The Notre Dame softball team will open a season against a top-ranked opponent for the second time in school history when the Irish face No. 1 Alabama on Friday.

Irish Open Season At Bama Bash

Feb. 12, 2009

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – With 20 seasons in the books, the Notre Dame softball team will embark on another campaign starting Feb. 13-15 at the Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Irish will begin 2009 against No. 1 Alabama on Friday with three more games against the Crimson Tide, East Carolina and Wisconsin to finish off the weekend.

“We’re going down to Alabama with three goals: to win, to get better with every game and to play fundamental softball. If we can do those three things, there’s a great chance of coming home with four wins.”

Live stats and audio will be available for each of Notre Dame’s contests against Alabama at Live stats only will be provided for games versus East Carolina and Wisconsin.

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Bama Bash
Alabama Softball Complex • Feb. 13-15
University of Alabama • Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Live stats / audio:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
0-0 overall / 0-0 BIG EAST
[ •]

No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
4-0 overall / 0-0 Southeastern
[ •]
Friday, Feb. 13 • 5:00 p.m. (CT)
Saturday, Feb. 14 • 1:00 p.m. (CT)

East Carolina Pirates
3-1 overall / 0-0 Conference USA
[ •]
Saturday, Feb. 14 • 11:00 a.m. (CT)

Wisconsin Badgers
0-4 overall / 0-0 Big Ten
[ •]
Sunday, Feb. 15 • 11:00 a.m. (CT)

One-Hitters …
• Notre Dame enters its 21st season of varsity competition with an all-time record of 801-382-3 (.677) … the program boasts 13 NCAA Championship appearances (10 consecutive) with a 19-26 record in the postseason showdown.
• A veteran Irish team looks to vault Notre Dame back on top of the BIG EAST Conference in 2009 … the bulk of the 2008 offensive production and both starting pitchers from last season’s roster will be in action for the upcoming campaign … Notre Dame returns 14 monogram winners – including five all-BIG EAST performers from 2008 – and welcome four newcomers to this season’s squad.
• The Irish are a combined 2-3 against the three-team field (Alabama, East Carolina, Wisconsin) at the Bama Bash … most recently, Notre Dame handed Wisconsin an 11-5 defeat in 2008 … a school-record three home runs in the fourth inning helped Notre Dame overcome a 5-0 deficit to post the non-conference win … the three homers were the most ever for Notre Dame in a single inning as the Irish totaled four homers in the contest, the first time the team has done so since an April 9 meeting at Pittsburgh in 2006 … Linda Kohan – who hit two home runs in the game – was joined in the big jack department by Katie Fleury and Christine Lux … each of the three homered in the fourth inning … Fleury’s home run was the first Irish dinger ever hit in Melissa Cook Stadium.

Take a Load Off …
It’s great to open a fresh season with a win, and head coach Deana Gumpf has done that on three occasions in seven tries with the Irish following a 6-2 triumph over Utah in 2008 … Gumpf’s first-ever game as Notre Dame’s leader was against a top-ranked team, when Gumpf and the Irish fell to No. 1 Arizona, 3-0, in Tucson during the 2002 Arizona Pepsi Classic … it was the program’s only contest ever against a top-ranked team.

Revealing Ranked Opponents …
Head coach Deanna Gumpf is 18-55 (.247) all-time against ranked opponents through seven seasons with the Irish … Notre Dame was 2-7 in 2008 against ranked foes … the team posted five wins against ranked teams in 2002 and 2005.

Finding February …
Notre Dame is 69-57 (.548) all-time in the month of February, with an away record of 7-11 and 62-46 on neutral turf … last season, the Irish were 4-5 in the season’s first month … Notre Dame has never played a home game in February.

Last Season’s Opener …
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 … five freshmen earned starting nods at some point during the Kajikawa Classic … in her first career at-bat against Utah, Brianna Jorgensborg laced a three-RBI double down the right field line.

