Feb. 25, 2016
by Tony Jones
#23/RV Notre Dame at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic
Feb. 26-28, 2016
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
#23/RV Notre Dame Fighting Irish
East Carolina Pirates
#22/RV Central Florida Knights
North Florida Ospreys
Penn State Nittany Lions
Notre Dame Diamond 9 Citrus Classic Schedule
Friday, Feb. 26
Saturday, Feb. 27
Sunday, Feb. 28
Fresh off a triumphant effort at last weekend’s Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, the University of Notre Dame softball team ventures to the state of Florida for its sixth straight appearance at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic. The Irish will play five games over the course of three days at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, opening against East Carolina (1:15 p.m. ET) and No. 22/RV Central Florida (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3) on Friday.
North Florida (1:15 p.m. ET) and Bryant (3:30 p.m. ET) await the No. 23/RV Irish (7-3) on Saturday, with Notre Dame set to close the tournament on Sunday at 10 a.m. (ET) against Penn State. All five games will feature live stats via CBS Gametracker at UND.com.
Notre Dame is a combined 18-4 (.818) at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic dating back to the 2011 season after posting a 4-1 record at last year’s tournament. The contest against UCF on Friday will mark the sixth top 25 foe that the Irish have faced in their first 12 games to open the 2016 campaign.
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame logged a 4-1 (.800) record during last weekend’s Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in California for the second straight season. The Irish are now a combined 12-4 (.750) in the tournament dating back to a 2014 appearance at the Mary Nutter Classic.
– Notre Dame’s 8-6 win over No. 8/7 UCLA on Feb. 20 at the Mary Nutter Classic was the second straight Irish victory over the 11-time NCAA champion Bruins. Notre Dame previously downed then No. 6/7 UCLA 8-4 on Feb. 6, 2015 at Easton Stadium in Los Angeles after dropping the first eight decisions in series history to the Bruins.
– UCLA was the 75th top 25 opponent that Notre Dame has defeated in the past 25 seasons, and the 10th overall ranked foe to fall to the Irish since 2013. The Bruins entered the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic ranked eighth in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and seventh in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll.
– Notre Dame returns to the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic for the sixth straight season dating back to 2011, logging a cumulative 18-4 (.818) record in tournament play. All five Irish opponents on the 2016 Diamond 9 Citrus Classic slate, East Carolina, No. 22/RV Central Florida, North Florida, Bryant and Penn State, will collide with the Irish for the first time in games held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex during this weekend’s event.
– Junior co-captain/All-American Karley Wester was named to the Top 50 Watch List for the 2016 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award on Feb. 3. Wester earned a spot on the watch list for the second straight preseason, and was a Top 26 finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award in 2015.
– Irish softball is one of only two Notre Dame varsity athletic programs to have never posted a losing record. The softball team clinched its 27th straight season with a .500 record or better with a 42-15 final mark to close the 2015 campaign. Notre Dame’s three-time national champion women’s soccer program has logged 28 straight winning seasons since its inception at the varsity level in the fall of 1988.
Irish Notch Four MNCC Wins
Notre Dame capped its second straight 4-1 performance at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic with a 12-0 victory in five innings over George Washington last Sunday at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex. The Irish outscored their five opponents 41-18 during the tournament, ripping 50 hits and adding eight successful stolen bases.
Notre Dame downed its third ranked opponent in two seasons at the Mary Nutter Classic with an 8-6 Saturday night win over No. 8/7 UCLA. The Irish defeated No. RV/25 Texas 5-1 and No. 7/8 Georgia 5-3 on their final day of play at the 2015 edition of the tournament.
ND Continues Narrowing The Gap
After breaking through for its first win against 11-time NCAA champion UCLA (8-4 on Feb. 6) during last season’s So Cal Collegiate Classic, Notre Dame completed the repeat by downing the No. 8/7 Bruins 8-6 last Saturday at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
Two runs or less have decided four of the past six games between the teams dating back to 2008, with the eight Notre Dame runs in each of the past two matchups with UCLA establishing a series-high for the Irish.
Wester Sisters Take MNCC By Storm
As the 1-2 punch at the top of the Notre Dame lineup, junior co-captain Karley Wester and freshman Ali Wester paced the Notre Dame offense during its successful trip to last weekend’s Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
The Wester sisters batted a cumulative .441 (Karley .450, Ali .429) with 15 hits, nine RBI, 12 runs and seven stolen bases in seven attempts in the 4-1 Irish weekend, which included a win over No. 8/7 UCLA.
Through 10 games in 2016, Karley is the Notre Dame leader with 19 hits (also leads the ACC), six stolen bases (ACC leader), 13 runs scored and 22 total bases. Ali ranks second on the Irish roster with 13 runs and three stolen bases.
Mic Hits The 30 HR, 140 RBI Marks
With a sixth-inning home run against No. 11/9 Washington at last weekend’s Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, senior Micaela Arizmendi became the 10th player in Notre Dame history to surpass the 30 home run plateau for a career.
With three RBI on the day against the Huskies, Arizmendi also added her name to the list of the 10 top performers in runs batted in by eclipsing the 140 RBI mark with the Irish.
In 160 career games (143 starts) at Notre Dame, Arizmendi is a lifetime .361 hitter with 30 home runs, 143 RBI and 89 runs scored. A 2014 NFCA All-America second team selection, the Irish first baseman has been named to the all-ACC first team in each of the past two seasons.
Bigler Makes The Most Of Her Shot
After finding her niche in the Notre Dame starting lineup at the season-opening Kajikawa Classic, sophomore outfielder Bailey Bigler has emerged as the most consistent hitter in the Irish batting order.
In five games at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, Bigler batted a team-high .538 (7-for-13) with two doubles, three RBI, one stolen base, five runs scored, a .692 slugging percentage and a .600 on-base percentage. Over her five starts in the tournament, Bigler notched three different multiple-hit games.
Entering the weekend, Bigler leads all ACC hitters with a .500 batting average and ranks second in the conference with a .565 on-base percentage.
Coach Gumpf Approaching #600
With two wins at this weekend’s Diamond 9 Citrus Classic, Deanna Gumpf will become the third Notre Dame head coach to reach 600 career wins with an Irish varsity athletics program. Gumpf enters the tournament with a 598-238-1 (.715) record in her first 15 seasons at the helm of the Irish softball team.
Gumpf, already the third winningest coach in the history of the Notre Dame athletics department, would join legendary fencing coach Michael DeCicco (799 wins) and Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw (726 wins) as Irish mentors to surpass the 600-win plateau at Notre Dame.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is 9-3 (.750) all-time against its five opponents at the 2016 Diamond 9 Citrus Classic.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant 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.