked within the national top 10 since 2013, the second-most top 10 victories for the Irish ever in a four-year span (nine, 1999-2002).
– Irish softball is one of only two Notre Dame varsity athletic programs to have never posted a losing record. The softball team clinched its 28th straight season with a .500 record or better with an 11-3 win in five innings over IUPUI on April 5 at Melissa Cook Stadium. Notre Dame’s three-time national champion women’s soccer program has also logged 28 straight winning seasons since its inception at the varsity level in the fall of 1988.
Three-Week Homestand Finally Winds Down
Notre Dame improved to 6-1 overall at Melissa Cook Stadium in 2016 with a 13-1 ACC victory over Pittsburgh on April 10, the team’s fourth win in its current six-game homestand.
Earlier in the week, an 11-3 win in five innings over IUPUI on April 5 became the 17th consecutive nonconference victory in the regular season by the Irish at home since 2013. Notre Dame remains in the midst of one of the best home stretches in program history by posting a 39-9 (.813) overall mark at Melissa Cook Stadium in that span factoring in all games played.
Since the stadium opened for play during the 2008 campaign Notre Dame is an impressive 129-22-1 (.852) at home, including regular and postseason games.
Irish In Top Form In Win Over Pitt
Notre Dame scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, most of which was played during a steady rain shower, on its way to defeating Pittsburgh 13-1 in five innings on a soggy but successful day at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Sunday’s scheduled second game of the ACC doubleheader was officially canceled due to the accumulation of rain on the playing surface, as the opening contest was delayed on two separate occasions for over an hour of total time due to inclement weather. The standalone meeting in the originally slated three-game league set between Notre Dame and Pittsburgh gave the abbreviated conference series to the Irish.
The Pitt Game Was Over WhenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Â¦
After junior Rachel Nasland worked around a leadoff walk in the top of the first inning to slam the door on Pittsburgh, Notre Dame took complete command of the contest in the bottom of the opening frame.
Freshman Caitlyn Brooks blasted off on a 1-1 pitch with two outs to send a deep two-run home run over the center field wall that put the Irish in front 2-0, a lead Notre Dame would not relinquish. The Irish added two runs in the second, three runs in the third and six runs in the fourth inning to overwhelm the Pittsburgh defense.
Production From 6-9 Lifts Irish
The bottom half of the Notre Dame offense flexed its offensive muscles during the 13-1 run-rule victory over Pittsburgh on April 10, finishing the day as the most efficient and dangerous part of the order.
Irish hitters slotted sixth through ninth in that game’s lineup, which included sophomore Morgan Reed, freshman Maddie McCracken, senior Megan Sorlie and sophomore Bailey Bigler, batted a combined 7-for-11 (.636) with seven RBI, four doubles and six runs scored in the win over Pittsburgh.
Mo Puts Together The Perfect Week
Sophomore Morgan Reed continued to find her offensive stroke during last week’s pair of games at Melissa Cook Stadium, turning in two stellar performances to guide the Notre Dame batting order.
Reed finished a combined 5-for-5 with one walk against IUPUI and Pittsburgh, adding one double, one stolen base, three RBI and a team-high five runs scored for the week. Reed was 3-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored over the first four innings against Pittsburgh, alone.
Reed enters Thursday’s game against Butler as one of eight Notre Dame players batting .300 or above (.305) after the season’s first 34 games, and has chipped in seven doubles, 20 RBI and 29 runs scored thus far in 2016.
Sorlie Returns In A Big Way
After missing five games due to injury, senior Megan Sorlie has re-entered the Notre Dame lineup red hot in her past four starts dating back to a doubleheader with No. 9/8 Florida State on April 3. Sorlie logged a team-best .750 (6-for-8) batting average in that span, chipping in three doubles, three sacrifice hits, six RBI and two runs scored in the 3-1 Irish surge.
Along with sophomore Morgan Reed, Sorlie reached base in all of her official plate appearances against both IUPUI (April 5) and Pittsburgh (April 10), driving in a total of five runs during the undefeated Notre Dame week.
Irish Extend Historical Edge In Pitt Series
Notre Dame emerged victorious for the 33rd time in 36 all-time meetings against Pittsburgh with its 13-1 win over the Panthers in five innings on April 10. The Irish have claimed at least one win against Pittsburgh in every calendar year since 1999 except for 2014 (series canceled due to inclement weather), and are now 32-2 (.941) during in-season conference games against the Panthers that has spanned both the BIG EAST (1999-2013) and ACC (2015-present).
Of the 33 total Notre Dame wins throughout the history of the Pittsburgh series, 24 Irish victories have come by a margin of five or more runs.
ND Against Fellow Hoosiers
Notre Dame improved to 11-1 in its last 12 games against fellow Indiana teams at Melissa Cook Stadium dating back to the 2011 season with an 11-3 victory in five innings over IUPUI on April 5.
The Irish have outscored Hoosier state foes by a combined run count of 96-25 on the Notre Dame campus over the past five seasons entering Thursday’s showdown with Butler.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is 29-2 (.935) all-time against Butler in a series that dates back to the inaugural varsity season of the Irish program in 1989. Notre Dame has won 21 straight games against the Bulldogs since the 1993 season, outscoring Butler by a cumulative 125-15 run count in that span.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men’s soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.