March 13, 2007
The Long Beach Invitational:
The Irish split their two games in the Long Beach Invitational on March 11. Notre Dame started its day with a 10-2 victory over Eastern Kentucky. Stephanie Brown went three-for-five with two runs scored and two RBI. Beth Northway, Stephanie Mola and Sarah Smith all had two hit games against the Colonels. Kenya Fuemmeler had one of the better pitching performances of her career going the distance with one earned run allowed and eight strikeouts. In its second game of the tournament against No. 12 UCLA, Notre Dame lost 9-3. The Irish briefly held a 2-1 lead in the second inning, but just couldn’t overcome the ranked opponent. Mola had another hit and an RBI in the second game.
Junior outfielder Brittany Glynn, in her first chance to hit this season, drilled a run-scoring single against Eastern Kentucky, March 11.
A Few More Notables:
â€¢ The 10 runs the Irish scored against Eastern Kentucky, March 11, was the first time the team has broken into double digits this season.
â€¢ Stephanie Mola’s RBI against EKU was her first of the season.
â€¢ Stephanie Brown’s triple against Eastern Kentucky was the first by an Irish player this year.
A Few Early Trends:
â€¢ Notre Dame continues to fight to the last out and has won three games in bottom of the seventh/eighth inning.
â€¢ The Irish are 3-1 in one-run games this season.
â€¢ Notre Dame is 5-0 when it takes a lead into the fourth inning and 2-7 when it goes through the fourth inning trailing.
â€¢ The Irish are 5-1 when the scoring in the first inning.
â€¢ The Irish have been outscored 11-2 in the third innings of games, but have outscored their opponents 10-4 in the seventh inning on.
â€¢ In neutral site games, Notre Dame has won six of the eight games it has been designated as the home team on the scoreboard.
â€¢ The Irish are 0-5 when the teams scores two or less runs in a game.
On Tap This Week:
Notre Dame is headed for the Judi Garman Classic, March 15-18, in Fullerton, Calif. The Irish will square off against Arizona State (March 15), Fresno State (March 16) and Louisiana-Lafayette (March 16) before beginning pool play against the rest of the 15-team field over the weekend.
Either Way She’s Okay:
Senior Stephanie Brown is hitting .455 (5-for-11) against left -handed pitchers this season and is batting .436 (17-for-39) against righties.
That A Way To Lead Off:
Stephanie Brown has led off an inning 27 times this season and has reached base 15 of those times (.556).
A Clutch Performer:
All six of sophomore Erin Glasco’s RBI totals this season have come with two outs.
Moving Them Along:
Sophomore Beth Northway has advanced runners a team-best 16 times this season.
The Mola Factor:
Outfielder Stephanie Mola has really dictated the outcome of the Irish season. In Notre Dame wins, Mola is hitting .313 (5-for-16), while in Irish losses the sophomore is only hitting .048 (1-for-21).
Queen of the Valley:
Notre Dame’s win over Eastern Kentucky, March 11, was the team’s second against the Ohio Valley Conference this season. Earlier in the season, the Irish defeated Tennessee Tech in the Tiger Invitational.
After the fourth week of action, senior Stephanie Brown leads the BIG EAST in runs scored (15) and on-base percentage (.533). She is also second in the league in batting average (.440), tied for second in triples (1), tied for fourth in hits (22), sixth in stolen bases (5) and seventh in slugging percentage (.500).
Brittney Bargar leads the conference in complete games (8), is tied for second in wins (6), third in games started (10), fourth in innings pitched (66) and fifth in strikeouts (64).
Kenya Fuemmeler and Christine Farrell are tied for fifth in the league in saves (1).
SEC/ACC Not So Bad:
With two wins over Virginia in the Crispers/JU Invitational (March 2-4), Notre Dame improved its record to 4-1 against schools from the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast Conference’s this season.
Scouting Arizona State:
The Sun Devils (27-2) are one of the top programs in college softball and are coming in red-hot having won 10 in a row and 12 of their last 13 games. In the last 10 games, the Sun Devils have outscored the opposition 75-24. ASU won the Pac-10 vs. Big XII Challenge over the weekend with three wins over Texas Tech and a pair of wins over Missouri. The Sun Devils have a team batting average of .327 and have smacked 31 home runs with 186 RBI this season. Leading the charge has been sophomore Kaitlin Cochran. Cochran has team-best’s in batting average (.488), hits (40), triples (2), home runs (6), stolen bases (17), walks (19), runs (35) and is second in RBI (30). Junior left-handed pitcher Katie Burkhart, after taking the team to the four team College World Series a year ago, has continued the dominating ways in her junior campaign. Burkart brings an 11-1 record, 0.86 ERA, 11 complete games and 146 strikeouts into the tournament. Freshman Megan Elliott has been overshadowed, but is off to an fast start in her rookie season. Elliott is the team leader with 14 wins, while putting together a 2.11 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 93 innings from the circle.