Notre Nuggets …
The Irish are slated to play games in at least 12 different states this season – Alabama, California, North Carolina, Nevada, Indiana, Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Kentucky – in addition to a trip to the District of Columbia … head coach Deanna Gumpf and her staff has compiled nearly 300 wins in just seven seasons in addition to earning conference and regional coaching staff of the year honors in 2002 and 2004 … with its 38-win total in 2008 Notre Dame secured its 20th season with at least 30 wins, dating back to the program’s inaugural 1989 campaign.

— Looking Back at 2008 —

Seven Out of Nine Ain’t Bad …
Seven of Notre Dame’s nine starters earned all-league honors at the BIG EAST Conference’s annual championship banquet … the Irish had more selections than any other conference team, trailed by DePaul and South Florida who both placed five on the squad … Notre Dame placed seven players on the all-conference team in 2004, 2002, 2000 and 1999 … nine Irish athletes were part of the all-conference teams in 2005 and 2001.

The South Bend 800 …
Notre Dame notched the 800th win in program history in a game-one win at Syracuse (May 4) with style … junior pitcher Brittney Bargar blanked the Orange by tossing the fourth no-hitter of her career and the 35th no-no recorded in 20 seasons of Irish softball.

Launches By Lux …
Christine Lux slammed a pair of solo homers in game two at Syracuse (May 4) … her total of 15 in 2008 set a new single-season school record … Notre Dame led the BIG EAST with 39 overall homers during the regular season, 22 of which were hit in conference games … Lux had eight round-trippers against league foes, one short of the conference record.

Tale of Three Seasons …
The 2008 season started with Notre Dame winning seven of its first 15 games … a 17-2 run soon followed and then Notre Dame went 13-10-1 over the last 24 contests … the team had winning streaks of seven and eight games, and dropped at least two consecutive games on five occasions.

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Northway …
Junior Beth Northway had hits in eight of 10 games from April 20-29 … three of those games were multi-hit affairs, capped off by a 3-for-3 day at Valparaiso (April 29) … she batted .367 over that stretch to raise her overall average from .218 to .256.

The Bri Spree …
Freshman Brianna Jorgensborg had only one multi-hit game through 49 contests heading into an April 26 doubleheader with Providence … she lit the Friars for two hits in three at-bats, then posted three hits including a home run one day later against UConn (April 27) … Jorgensborg was also 2-for-3 with two RBI at Valparaiso (April 29).

Mother Nature 1, Notre Dame 0 …
Game two of an April 24 doubleheader with Loyola-Chicago ended in a 2-2 tie when lightning forced an end to the contest … the Irish had Katie Fleury on first base in the bottom of the seventh with no outs when a bolt flashed over Melissa Cook Stadium … the tie was just the third in the 1,186 games played in Irish history and the first that did not extend beyond the regulation 7.0 innings … the last Irish tie came in 1992 when a 6-6 stalemate with Indiana State ended in the 11th inning of an April 28 ballgame.

Gettin’ Lucky In Kentucky …
The April 19 sweep over Louisville snapped a three-game losing streak to the Cardinals and marked the first time Notre Dame has taken a two-game league series from UofL … Notre Dame last beat Louisville, 1-0, during a BIG EAST Conference Tournament game in 2006 when the Cardinals were ranked 18th in the nation … after an Irish loss to the Cardinals in the 2008 conference tournament the all-time series record still favors UofL, 7-4.

Erin-It-Out …
Erin Marrone made her debut at catcher against Wisconsin (April 16) and started each of Notre Dame’s games after that from behind the plate … the freshman has also started games for Notre Dame in right field and the designated player spot throughout the season … she finished Notre Dame’s game against UC Davis (March 1) at first base when the defensive lineup was shifted due to an injury to Heather Johnson early in the game.

