May 14, 2017
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team reached its 19th straight NCAA Division I Softball Championship, earning a bid to the 2017 NCAA Auburn Regional on Sunday night.
A total of three Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) teams received regional invitations, with Notre Dame joined by national No. 4 seed Florida State and North Carolina in the NCAA Championship draw.
And the Irish are DANCING!
— Notre Dame Softball (@NDsoftball) May 15, 2017
Notre Dame (33-21) received the number three seed in the NCAA Auburn Regional, and will face California on Friday at 2 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2 at Jane B. Moore Field in Auburn, Alabama. Also in the region are No. 7 national seed Auburn and ETSU, who will square off in Friday’s second game at 4:30 p.m.
Notre Dame has now qualified for the NCAA Championship 22 times in the past 24 seasons, reaching the regional final of the national tournament on 10 occasions. Head coach Deanna Gumpf has directed the Irish to NCAA Regional appearances in each of her 16 seasons at the helm of the program.
The 2017 NCAA Auburn Regional will mark the first time that Notre Dame has traveled to Auburn during NCAA Championship play. Along with serving as host in 2005 and 2015, sites Notre Dame has traveled to for NCAA Regionals include Bloomington (1994), Ann Arbor (1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2016), Iowa City (2001, 2002), Evanston (2006, 2007), Tucson (2012), Lexington (2013) and Los Angeles (2014).
Auburn (46-10) enters NCAA Regional play after losing in the second game of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship tournament 6-0 to LSU in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Tigers, an NCAA Women’s College World Series qualifier each of the last two seasons, were the national runner-up to Oklahoma in the 2016 NCAA Championship series. Notre Dame previously downed Auburn in 2007 and 2014 in previous trips to Jane B. Moore Field.
California (30-22) finished the Pac-12 slate with a 6-17 record, placing eighth in the league standings. The Golden Bears and Irish will meet for the eighth time in series history, and the first time in the NCAA Championship.
ETSU (29-24) qualified for the NCAA Championship on the strength of a 6-0 win over Samford in the Southern Conference Championship final on May 13. Notre Dame has only faced the Buccaneers on one occasion in series history, a 6-1 Irish victory at the Aten Construction Tournament in Riverside, California in 2010.
Notre Dame posted a 13-11 conference record during its fourth official season as an ACC member, placing fifth in the regular season conference standings before finishing as a semifinalist in last weekend’s ACC Championship. Sophomore Ali Wester and senior captain Karley Wester represented the Irish on the all-ACC first team, with junior Morgan Reed and sophomore Melissa Rochford recognized on the all-ACC second team for the 2017 campaign.
Along with a 19th straight NCAA Championship appearance in 2017, Notre Dame has notched a winning season in each of its 29 seasons as a varsity program, joining women’s soccer as the only two Notre Dame athletics teams able to stake that claim.
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.
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 Monroe and with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.