April 1, 2016
by Tony Jones
#22/20 Notre Dame vs. #9/8 Florida State
April 3, 2016
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Indiana
#22/20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(25-5, 4-2 ACC)
#9/8 Florida State Seminoles
(26-3, 6-0 ACC)
Notre Dame Weekend Schedule
Sunday, April 3
The top two teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) are set to meet for the second time ever at Melissa Cook Stadium this weekend when the University of Notre Dame softball team welcomes No. 9/8 Florida State for a two-game weekend series. Both Sunday league contests will air live on ESPN3.
No. 22/20 Notre Dame (25-5, 4-2 ACC) will make its 2016 home ACC debut during the series against Florida State (26-3, 6-0 ACC). The Irish previously split a pair of home games with the Seminoles on April 13, 2014, in the only prior meetings between the teams at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Along with the live broadcast on ESPN3, live stats throughout the series will be available 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.
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame has won 16 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 18 straight midweek contests overall.
– Notre Dame’s 25-5 record is the second-best start through 30 games in the history of the program, trailing only the historic 2001 Irish squad (27-3) that won a team record 54 games that season.
– Notre Dame is unbeaten in its last 14 conference series at Melissa Cook Stadium, which has spanned both the BIG EAST Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The Irish have won 11 league matchups and split three other two-game series at home in conference play dating back to the 2012 season.
– In Thursday’s release of updated ACC softball statistics, Notre Dame boasted a conference-best three players in the top five of cumulative batting average amongst all league hitters. Junior co-captain Karley Wester was second in the ACC with a .461 average, while freshman Ali Wester was fourth with a .436 average. Freshman Melissa Rochford checked in fifth with a .435 clip.
– Notre Dame’s 19-game winning streak that spanned Feb. 20-March 25 was not only the longest in the ACC, but the Irish began the week of March 21 with the longest victory string in the NCAA at the time. Notre Dame embarked on a 24-game winning streak from March 15-April 26 of 2015 that began with a 12-0 shutout of No. 9/10 Florida State in Tallahassee.
– Notre Dame’s 5-0 win over IPFW on March 30 was the sixth shutout spun by the Irish pitching staff in 2016, and the second in the team’s first three starts at Melissa Cook Stadium.
– 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 Remain Hot Inside The Confines Of The Cooker
Notre Dame’s 5-0 win over IPFW on March 30 was the 16th consecutive nonconference victory in the regular season by the Irish at home since 2013. In fact, Notre Dame has compiled one of the best home stretches in program history by posting a 36-8 (.818) overall mark at Melissa Cook Stadium in that span.
Since the stadium opened for play during the 2008 campaign Notre Dame is an impressive 126-21-1 (.855) at home, including regular and postseason games.
Nasland Continues 2016 Dominance
Junior pitcher Rachel Nasland has rebounded from injury to begin the 2016 season on the best roll of her Notre Dame career. The San Diego, California native is a perfect 9-0 in her first 17 appearances (nine starts) in the circle this season, adding one save to her 1.42 ERA that ranked first in the ACC as of April 1.
Opposing batters are hitting a mere .183 in 59.1 innings against Nasland entering this weekend’s series against Florida State, the third-best average against in the ACC. Nasland has struck out 60 batters while issuing 22 walks over her first 17 pitching appearances, which has featured nationally ranked foes Utah, Washington, UCLA and UCF.
Nasland tossed three shutout innings of relief on Wednesday against IPFW, yielding no hits with one walk and four strikeouts. The appearance marked Nasland’s third victory out of the Notre Dame bullpen this season.
Arizmendi Arrives In ACC Play
Senior infielder Micaela Arizmendi has established a lasting legacy as one of the most complete power hitters in Notre Dame history. The two-time all-ACC first team selection always has taken her offensive production to the next level in conference play.
A career .355 hitter in 180 games (163 starts) at Notre Dame, Arizmendi has hit at a .427 clip with 26 doubles, 14 home runs, 62 RBI and a .831 slugging percentage in 66 career conference appearances alone.
ND Team Offense Thriving
After the team’s first 30 starts to begin the 2016 season, Notre Dame has once more placed itself among the top offensive clubs in the ACC.
As of April 1, the Irish lead the ACC with an even 300 team hits. Notre Dame also ranks second in batting average (.346), and third in slugging percentage (.479), on-base percentage (.402), runs scored (220), RBI (196), doubles (49), total bases (416) and stolen bases (59).
Perennially included among the top hitting teams in the NCAA, Notre Dame enters the weekend 10th overall in Division I batting average.
Irish Edge In Home League Series
Notre Dame’s scheduled three-game ACC series against Florida State this weekend will be the 35th official conference series held at Melissa Cook Stadium since the home of the Irish opened in 2008. Counting league matchups that have spanned both the BIG EAST and ACC tenures of Notre Dame softball, the Irish are traditionally in their element against conference foes at home.
Notre Dame has been declared the outright winner in 23 of its 34 home conference series at Melissa Cook Stadium, splitting two-game matchups with opponents on 10 different occasions. Since joining the ACC in 2014, the Irish have won five conference series and split with nationally ranked foes North Carolina State (2014), Florida State (2014) and North Carolina (2015).
Wester 1-2 Punch Piling Up ND Runs
In 30 games at the top of the Notre Dame lineup in 2016, junior co-captain Karley Wester and freshman Ali Wester have been a riddle that opponents have yet to solve. The Westers rank 1-2 in batting average, hits, stolen bases and runs scored for the Irish thus far this season, with the run count showcasing each player’s best talent.
Karley leads all ACC players with an even 40 runs scored as of April 1, while Ali has chipped in 33 to rank fifth in the conference. Consider that Notre Dame opponents have scored a total of 87 runs against the Irish in the season’s first 30 games, and that the 73 combined runs scored by the Westers is more than 27 entire Division I softball teams have logged to this point in 2016.
ND Rolling Against Fellow Hoosiers
Notre Dame improved to 10-1 in its last 11 games against fellow Indiana teams at Melissa Cook Stadium dating back to the 2011 season with Wednesday’s 5-0 victory over IPFW.
The Irish have outscored Hoosier state foes by a combined run count of 85-22 on the Notre Dame campus over the past five seasons.
Irish Against The ACC
Notre Dame officially opened its third season in the ACC at Virginia on March 12. Taking into account all prior games, including those before joining the league, the Irish are a combined 150-49 (.754) against the current ACC membership.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is 4-7 all-time against Florida State, splitting the first two games (8-5, 7-9 in nine innings) that the teams played at Melissa Cook Stadium on April 13, 2014. Notre Dame downed the then No. 9 Seminoles 12-0 in five inning in the most recent series meeting on March 15, 2015 at JoAnne Graf Field in Tallahassee. Rachel Nasland threw the 35th solo no-hitter in Notre Dame history after blanking Florida State in that series finale, striking out four Seminole hitters over five innings to lock down the Irish victory.
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.