Melissa Cook Stadium Unveiled …
The rain in the South Bend area may have washed out an April 12 BIG EAST Conference doubleheader between Notre Dame and Rutgers, yet the day may still go down as one of the most significant in Irish history … Notre Dame unveiled its new playing facility – Melissa Cook Stadium – during a morning ceremony held just outside the complex … University president Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., blessed the site which will house the Irish softball program for years to come, and remarks were given from then-athletics director Dr. Kevin White, head softball coach Deanna Gumpf, senior tri-captain Katie Laing, and benefactors Lisa Hoffman and Paul and Linda Demo … the Demos, parents of Melissa Cook, also helped bless a bronze relief of the former Irish player that sits just inside the main entrance of the stadium … areas of the stadium made possible by gifts from the Delahanty and Hoffman families were honored as well.

Four Means More …
A school-record three home runs in the fourth inning helped Notre Dame overcome a 5-0 deficit to post an 11-5 non-conference win over Wisconsin (April 16) … the three homers were the most ever for Notre Dame in a single inning as the Irish totaled four homers in the contest, the first time the team has done so since an April 9 meeting at Pittsburgh in 2006 … Meagan Ruthrauff had three blasts in that game with Linda Kohan – who tallied a career-high two round-trippers against the Badgers – adding the fourth … Kohan was joined in the home run department by Katie Fleury and Christine Lux … Fleury had hit her first career homer – and the first Irish home run in Melissa Cook Stadium – two days earlier against Rutgers (April 14) … the first bomb of the day for Kohan christened the scoreboard in left-center by leaving a noticeable point of impact.

Just a Couple of Benjamins …
A win over Villanova (April 13) gave the Notre Dame program its 200th BIG EAST Conference regular-season win … the Irish are 208-45 (.822) in regular-season games since joining the league … the program is 272-53 (.837) in overall regular-season conference games, posting a 64-14 (.821) mark as members of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference from 1989-95.

Spin Cycle …
Sophomore first baseman Christine Lux was batting .182 heading into an April 9 doubleheader against Eastern Michigan … two games and a few hits later, that average was bumped up to .223, aided especially by a record-setting performance at the plate … Lux hit for the cycle over the two-game swing, knocking a homer, double and single in game one … she settled for a triple and one single in the second contest … Lux tied a school record with seven RBI to open the day, matching Meagan Ruthrauff’s total from a 2006 conference game at Pittsburgh, which was played exactly two years prior, though Lux accomplished the feat in an abbreviated five-inning game, seeing the plate only three times … Ruthrauff had four hits in her five at-bats, including three home runs … senior Katie Laing totaled seven RBI during Sunday’s series at Seton Hall (April 6), with four in game one and three in the capper.

Long, Strong Ivy …
The home of Notre Dame softball since the program’s inception in 1989, Ivy Field saw its final pair of games when the Irish swept Eastern Michigan (April 9) in a non-conference doubleheader … Notre Dame finished with an all-time record of 288-48-2 (.855) within the friendly confines, including wins in each of the four home games played on its turf in 2008.

The Queens of Queens (N.Y.) …
Notre Dame stayed flawless against St. John’s with a doubleheader sweep on April 5 … the team is now 26-0 all-time against the Red Storm, but the last two didn’t come easy … the Irish needed all of 12 innings in their 8-4 win to finish the twinbill, which was the largest margin of victory in program history in a game extending past the regulation 7.0 innings … the last time Notre Dame won in a 12-inning contest was in 1994 when it defeated Indiana on May 20 by a count of 3-1.

More Than Just Downing DePaul …
Jody Valdivia and Brittney Bargar teamed to help the Irish defeat No. 17 DePaul to wrap up a March 30 conference doubleheader … Valdivia got the win and went 5.2 innings and struck out three with Bargar stepping in to finish the final 1.1 frames to earn her first save of the 2008 campaign … the duo’s efforts put an end to DePaul’s 25-game regular-season conference winning streak that dated back to April of 2006 … it was also Notre Dame’s first win at DePaul since the 2005 season … the win also signified the first time that Notre Dame beat an opponent that carried a No. 17 ranking, and was the 16th time the Irish shut out a ranked foe … Notre Dame has 49 all-time wins against ranked opponents.