Series vs. Arizona State:
The Sun Devils lead the Irish in the all-time series 7-2. Notre Dame did come-from-behind to defeat then No. 10 Arizona State in dramatic fashion the last time these two teams meet at the Judi Garman Classic last season. Senior Stephanie Brown hit the walk-off two-run home run in the seventh inning to give the Irish a 3-2 victory.
Scouting Fresno State:
The Bulldogs (18-8) are another tough opponent for the Irish. Fresno is riding a seven-game winning-streak including a pair of wins over Notre Dame’s BIG EAST rival Connecticut. The Bulldogs this year have also beaten Louisville twice and fallen to DePaul once. Sophomore Haley Perkins leads the squad with 32 hits a .352 batting average and five stolen bases. Fellow sophomore Maryann Barr is the team-leader with 16 RBI. Robin Macklin is the staff ace with 13 wins, 14 complete games, three saves and 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings. Fresno State has lost seven of its games at neutral sites this season.
Series vs. Fresno State:
The Irish hold a slim 2-1 lead in the series between these two schools. Notre Dame defeated Fresno State 3-1 at the Kia Klassic in 2003 in the last meeting between the teams.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (24-6) are another difficult foe this weekend for the Irish. The Cajuns are one of the better home run hitting teams in the nation and have clobbered 33 long balls. Junior Holly Tankersley has been the early hitting star with a .366 batting average, 34 hits, eight home runs and 33 RBI. The other parts of the dynamic trio is Codi Runyan and Melissa Verde. Runyan leads the team with nine home runs and is second in RBI (29). Verde has four home runs, nine doubles and 28 RBI this season. Vallie Gaspard provides the speed with eight stolen bases. Tankersley also fills the role as the second pitcher and is 9-3 with 71 strikeouts in 69.2 innings pitched. Freshman Brittany Cuevas is the team’s ace with 14 wins, 14 complete games, 113.2 innings pitched and 120 strikeouts.
Series vs. Louisiana-Lafayette:
The series between these two schools is knotted at three all. The last meeting was at the Louisiana Classic in Lafayette, La. The Ragin’ Cajuns defeated the Irish 5-3 after taking a 8-5 loss in nine innings the day before.
The Places Notre Dame Softball Has Gone:
After four road trips, the Notre Dame softball team has already logged 8782.6 miles on planes and buses this season to destinations.
Notre Dame had a successful tournament in Jacksonville, Fla. despite battling the elements and changes in the schedule. The Irish showed early offense in scoring three run in the first inning in a 4-1 win over Virginia (3/2). Erin Glasco came up with the big hit as she hit a double off the top of the wall to drive-in the game-winning runs. The Irish continued the trend of early offense in the second game of the day, March 2, against host school Jacksonville. Notre Dame scored four runs in the first and three more runs in the second inning on their way to a 7-2 victory over the Dolphins. Senior Kenya Fuemmeler threw a no-hitter for the first four innings for the Irish. The next day, rain altered the schedule forcing Notre Dame into a single game against the Cavaliers. The Irish fell behind 3-0 before rallying for a six spot in the fifth inning. The big blow of the game would be Glasco’s game-winning three-run home run. Notre Dame would win by the final margin of 6-3. The final day of the tournament was a challenging one against No. 9 Michigan. The Irish hung with the Wolverines for most of the game, but just couldn’t get the offense going in taking a tough 1-0 defeat to Michigan and finishing the tournament a respectable 3-1.
Coming Through When It Counts:
Erin Glasco has proven her worth in clutch situations, as she has already tallied three game-winning RBI hits, of her seven hits this season.
Linda Kohan had a strong JU tournament, March 2-4, for Notre Dame. The sophomore went 5-for-12 (.417) with four RBI, two runs scored and four doubles.
