Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Irish Head To BIG EAST Tournament

May 4, 2000

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BIG EAST Champs: Notre Dame earned its fifth straight BIG EAST regular season title after compiling a 12-2 conference record. The Irish went 4-0 last weekend with sweeps of BIG EAST opponents St. John’s and Seton Hall to also claim the top seed at the BIG EAST Tournament in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The Irish will be the number one seed with Connecticut (12-4) second, Villanova (9-7) third and host Boston College (9-7) fourth.

It’s History: The Irish claimed the program’s first BIG EAST championship last season, going 3-0 in Storrs, Conn., after completing a perfect 16-0 regular season.

Overall, the Irish have advanced to every BIG EAST championship since joining the conference in 1996 and carry a 7-6 record into this weekend’s double-elimination tournament. To break it down, the Notre Dame is 2-4 versus Connecticut, 1-0 against Villanova and 1-1 in games with Boston College.

2000 BIG EAST Tournament – May 5-7
Commander Shea Field, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

May 5
Game 1 – #1 Notre Dame vs. #4 Boston College – 11 a.m.
Game 2 – #3 Connecticut vs. #3 Villanova – 1:30 p.m.

May 6
Game 3 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – 10 a.m.
Game 4 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – Noon
Game 5 – Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 – 2 p.m.

May 7
Game 6 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 – Noon
Game 7 – Same teams as Game 6, if necessary – 2 p.m.

Myers, Sharron Honored: After leading 19th-ranked Notre Dame to its fifth straight BIG EAST regular season softball title and the top seed at this weekend’s conference tournament, sophomore catcher Jarrah Myers (Carbondale, Kan.) and junior pitcher Jennifer Sharron (Agoura Hills, Calif.) both earned BIG EAST weekly honors. Myers earned her second nod as BIG EAST Player of the Week, while Sharron won her third BIG EAST Pitcher-of-the-Week award, sharing the honor with Villanova pitcher Keri Stoller.

To Be The Best: At 43-12, the Notre Dame softball team now has tied the 1996 squad for having the best record in program history. Last weekend, the team also reached the 40-win plateau for the fifth time in the program’s 12-year history. The school record for most wins in a season is 48 by the 1996 team.

To Be Shutout Or Not To Be Shutout: The Irish have scored at least one run in all 55 of their games, while shutting out their opponents 21 times. The closest the Irish have come to being shutout was against Indiana State on April 18, but a one-out home run by Lizzy Lemire (Irvine, Calif.) in the bottom of the seventh inning against Indiana State kept the team’s streak alive. The record for least games shutout in a season is three by the 1993 squad which went 36-13.

#19 For The Third Time: The Notre Dame softball team stayed in the #19 spot for the third straight week in the May 3 USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I poll. The Irish were ranked as high as 18th three weeks ago after two weeks at the number 21 spot. Notre Dame entered the poll at the 22nd position, March 24, after receiving just one vote in the preseason poll.

The #18 ranking was the second-highest in program history, trailing only the 1994 squad, which began it’s season at #17 in the NFCA preseason poll.

Staying Steady: For the third straight time, Notre Dame stayed in the number one slot of the Northeast Regional rankings. Also appearing in the second set of regional rankings released Thursday, April 27, were BIG EAST Conference foes Connecticut (2nd), Villanova (6th) , Seton Hall (8th) and Rutgers (9th).

The Irish are making their first appearance in the Northeast Region after being ranked in the Mideast Region last year, where they finished the season in the number 10 slot. The bi-weekly rankings are used as a part of the championship tournament selection process and consist of six regions with 10 teams apiece. The next and final rankings are slated for release on Thursday, May 11. The NCAA tournament bids will be announced Sunday, May 14.

