April 26, 2016
by Tony Jones
#19/18 Notre Dame vs. DePaul
April 27, 2016
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Indiana
#19/18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
DePaul Blue Demons
Notre Dame Weekly Schedule
Wednesday, April 27
No. 19/18 Notre Dame vs. DePaul – 4 p.m. (ET)/WatchND
Saturday, April 30
No. 19/18 Notre Dame vs. No. RV Louisville – 1 p.m. (ET)/ESPN3
No. 19/18 Notre Dame vs. No. RV Louisville – 3 p.m. (ET)/ESPN3
Sunday, May 1
No. 19/18 Notre Dame vs. No. RV Louisville – Noon (ET)/ESPN3
The University of Notre Dame softball team closes the 2016 regular season with seven scheduled games at Melissa Cook Stadium. Notre Dame’s season-ending homestand begins with a Wednesday showdown at 4 p.m. (ET) against DePaul on WatchND.
No. 19/18 Notre Dame (35-8) returns to the friendly confines of Melissa Cook Stadium with a 9-1 home record this season, including a perfect 7-0 mark against nonconference opponents. The Irish have outscored visitors 77-30 in their first 10 home games of 2016, holding an 89-53 edge in hits, a 73-27 lead in RBI and a 26-8 cushion in successful stolen base attempts.
DePaul (21-23) is in search of its first win on the Notre Dame campus since 2009, with the Irish earning the victory in six of the past eight matchups with the Blue Demons. Notre Dame closed its BIG EAST Conference series with DePaul in 2013 holding a slight 9-7 advantage in league meetings.
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.
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame has won 20 straight nonconference home games in the regular season dating back to March of 2013 after a 7-3 win over Valparaiso on April 20. Including the 2016 tournament schedule, Notre Dame has downed 21 consecutive nonconference opponents since Feb. 20.
– Notre Dame is 9-1 (.900) this season in games played at Melissa Cook Stadium, outscoring opponents by a cumulative 77-30 run count. The Irish are a combined 52-9 (.852) at home dating back to the 2013 season.
– Notre Dame officially cleared the 35-win mark for the 23rd time in 28 seasons with a 12-2 victory in five innings over North Carolina on April 24. The Irish have averaged more than 40 wins per season since the softball program was elevated to varsity status in 1989.
– Junior co-captain Karley Wester was named one of the Top 25 Finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award for the second straight season on April 13. Wester is the third Notre Dame player in the last four seasons to be considered for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award after being named one of 26 finalists in 2015. Wester joined three-time All-American Emilee Koerner (’15) in not only receiving top 25 recognition for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, but both standouts are the only Notre Dame players ever to log at least 70 hits and score 50 or more runs in three straight seasons.
– Freshman Ali Wester was selected as one of the top 25 finalists for the 2016 Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I National Freshman of the Year award that was released on April 21. Wester is the Notre Dame team leader in sacrifice hits (18), and has the second most hits (57), runs scored (40) and stolen bases (18) as of April 26.
– 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.
Irish Return Home To Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame improved to 9-1 overall at Melissa Cook Stadium in 2016 with a 7-3 victory over Valparaiso on April 20, the 20th 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 52-9 (.852) 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 132-22-1 (.855) at home, including regular and postseason games.
Mic’s Stellar Weekend
An always prodigious power hitter for Notre Dame throughout its first three seasons as an ACC member, senior Micaela Arizmendi has found a multitude of offensive success during conference series. That hitting acumen was on full display at North Carolina April 24-25.
Arizmendi homered in all three Notre Dame games against the Tar Heels, adding two doubles and eight RBI to a .556 batting average, 1.778 slugging percentage and .636 on-base percentage for the set. Arizmendi connected on the second Notre Dame grand slam of 2016 in the top of the fifth inning in primetime against North Carolina on April 25.
Arizmendi is Notre Dame’s hits (19), doubles (6), home run (5) and RBI (20) leader in ACC play through 15 conference starts.
Reed Finds Rhythm At The Plate
Sophomore Morgan Reed has ignited the Notre Dame lineup from the middle of the Irish batting order over her past 10 games, posting a .484 batting average with 15 hits and 10 runs scored since April 10. Reed is the Notre Dame team leader with six multi-hit efforts in her last 10 starts, with two hits in each of the past four Irish games.
Irish Offense Remains On Fire
Notre Dame has regularly been recognized as one of the top offensive clubs in ACC softball since joining the conference prior to the 2014 season. Thanks to steady and consistent production at the plate, the Irish have extended that reputation into 2016.
After 43 games, Notre Dame is the ACC leader with a .349 team batting average and 420 hits to go along with a league-high 40 sacrifice hits. The Irish are also second in runs scored (309), RBI (279) and total bases (592).
Notre Dame had three different hitters, junior co-captain Karley Wester (.450, first), freshman Ali Wester (.404, sixth) and freshman Melissa Rochford (.396, seventh), ranked among the top seven hitters in the ACC as of April 26, the most in the conference.
Notre Dame Success Against Illinois Foes
Entering Wednesday’s game against DePaul, Notre Dame has faced 10 different opponents from Illinois a total of 197 times. The Irish are 116-79-2 (.594) all-time against foes from the Prairie State, with their 33 wins against Loyola-Chicago setting the standard against Illinois opposition.
Ali Wester Named NFCA Frosh Of The Year Finalist
Freshman outfielder/infielder Ali Wester was selected as one of the top 25 finalists for the 2016 Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I National Freshman of the Year award on April 21.
Wester became the second Notre Dame player to be a finalist for the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award since its inception in 2014, joining sister and current Notre Dame junior co-captain Karley Wester. The elder Wester was a top three finalist for the inaugural national freshman of the year award in 2014.
Ali Wester ranks second on the Notre Dame roster and sixth in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a .404 batting average as a primary slap hitter in her first 43 career starts, adding the second-most hits (57) and seventh-most runs scored (40) and stolen bases (18) in the conference. Wester also leads all ACC players with 18 sacrifice bunts thus far in 2016.
Wester Again A USA Softball POY Top 25 Finalist
Junior co-captain Karley Wester was named one of the Top 25 Finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award for the second straight season on April 13. Wester is the first Notre Dame finalist in consecutive seasons in the history of the award (Top 26 Finalist in 2015).
Wester, Notre Dame’s all-time stolen bases leader with 86 career steals, vaulted ahead of two-time All-American Megan Ciolli (’05) with her 34th stolen base of 2016 at North Carolina on April 25 to establish an Irish single-season record.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is 29-34-1 all-time against DePaul in a varsity series that originated in Notre Dame’s inaugural 1989 season. The Irish have won six of the last eight meetings with the Blue Demons since 2012, which included a three-game BIG EAST sweep at Melissa Cook Stadium on April 21-22 of that year.
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.