April 29, 2016
by Tony Jones
#19/18 Notre Dame vs. #RV Louisville
April 30-May 1, 2016
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Indiana
#19/18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(36-8, 10-5 ACC)
#RV Louisville Cardinals
(32-11, 13-5 ACC)
Notre Dame–Louisville ACC Weekend Schedule
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 sixth annual Strikeout Cancer celebration is set for this weekend when the University of Notre Dame softball team hosts Louisville in a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series on ESPN3. This weekend’s series will be the second time that the teams have met during a Strikeout Cancer set of games since the event began in 2011, the same year that the Irish claimed two out of three BIG EAST Conference results from the Cardinals.
The series between No. 19/18 Notre Dame (36-8, 10-5 ACC) and No. RV Louisville (32-11, 13-5 ACC) is tied at 14-14 in the first 28 games between the teams since 2002, with the Irish winning four of the past five matchups with the Cardinals since 2013. Both clubs remain in play to earn the second overall seed in the 2016 ACC Championship that is scheduled for May 12-14 at the Dail Softball Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Along with live video coverage on ESPN3, live stats will be available for all three of this weekend’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.
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame closed the 2016 midweek slate with its 21st straight nonconference home win in the regular season dating back to March of 2013 thanks to an 8-0 win over DePaul on April 27. Including the 2016 tournament schedule, Notre Dame has downed 22 consecutive nonconference opponents since Feb. 20.
– Notre Dame is 10-1 (.909) this season in games played at Melissa Cook Stadium, outscoring opponents by a cumulative 85-30 run count and ending five wins by fifth-inning run-rule.
– 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 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.
– 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 Handle DePaul To Stay Perfect
Returning to its home field to officially open the stretch run of the 2016 NCAA regular season, Notre Dame packed a familiar offensive punch that has become its trademark on April 27 against DePaul. A total of 13 team hits and a five-run fourth inning revved up the Irish, with another solid pitching performance topping off an 8-0 Notre Dame shutout victory in five innings in the final nonconference midweek game of the season at Melissa Cook Stadium.
No. 19/18 Notre Dame won its 21st straight nonconference home game in the regular season dating back to March of 2013 with its run-rule triumph over DePaul. Including the 2016 tournament schedule Notre Dame has now downed 22 consecutive nonconference opponents since Feb. 20, winning for the seventh time in nine meetings against DePaul since the 2012 campaign.
Since Melissa Cook Stadium opened for play during the 2008 campaign Notre Dame is an impressive 133-22-1 (.856) at home, including regular and postseason games.
Irish Offense 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 44 games, Notre Dame is the ACC leader with a .353 team batting average (fourth in the NCAA) and 433 hits to go along with a league-high 40 sacrifice hits. The Irish are also second in runs scored (317), RBI (286), doubles (68), triples (10) and total bases (608).
Notre Dame had three different hitters, junior co-captain Karley Wester (.454, first), freshman Ali Wester (.417, fourth) and freshman Melissa Rochford (.398, seventh), ranked among the top seven hitters in the ACC as of April 29, the most in the conference.
April A Big Month For Reed
Sophomore Morgan Reed has ignited the Notre Dame lineup from the middle of the Irish batting order over her past 14 games, posting a .476 batting average with 20 hits and 14 runs scored in the month of April.
Reed is the Notre Dame team leader with seven multi-hit efforts in her last 14 starts, reaching base safely in every Notre Dame game thus far this month.
If It’s ACC, It’s Arizmendi
An always-prodigious power hitter for Notre Dame throughout its first three seasons as an Atlantic Coast Conference (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 in the latest showcase of offense for the two-time all-ACC first team and 2014 second team All-America standout.
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.
Wester Thrives As 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, the top hitter in the ACC, 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 88 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.
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.
Strikeout Cancer History
In the first five seasons of the Notre Dame softball Strikeout Cancer initiative, more than $150,000 has been raised to directly benefit pediatric cancer patients. The Irish have added a 12-3 (.800) record in series games since the 2011 season.
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 156-52 (.750) against the current ACC membership.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is an even 14-14 against Louisville in a series that dates back to the 2002 season, taking four of the last five meetings with the Cardinals since 2013. This weekend’s series marks the second time that Notre Dame and Louisville have met during Strikeout Cancer, as the Irish defeated the Cardinals in two of three games during the inaugural event celebration in April of 2011.
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.