April 26, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team closes its 2013 road series schedule this weekend in a three-game BIG EAST Conference set against DePaul at Cacciatore Stadium in Chicago. First pitch for Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled for noon (CT), with the series finale also set for a noon start time on Sunday.
The Irish (35-10, 15-1 BIG EAST), winners of nine straight games, enter the weekend set in a tie with Louisville for the top position in the BIG EAST regular season standings. DePaul (27-16, 13-3 BIG EAST) is currently in sole possession of fourth place in the league. All three teams, along with tournament host USF, have already clinched berths to the BIG EAST Championship May 9-11 in Tampa. Fla.
Notre Dame won all three contests against the Blue Demons April 21-22 last season at Melissa Cook Stadium, with pitcher Laura Winter throwing the first no-hitter in the stadium’s history in a 3-0 Irish victory in the opening game of the series. DePaul holds a 14-7 edge all-time in meetings between the two teams in Chicago.
Fans can follow live stats for this weekend’s games via CBS GameTracker by visiting . Live video will also be provided (for a fee) through the DePaul Athletics BlueTube.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(35-10, 15-1 BIG EAST)
DePaul Blue Demons
(27-16, 13-3 BIG EAST; DPU leads all-time series 32-26-1, 7-6 in BIG EAST)
Notre Dame Weekend Schedule
Notre Dame at DePaul – Saturday, noon (CT)/DePaul BlueTube
Notre Dame at DePaul – Saturday, 2 p.m. (CT)/DePaul BlueTube
Notre Dame at DePaul – Sunday, noon (CT)/DePaul BlueTube
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame enters this weekend’s series on a nine-game winning streak, with eight of those victories over BIG EAST Conference opponents. The Irish have swept their last three league series, downing Connecticut 6-0 and 11-1 in five innings on Tuesday.
– Pitcher Laura Winter was a mere two outs from tossing the third perfect game in program history last Sunday at Pittsburgh. The Irish ace tied a season-high with 14 strikeouts and won her sixth straight decision. The Notre Dame right-hander was named the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week, BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week and College Sports Madness BIG EAST Softball Player of the Week.
– Head coach Deanna Gumpf became the third softball/baseball coach (joining Jake Kline and Paul Mainieri) to win 500 games at Notre Dame after Tuesday’s 11-1 victory over Connecticut.
– With its 8-2 game one win April 3 at Georgetown, Notre Dame won the 1,000th game in program history. In 25 seasons of competition, the Irish are a combined 1,012-448-3 (.692).
– USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 25 Finalist Emilee Koerner leads the BIG EAST Conference with a .504 batting average, including a league-best .587 in conference play. Koerner also has the BIG EAST’s top slugging percentage (.883) and on-base percentage (.568), along with the most doubles (19), hits (69) and total bases (121).
– Six different Notre Dame players have already set career-highs in home runs during the season’s first 45 games. Laura Winter leads the Irish with the first 12 home runs of her Notre Dame career, while Emilee Koerner and Cassidy Whidden are tied for second place on the team with nine big flies after hitting two apiece as freshmen last season. Lauren Stuhr has hit five long balls (finished with three in each of her first two seasons), while freshmen Casey Africano and Micaela Arizmendi have went yard twice in 2013.
– Amy Buntin has reached base in a team-high 22 consecutive games. The 2012 All-American is hitting .407 with two home runs, 19 RBI and 17 runs scored in the last 22 games she has batted.
Notre Dame’s 8-2 victory over Georgetown in game one April 3 was the 1,000th win in program history. The Irish needed only 1,449 games to reach the milestone, and have a .692 all-time winning percentage (1,012-448-3).
Head coaches Brian Boulac (1989-92, 135-90-2), Liz Miller (1993-2001, 377-156) and Deanna Gumpf (2002-present, 500-202-1) have been credited with all 1,012 team wins. Notre Dame has averaged over 40 wins per season (40.48) during its 25-year history.
#500 For Gumpf
Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf became the first Notre Dame softball head coach to record 500 career victories (500-202-1, .711) with Tuesday’s game two win over Connecticut.
Gumpf’s squads have averaged more than 41 wins (41.67) per season during her 12-year tenure at the helm of the Irish, and have won seven BIG EAST regular season and four tournament championships during that span.
Winter Enjoys A Dominant Week
Laura Winter was named USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week, BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week and the College Sports Madness BIG EAST Softball Player of the Week after posting a 3-0 record with three complete games (two shutouts) last week against Michigan State and Pittsburgh.
The Notre Dame ace allowed one run (0.33 ERA) on eight hits in 21 innings, walking two and striking out 35 batters (.113 batting average against), taking a perfect game into the seventh inning Sunday at Pittsburgh.
Winter was also a force in the batter’s box during Notre Dame’s undefeated week, batting a team-high .417 (5-for-12) with three home runs, eight RBI, a 1.667 slugging percentage and a .533 on-base percentage. She ranks second in the BIG EAST Conference with 12 big flies this season.
Can Anyone Stop Koerner?
Emilee Koerner went 5-for-7 (.714) at the plate against Connecticut Tuesday, cementing her team-high 19th and 20th multi-hit games of the season. Koerner ranks in the top-five nationally with a .504 batting average this season, and has already set the Notre Dame single-season record for doubles (19).
A Whippin’ By Whidden
Cassidy Whidden has emerged as a consistent power threat during her two seasons at Notre Dame, but the sophomore catcher’s career statistics are even more telling.
Of Whidden’s 24 hits as a member of the Irish, 11 are home runs, meaning nearly 50 percent of her safe hits have left the park. Whidden hit a two-out grand slam April 13 and a walk-off, two-strike, two-out home run April 14 against Rutgers.
Trending Upward Against DePaul
Notre Dame is 6-4 in its last 10 meetings with DePaul, including a three-game sweep last season. Amy Buntin batted .444 with a home run and four RBI to pace the Irish offense, while Dani Miller added a home run to aid the Notre Dame attack.
Laura Winter threw the first no-hitter in Melissa Cook Stadium history on April 21 of last year against the Blue Demons. The then sophomore right-hander allowed only one walk on 80 pitches, striking out eight DePaul batters for her second career no-no (first was April 27, 2011 at USF).
Winter ultimately earned the win in all three games during the series, allowing one earned run in 20.2 total innings in the circle, walking one with 11 strikeouts.