NCAA Northeast Regional Rankings
April 27, 2000

1. Notre Dame (37-12)
2. Connecticut (27-13)
3. Hofstra (26-17)
4. Boston University (26-13)
5. Massachusetts (20-19)
6. Villanova (26-18-1)
7. Delaware (26-9)
8. Seton Hall (22-12)
9. Rutgers (21-13-1)
10. Virginia Tech (26-18)

Going Yard: With Jarrah Myers’ two-home run game against Seton Hall, the Irish broke the school’s team home run record of 29, recording 31 overall in 2000. Junior Lizzy Lemire’s first home run of the season, against DePaul April 13, gave the Irish a school-record seven players who have gone yard at least once in 2000. Junior Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.), who belted a school-record tying 10 in 1999, and Myers each have a team-best 10 this season, tying the school record of Sara Hayes in 1994.

After hitting just four home runs as a team in 1998, Notre Dame erupted for a team record 29 in 1999, beating the previous school record of 17 set in 1994.

Team Home Runs By Year
1989 – Four by three players
1990 – Seven by three players
1991 – None
1992 – Nine by three players
1993 – Seven by three players
1994 – 17 by five players
1995 – 11 by four players
1996 – Six by three players
1997 – 14 by four players
1998 – Four by three players
1999 – 29 by six players
2000 – 31 by seven players

Action – Scouting the Field: The Irish head into this weekend’s BIG EAST tournament with a 4-2 overall mark in 2000 against their three possible opponents, Boston College, Connecticut and Villanova. UCONN is the only team to have played in every BIG EAST championship, which began in 1990, Boston College qualified for its fourth straight appearance, while Villanova is making its first appearance since 1996.

The Eagles: The Eagles begin tournament play with a 20-23 overall record, having qualified as the fourth seed with a 9-7 record. Under head coach Jen Finley, BC has been led at the plate by BIG EAST player-of-the-year candidate Chris Vicari, who hit a conference record 11 home runs in her four-year BIG EAST career. On the mound, conference rookie-of-the-year candidate freshman Kim Ryan set a BIG EAST record for most strikeouts in a season with 106. Overall, freshman Jennifer Asbury leads the earn in batting average with a .318 mark, while Ryan is 13-11 with a 1.83 earned-run average.

The Huskies: Connecticut enters the tournament with a 34-15 overall record and a 12-4 mark in conference play. Shortstop Jessica Yanosy leads the team with a .330 batting average, while freshman Barbara Cook is coach Karen Mullins’ ace with a 19-4 record and a 0.98 ERA. The Huskies have had big wins this season over the Irish (5-4), Purdue (3-1), Virginia Tech (1-0) and a sweep of Boston College back on April 28.

The Wilcats: Villanova secured the third seed after sweeping Boston College and finishing with a 35-15 record and a 9-7 mark in BIG EAST. The Wildcats, under head coach Maria DiBernardi, Jackie Pasquerella is first on the team in overall batting average with a .399 mark . Third baseman Megan O’Leary is back from injury and carries a .383 batting average with 21 RBI. Freshman Sara Carlson, however, has been on a hot streak with a .359 average, a team best 44 RBI and six home runs. Pitcher Keri Stoller is the team’s ace with a 0.92 ERA and 16-4 overall record.

Within the Ranks: In the fifth set of NCAA statistics, the Irish now appear in seven categories. Junior Melanie Alkire moved up to the sixth spot in runs batted in with 58, pitcher Jennifer Sharron continues to move up in earned-run average from 30th to 24th with a 0.98 mark and is also ranked 14th in wins with 23. The team’s batting average is ninth nationally (.314), it’s team earned-run average is 18th (1.30) and its winning percentage (.782) is 11th-best in the country. Notre Dame also has the eighth longest win streak, which stands at eight games.

Record Breakers: The 2000 Irish have already broken or tied 10 school records.

Game Records:

  • RBI in a game (6) by Melanie Alkire vs. San Diego State (3/12) beating the previous record of five by seven people
  • Home runs in a game (2) by Andrea Loman vs. Texas and by Jarrah Myers vs. Seton Hall, tying the record of four others
  • Triples in a game (2) by Jennifer Kriech vs. Indiana State (3/18) tying the record of six others

Individual Season Records:

  • RBI in a season (53) by Melanie Alkire, with the previous record of 48 set by Sara Hayes in 1994.
  • Home runs in a season (10) by Melanie Alkire and Jarrah Myers, tying record of 10 set by Sara Hayes in 1994.

