Feb. 21, 2008
After splitting its four games at Arizona State’s Kajikawa Classic, the University of Notre Dame softball team will head south for the Aquafina Invitational hosted by No. 7 Florida from Feb. 22-24. The Irish will be joined by North Florida and Gardner-Webb to complete the four-team field along with the Gators.
Notre Dame earned wins over Utah and California while dropping contests to Western Kentucky and No. 3 Texas A&M to start its season.
“All of the teams in this field are very good teams,” said Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf. “They have great pitching staffs, and that will let us know where our hitters are now. I like how we fought during the first weekend of play, and this tournament will give us a good indication of where we stand as a team and what holes we need to fill.”
The weekend’s matchups will mark the fourth overall meeting between Notre Dame and Florida – with the Irish taking the most recent meeting in 2005 – and the first-ever game against both Gardner-Webb and North Florida.
Aquafina Invitational Â• Feb. 22-24
University of Florida Â• Gainesville, Fla.
Live Stats: UND.com
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(2-2 overall, 0-0 BIG EAST)
Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs
(3-2 overall, 0-0 Atlantic Sun)
North Florida Lady Ospreys
(5-4 overall, 0-0 Atlantic Sun)
No. 7 Florida Gators
(14-0 overall, 0-0 Southeastern)
Laing Shines In Homecoming … Senior second baseman Katie Laing earned the first BIG EAST Conference Softball Player of the Week honor for the 2008 (Feb. 18) … Laing, a native of Tempe, Ariz., recorded a team-best batting average (.429), slugging percentage (.714), on-base percentage (.500) and RBI total (4) over the four-game stretch … she totaled 10 bases on the weekend and had multi-hit performances in the 6-5 loss to Western Kentucky and the 4-3 win over California in front of her hometown crowd … against the Golden Bears, Laing recorded a two-run homer to put Notre Dame on the board early in the contest, and then knocked a walk-off double to drive in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning … now with 45 career doubles, Laing is four shy of tying Meagan Ruthrauff’s (2003-06) school record.
Bend It Like Bargar … Junior Brittney Bargar made three appearances and logged 18.1 innings of work to carry a 1.91 ERA for Notre Dame during the Kajikawa Classic to earn a seat on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll (Feb. 18) … she struck out 23 batters over that stretch and earned two wins while giving up only nine hits through three games … Bargar helped the Irish to a comeback win over California after punching in 4.1 innings of relief time and gave up only two hits without a run … she also held No. 3 Texas A&M to only four hits in a complete-game effort … she opened the season against Utah with a 6-2 win, limiting the Utes to only three hits.
First Time for Everything …For the first time in Notre Dame history, the Irish scored four runs in a season’s opening inning when they accomplished the feat in the top of the first against Utah … the previous record of three was set against Indiana in the 1990 season opener … the four-run output in a single inning was the team’s first since they racked up five scores in the top of the third against No. 12 DePaul (May 11) at last season’s BIG EAST Tournament … five freshmen earned starting nods at some point during the Kajikawa Classic … Ashley Ellis’ first career homerun – a deep solo shot to center – came during the seventh inning to wrap up Notre Dame’s scoring against the Utes … in her first career at-bat, freshman Brianna Jorgensborg laced a three-RBI double down the rightfield line.
It’s O.K. To Steal …The Irish swiped six stolen bases at the Kajikawa Classic, as freshman Sadie Pitzenberger was a perfect 3-for-3 in taking free bags … graduated-senior Stephanie Brown led the team with 13 stolen bases in 2007.
Mutli-Tasking …Both Sadie Pitzenberger and Katie Laing registered a pair of multi-hit efforts during the Kajikawa Classic … Laing had two hits against both California and Western Kentucky … in her first collegiate contest, Pitzenberger lit Utah for three hits and snagged a pair of doubles against the Hilltoppers … four players – Pitzenberger, Laing, Heather Johnson, and Brianna Jorgensborg – had multi-RBI performances over the four-game stretch as well.
Let the Sun Shine … Although the temperature was not quite ideal for a season-opening tournament in Arizona, the Irish squad was nonetheless ready to rip out and relish the opportunity to play outdoors after practicing in the indoor Loftus Center on campus for the past several weeks … Notre Dame wasted no time lighting its offensive fire, exploding for four runs on three hits in the top half of the first inning to open the season against Utah … each of the nine batters in the lineup saw action at the dish in that frame … the Irish defense turned around and shutout the Utes for four innings, also leaving them without a hit during that stretch.
Take a Load Off … It’s great to open a fresh season with a win, and head coach Deanna Gumpf has now done that on three occasions in seven tries with the Irish following a 6-2 triumph over Utah … the program has won over 250 contest since Gumpf’s first career game as Notre Dame’s head coach was against the top-ranked team in the nation … Notre Dame fell in that duel to No. 1 Arizona, 3-0, in Tucson during the Arizona Pepsi Classic.
Johnson Comes Up Big …With their backs against the wall and trailing Western Kentucky, 5-3, the Irish needed a lift in the top of the seventh to stay alive … Sadie Pitzenberger led the frame with a double but was stranded on base after the next two batters were retired … facing a 2-2 count, Heather Johnson crushed a two-run homer to left-center to tie the game and keep the Irish pulse beating … it was the third homerun of the sophomore’s career.