April 4, 2016
by Tony Jones
#22/20 Notre Dame vs. IUPUI
April 5, 2016
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Indiana
#22/20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame Midweek Schedule
Tuesday, April 5
Thursday, April 7
Melissa Cook Stadium remains bustling for the second straight week as five scheduled University of Notre Dame softball home games begin with a Tuesday evening meeting with IUPUI. The 5 p.m. (ET) nonconference contest will air live on WatchND, with live stats available via CBS Gametracker.
No. 22/20 Notre Dame (26-6) split a crucial Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) two-game series with No. 9/8 Florida State on Sunday, finishing the showdown with a 5-4 walk-off win over the Seminoles. The Irish have now downed four top 25 opponents in 2016, defeating two different top 10 foes (Florida State and No. 8 UCLA on Feb. 20) for the second straight season.
IUPUI (10-21) will make its first appearance at Melissa Cook Stadium with Tuesday’s scheduled meeting, the fourth overall game in the history of the series between the teams. Notre Dame improved to 2-1 (.667) all-time against IUPUI after beating the Jaguars 8-0 in five innings on March 26, 2008 at Ivy Field.
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 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 Sunday. 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).
– Notre Dame is unbeaten in its last 15 conference series at Melissa Cook Stadium, which has spanned both the BIG EAST Conference and the ACC. The Irish have won 11 league matchups and split four other two-game series at home in conference play dating back to the 2012 season.
– Notre Dame snapped Florida State’s 22-game winning streak by virtue of its game two victory, what at the time was the longest active win streak in the NCAA. It was the second straight Notre Dame meeting with the Seminoles that either started or ended a 20-plus game win surge, as the Irish embarked on a 24-game winning streak of their own from March 15-April 26 of 2015 that began with a 12-0 shutout of No. 9/10 Florida State in Tallahassee.
– In Monday’s release of updated ACC softball statistics, Notre Dame boasted a conference-best three players in the top six of cumulative batting average amongst all league hitters. Junior co-captain Karley Wester was second in the ACC with a .443 average, while freshman Melissa Rochford checked in third with a .435 clip. Freshman Ali Wester was sixth with a .422 average.
– 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 nonconference 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 Homestand Rolls Along
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 37-9 (.804) overall mark at Melissa Cook Stadium in that span factoring in Sunday’s ACC split with No. 9/8 Florida State.
Since the stadium opened for play during the 2008 campaign Notre Dame is an impressive 127-22-1 (.850) at home, including regular and postseason games.
ND 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 a 5-0 victory over IPFW on March 30.
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 entering Tuesday’s showdown with IUPUI.
Irish Split With No. 9/8 Noles In Dramatic Fashion
Sophomore outfielder Bailey Bigler laced a two-out RBI single to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Notre Dame to a 5-4 walk-off win over Florida State on Sunday in the nightcap of an ACC doubleheader at Melissa Cook Stadium.
No. 22/20 Notre Dame rebounded from a 14-5 defeat at the hands of No. 9/8 Florida State in the day’s first game to salvage the series split with the thrilling game two victory. The Irish snapped a 22-game winning streak that the Seminoles carried into the contest, which had been the longest active streak in NCAA Division I softball entering the weekend.
ND Picks Up Another Win In Crunch Time
Notre Dame’s 5-4 victory over Florida State to split the two-game ACC series between the teams was the fifth Irish triumph this season by way of the winning run being scored in the final Notre Dame ups of the game.
The Irish opened 2016 with a 2-1 win in eight innings against No. RV/23 Utah (Feb. 12) thanks to a walk-off RBI double by senior Micaela Arizmendi. Arizmendi repeated as the hero the following day against BYU (Feb. 13), smashing a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth in a 4-2 Notre Dame victory. Trailing Stony Brook 3-1 entering the top of the seventh inning on March 5, freshman Caitlyn Brooks ripped a two-run single with two outs to cap a three-run Notre Dame inning and a 4-3 Irish win.
Freshman Ali Wester completed the only Notre Dame run-rule walk-off thus far this season on March 22, singling to score junior co-captain Karley Wester in the bottom of the fifth inning in a 10-2 Irish victory over Eastern Michigan.
Bigler’s Big Afternoon
Shaking off a 0-for-2 outing (with one walk) in Sunday’s opening game against Florida State, sophomore Bailey Bigler took control of the nightcap for Notre Dame on both the offensive and defensive ends of the diamond. Bigler finished with a team-high three RBI, which included the game-winning hit, in a series of top plays to help the Irish vanquish the Seminoles.
Bigler struck first in the bottom of the fifth inning, connecting on a two-strike, two-out triple to center field that drove in two runs to put Notre Dame in front of No. 9/8 Florida State 4-1. After the Seminoles tied the contest with three runs in the top of the sixth, Bigler robbed the ACC’s top hitter Alex Powers of a sure base hit to open the top of the seventh frame with a diving catch in left field, setting the stage for a 1-2-3 Irish defensive inning against the Florida State order. Bigler delivered her second big hit of the night with two outs, lacing a walk-off RBI single into right field to win the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.
First Starts At The Hot Corner Go Sullivan’s Way
Making the first two starts of her Notre Dame career at third base, junior Kimmy Sullivan found her groove in a crucial ACC doubleheader versus No. 9/8 Florida State.
Sullivan rebounded from an early fielding error in game one against the Seminoles to record two stellar putouts and a team-high four assists in the field, adding a run scored on offense. The Greenwood, Indiana native shined in the nightcap win against Florida State, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single and two crucial runs scored, including the game-winning tally in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Arizmendi Delivers As The Second Half Begins
Senior 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 has always taken her offensive production to the next level in conference play.
In her past 10 starts, which have featured seven games against ACC opponents, Arizmendi is batting .379 with four doubles, three home runs, 14 RBI and 11 runs scored. The Notre Dame first baseman added her first career stolen base against Bowling Green on March 17, and is slugging at a .828 clip since March 12.
ND Team Offense Thriving
After the team’s first 32 starts to begin the 2016 season, Notre Dame has once more placed itself among the top offensive clubs in the ACC.
As of April 4, the Irish led the ACC with 317 team hits. Notre Dame also ranked second in batting average (.344) and third in on-base percentage (.401), runs scored (230), RBI (204), doubles (50) and stolen bases (63) among all conference teams.
Perennially included among the top hitting teams in the NCAA, Notre Dame entered the week ranked 10th overall in Division I batting average and 12th in scoring by averaging more than seven runs per game.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is 2-1 (.667) all-time against IUPUI, shutting the Jaguars out 8-0 in five innings on March 26, 2008 in the most recent meeting between the teams. The Irish have outscored IUPUI by an aggregate 15-3 run count over the first three games of the series.
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.