April 8, 2016
by Tony Jones
#20 Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh
April 9-10, 2016
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Indiana
#20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(27-6. 5-3 ACC)
(24-13, 5-7 ACC)
Notre Dame-Pittsburgh ACC Weekend Schedule
Sunday, April 10
For the first time in five seasons at Melissa Cook Stadium, Pittsburgh returns to the state of Indiana to face the University of Notre Dame softball team. The Irish and Panthers are set for a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) series that will span Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting, with first pitch Saturday set for 1 p.m. (ET) live on WatchND.
No. 20 Notre Dame (27-6, 5-3 ACC) and Pittsburgh (24-13, 5-7 ACC) were previously slated to meet in an ACC set at Melissa Cook Stadium on March 22-23, 2014, during the first season of each of the former BIG EAST foes in the ACC. That series was canceled due to unseasonable conditions before the teams were able to take the field.
Notre Dame is in search of its second outright ACC series victory of 2016 after splitting two games with No. 9/8 Florida State on April 3 at Melissa Cook Stadium, winning the finale 5-4 thanks to a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Irish are unbeaten in their last 15 conference series at home dating back to the 2012 season, and in 34 of 35 total league series at Melissa Cook Stadium since the facility opened in 2008.
Along with live video coverage of all three games on WatchND, live stats will be available for all three games 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 17 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 19 straight midweek contests overall. Factoring in the tail end of the 2016 tournament schedule, Notre Dame has downed 18 consecutive nonconference opponents since Feb. 20.
– 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 April 3. 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 April 3 victory, which 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.
– 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 Homestand Rolls On
Notre Dame’s 11-3 win in five innings over IUPUI on April 5 was the 17th 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 38-9 (.809) 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 128-22-1 (.851) at home, including regular and postseason games.
Irish Quiet Jags 11-3 In Five Innings
An early two-run deficit proved to be of no deterrent to Notre Dame. The Irish scored 11 runs over their final three offensive innings to stop upset-minded IUPUI 11-3 in five innings on April 5 in a nonconference contest at Melissa Cook Stadium.
No. 20 Notre Dame finished the game with a 9-6 edge in total hits over IUPUI, adding four stolen bases in as many attempts.
Irish Split With No. 9/8 Noles In Dramatic Fashion
Sophomore 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 April 3 in the nightcap of an ACC doubleheader at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Notre Dame rebounded from a 14-5 defeat at the hands of 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.
FSU Win Another ND Crunch Time Triumph
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.
ND Offense Continues To Find Form
After the team’s first 33 starts to begin the 2016 season, Notre Dame has once more placed itself among the top offensive clubs in the ACC.
As of April 8, the Irish led the ACC with 326 team hits. Notre Dame also ranked second in batting average (.346), and third in runs scored (241), on-base percentage (.407), doubles (51), RBI (215), total bases (454) and stolen bases (67).
Perennially included among the top hitting teams in the NCAA, Notre Dame entered the weekend ranked eighth overall in Division I batting average and 11th in scoring by averaging more than seven runs per game.
Irish With The Edge In Home League Series
Notre Dame’s scheduled three-game ACC series against Pittsburgh this weekend will be the 36th 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 35 home conference series at Melissa Cook Stadium, splitting two-game matchups with opponents on 11 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), North Carolina (2015) and Florida State (2016).
Arizmendi Still Sets ND ACC Pace
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 always has taken her offensive production to the next level in conference play.
A career .355 hitter in 183 games (166 starts) at Notre Dame, Arizmendi has hit at a .424 clip with 26 doubles, 15 home runs, 65 RBI and a .832 slugging percentage in 68 career conference appearances alone.
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 151-50 (.751) against the current ACC membership.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is 32-3 (.914) all-time against Pittsburgh in a series that has spanned both the BIG EAST and ACC, winning 12 straight regular season matchups with the Panthers dating back to 2009. The Irish are 11-1 at home in prior meetings with Pittsburgh, and most recently swept a three-game series at Pittsburgh in April of 2015.
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.