Team Season Records:

  • Consecutive team shutouts (5) from March 4-12, beating the previous record of four.
  • Triples by a team in a season (17), beating the record of 16 by the 1995 squad.
  • Home runs in a season (31), beating the previous record of 29 set by the 1999 squad.
  • Strikeouts in a season (398), beating the previous record of 377 by the 1994 squad.
  • Shutouts in a season (21), tying the record of 21 by the 1999 and 1996 teams.

Miller’s 300th: Notre Dame head coach Liz Miller is in her eighth season at Notre Dame (319-147) and her 25th season overall (860-289). Recently, she earned her 300th win at Notre Dame against BIG EAST Conference foe Connecticut in the team’s 3-0 win back on March 31.

Miller directed the Irish to three BIG EAST South Division titles from 1996-98, while the team went undefeated in capturing both the BIG EAST regular season and conference championships in 1999. Before being hired at Notre Dame, Miller was the head softball coach at Lake Michigan College where she amassed a 541-142 record in 17 seasons.

Div. I Poll (5/3/00)

Rank Team (1st Pl. Vts.) W-L Votes LR
1. Washington (27) 50-5 675 1
2. Arizona 47-7 647 2
3. UCLA 35-8-1 617 3
4. Oklahoma 55-6 580 5
5. Arizona State 39-13 560 4
6. Fresno State 46-11 548 6
7. LSU 51-8 510 7
8. S. Mississippi 51-10 469 8
9. California 41-18 440 9
10. Stanford 39-14 429 11
11. Alabama 57-8 410 10
12. Oregon State 34-14-1 385 12
13. Michigan 36-11-1 355 13
14. CSU Fullerton 40-11 315 14
15. Iowa 39-11 307 15
16. Oregon 33-20 259 17
17. Louisiana-Laf. 44-13 242 16
18. Long Beach St. 36-18 195 18
19. Notre Dame 43-12 186 19
20. Nebraska 42-18 163 20
21. Mississippi State 40-22 96 21
22. Florida Atlantic 51-15 85 24 (tie)
23. Illinois-Chicago 46-23 78 22
24. Oklahoma State 33-20 63 23
25. South Carolina 33-25 40 24 (tie)

Others Receiving Votes: Penn State (21), New Mexico (17), Pacific (15), Florida State (13), DePaul (10), East Carolina (7), Hofstra (7), North Carolina (6).

Recent Results vs. Upcoming Opponents

Boston College (7-5):
2000: W, 7-0, L, 2-3 (9)
1999: W, 7-0, W, 8-1, W, 9-4

Connecticut (11-6):
2000: L, 4-5, W, 3-0
1999: W, 7-3, W, 9-1, W, 4-1

Villanova (15-1):
2000: W, 9-0, W, 5-1
1999: W, 3-0, W, 4-0

Final BIG EAST Standings

Notre Dame 12 2 0 .857
Connecticut 12 4 0 .750
Villanova 9 7 0 .563
Boston College 9 7 0 .563
St. John’s 8 8 0 .500
Seton Hall 7 9 0 .438
Rutgers 6 8 0 .429
Pittsburgh 4 12 0 .250
Providence 3 13 0 .188

2000 Notre Dame Tentative Defensive Starting Lineup

Pitchers Jennifer Sharron, Jr. (LHP)
Michelle Moschel, So. (RHP)
Catcher Jarrah Myers, So.
First Base Andrea Loman, Fr.
Second Base Alexis Madrid, Fr.
Third Base Andria Bledsoe, Fr.
Shortstop Melanie Alkire, Jr.
Left field Lizzy Lemire, Jr.
Center field Danielle Klayman, Jr.
Right field Jenny Kriech, So.