Duo Honored By The BIG EAST:
For the second time this season, Notre Dame had a pair of players honored by the conference office on its weekly honor roll on March 6. Sophomore Brittney Bargar won two games in the Crispers/JU Invitational with an earned-run average of 0.75 while Linda Kohan tallied four doubles and four RBI and a .417 batting average in the four games.
The Palm Springs Tournament:
Notre Dame had a tough start to the Palm Springs Tournament, Feb. 23-25, taking on a pair of ranked opponents in the ultra competitive field. The Irish were competitive in both early games against No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 17 California but ultimately lost both games by the scores of 7-3 and 7-5, respectively. Notre Dame now on a four-game skid, rallied with two-outs in the seventh inning to tie their next game against UNLV on the two RBI single from sophomore Linda Kohan. Junior Katie Laing would make it a 4-3 Irish winner, as she punched a ball through the left side to drive in senior Carissa Jaquish in extra-innings. Despite a strong pitching performance from senior Kenya Fuemmeler, a complete game four-hitter, the Irish fell to Cal State Fullerton, 2-0, in their next game. Notre Dame would take its final game of the tournament, 3-1, over Ole Miss. Kohan would again provide the late-inning heroics with her two RBI single up the middle in the fifth.
Brown On The Right Track:
Senior Stephanie Brown had an outstanding tournament in Palm Springs, going 11-for-18 with five runs scored. Brown had multi-hit performances in four of the five games, while chipping in three stolen bases.
Gessica Hufnagle, who often splits time at catcher, showed off the wheels against Ole Miss (Feb. 25) as she stole a pair of bases for the first time in her career.
Bargar Continues To Lead:
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Brittney Bargar picked up a pair of wins over the weekend, Feb. 23-25. Bargar won against UNLV and Ole Miss in Palm Springs Tournament.
A Recap of the Tiger Invitational:
Notre Dame opened its 2007 season at the Tiger Invitational hosted by Auburn from Feb. 16-18. Notre Dame started the tournament with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over host school Auburn. Sophomore Erin Glasco came through with a single down the right-field line to drive in freshman Ashley Ellis from third for the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Irish then fell to UAB 8-0 in five inning run-shortened game. Another memorable Irish victory would follow, as once again Notre Dame came from behind in the bottom of the seventh inning. Freshman Heather Johnson would be that games hero with a two-run home run that propelled Notre Dame to a 6-5 victory over Tennessee Tech. Softball would complete its weekend by dropping its final two games to Tulsa (4-2) and Virginia Tech (2-0). Johnson for great play would be awarded a spot on the Tiger Invitational All-Tournament team after hitting .500 (8-for-16) in the five games.
Nice Start by the Rookie:
Heather Johnson made an immediate impact in her first week in the Irish lineup. Not only did the Los Alamitos, Calif. native start all five games at third base, she also had the most hits of any player in the Tiger Invitational Tournament, with eight, on her way to hitting .500 with a home run and four RBI. Johnson tallied multi-hit performances in three of the five games.
A Solid First Week:
Brittney Bargar also had a solid first week for Notre Dame in the circle. She won both of Notre Dame’s games while pitching three complete games. For week, Bargar was 2-1 with 24 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched. The sophomore also showed impeccable control with only two walks (one intentional) on the week.
A Pair Honored on BIG EAST Honor Roll:
Notre Dame had a pair of players on honored on the BIG EAST honor roll following the first two weekends of action around the conference in sophomore pitcher Brittney Bargar and freshman third baseman Heather Johnson.
Keeping up with the Irish:
Notre Dame’s softball family and friend can keep up with the Irish one of six ways this season. First, the Notre Dame hotline (1-574-631-3000) will be updated as soon as possible following each game. Two, a game recap will be posted on Notre Dame website (www.und.com) following each contest. Three, a text alert will be send out to those fans that wish to sign-up for the Irish text alerts on the Notre Dame website. Four, live audio broadcasts will be available for Irish home games. Fifth, Notre Dame will run GameTracker for selected road games (depending on the host institution) and all homes games at Ivy Field through its athletic website. And sixth, Notre Dame softball will have a weekly notes package that will be put out by Wednesdays of most weeks.
Overview of the Irish:
The Irish returns six position starters, three pitchers and 13 monogram winners from a season ago. Notre Dame has also added three newcomers to the mix in a quest for their ninth consecutive NCAA bid.
