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Irish Face Blue Devils To Open ACCs

Notre Dame and Duke meet in quarterfinal on Thursday night

The Notre Dame softball team embarks on postseason play Thursday evening when it opens the 2019 ACC Championship with a quarterfinal showdown against Duke. The contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Florida State’s JoAnne Graf Field and can be seen on regional sports networks, WatchESPN and Fox Sports Go.

The Irish enter the tournament with a 35-15 record and boast the ACC Player of the Year in Cait Brooks, to go along with four more All-ACC selections. Brooks, who led the ACC in five statistical categories, is the program’s single-season home run leader with 20 dingers on the year. She was joined on the All-ACC First Team by third baseman Melissa Rochford and pitcher Payton Tidd. Outfielder Emma Clark and second baseman Katie Marino were second team all-league selections while Clark and Tidd both made the all-freshman team.

Head coach Deanna Gumpf‘s squad is looking for revenge on Duke, which defeated the Irish in the season-opener, a non-conference game in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, 7-3. The teams did not play an ACC series on the year.

2019 Notes & Numbers

  • Notre Dame’s team batting average of .331 ranks 10th in the nation and would mark the sixth time since 2010 the Irish hit above .330.
  • The Irish have played 13 games this season against teams ranked in the top 25 or receiving votes, with seven games against top-10 opponents (at the time of the game).
  • Ali Wester’s 285 career hits rank fourth in the nation among active players, trailing only Oklahoma’s Sydney Romero (302), UIC’s Lexi Watts (292) and Florida’s Amanda Lorenz (286). In the Irish record book, Wester is second in career hits, trailing her sister Karley (323).
  • This season, Ali Wester has notched 73 hits, leading the ACC and ranking 11th in the country.
  • Ali Wester has struck out once every 22.4 at-bats this season, making her the toughest hitter in the ACC to strikeout.
  • ACC Player of the Year Cait Brooks leads the league with 20 home runs on the year. Her total ranks seventh nationally, with Mia Davidson (Mississippi State) leading the country at 25 round-trippers.
  • In her career, Cait Brooks has connected for 48 home runs, slotting her second on the Notre Dame career home run list along side Dani Miller. She trails only Christine Lux (50).
  • With 48 career home runs, Cait Brooks is tied for 11th among Division I’s active players. She is one of 17 players in the nation to have eclipsed 45 career round-trippers.
  • Cait Brooks leads the ACC in slugging percentage, checking in at a clip of .915. She ranks sixth in the nation in the category.
  • Cait Brooks led the ACC in five statistical categories at the end of the regular season: batting average (.433), home runs (20), on-base percentage (.525), slugging percentage (.915) and total bases (129).
  • Freshman pitcher Payton Tidd ranks third in the ACC with 24 victories. Her 24 wins rank third in the nation among freshman pitchers and she is one of five rookie pitchers to have eclipsed 20 wins on the season.
  • Katie Marino’s 1.20 runs per game lead the ACC and rank fifth in the country.