Sophomore Brittney Bargar, after a solid freshman season, will be counted upon heavily this season to lead the pitchers. Bargar won 15 games as a freshman, while averaging better than seven strikeouts per game. Also in the rotation this season is senior Kenya Fuemmeler (1-0, 1.64 ERA), who is making the transition from the bullpen. Sophomore Christine Farrell, after missing all of last season with injuries, is making her debut in the circle for the Irish this season. Farrell will take on the role of a later inning specialist.
The infield will be have senior Carissa Jaquish (.219, 61 H, 30 RBI) and freshman Christine Lux vying for playing time at first base. Linda Kohan (.275, 49 H, 29 RBI) will move over to second base after spending time at third and first as a freshman. All-BIG EAST second team selection Katie Laing (.294, 110 H, 57 RBI) moves from second to her natural position of shortstop. Newcomer Heather Johnson will be the opening day third baseman.
The lone returning starter in the outfield is centerfielder Stephanie Brown (.343, 210 H, 42 SB). Brown was a unanimous all-BIG EAST first team selection and a second team NFCA All-American selection as a junior. Five other players will be in consideration for playing time to each side of Brown. Juniors Brittany Glynn (.200, 14 R) and Sarah Smith (.250, 32 R, 6 SB), sophomores Stephanie Mola (15 H, 3 RBI) and Beth Northway (.667, 4 SB) are joined by freshman Ashley Ellis and will all be pushing each other this year.
Senior Gessica Hufnagle (31 R, 40 H, 30 RBI) and sophomore Erin Glasco (30 H, 6 2B, 14 RBI) will split time at both catcher and as the designated player.
Notre Dame in early season tournaments:
Notre Dame began what is now the collegiate softball tradition of early-season tournament action in 1990 when it took part in a Chicago, Ill., tournament. Since that trip, Notre Dame has visited 32 different areas of the country and participated in several elite tournaments. Notre Dame’s all-time record in early-season tournament action is 189-137 (.580) and its most frequent sites visited have been South Florida (seven times), Columbus, Ga. (six times) and Cal State Fullerton (five times). This season, Notre Dame will visit Auburn, Ala. (first time), Palm Springs, Calif. (third time), Jacksonville, Fla. (first time), Long Beach, Calif. (first time) and Cal State Fullerton once again.
Preseason Choice for Third in the BIG EAST:
The Irish were selected to finish third in the BIG EAST Conference for the 2007 season, in a vote by the leagues coaches. The Irish received a first-place vote and totaled 104 points to finish behind front-runner Louisville and South Florida. Notre Dame along with Louisville and USF were all selected for the 2006 NCAA Softball Championships.
Notre Dame will feature three captains this season for only the third time. The Irish captains will be seniors Stephanie Brown and Kenya Fuemmeler and junior Katie Laing. The only other Notre Dame teams to have a trio of captains are the 2003 squad (Alexis Madrid, Andria Bledsoe and Andrea Loman) and the 2002 team (Kas Hoag, Jenny Kriech and Jarrah Myers).
Season Schedule will be a Challenge:
The 2007 season will prove to be a challenge for the Irish, as the team will face several teams ranked in the top 25, or just out of the national rankings.
According to the preseason rankings, the Irish will face (NFCA rankings first, followed by USA Softball) No. 3/3 UCLA, No. 4/4 Northwestern, No.5/5 Northwestern, No. 10/10 California, No. 11/13 Michigan, No. 16/16 Oklahoma, No. 19/17 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 20/21 Louisville, No. 21/20 Fresno State, No. 22/23 South Florida, No. 24/RV Auburn, In addition, Notre Dame will face Call State Fullerton, DePaul and Virginia Tech- all teams who received at least one vote in the preseason national rankings.
The Irish defeated two ranked teams during the 2006 season (No. 10 Arizona State and No. 18 Louisville) and have totaled 15 ranked team victories during Gumpf’s tenure.
Notre Dame will bring back its entire coaching staff from the 2006 season in head coach Deanna Gumpf, assistant coaches Kris Ganeff and Lizzy Lemire and volunteer assistant coach Dawn Austin.
Gumpf In Her Sixth Season:
Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf is in her sixth season at the helm of the Notre Dame softball program. The Irish coach is 227-98 in her coaching career and has taken the Irish to five consecutive NCAA postseason berths.
Gumpf won her 200th career game in Notre Dame’s 14-4 victory over Pittsburgh on April 9 of the 2006 season.
At the start of the season, Gumpf career’s record of 219-90 (.708) was a single percentage better than former Irish head coach Liz Miller 377-156 (.707). She is also ahead of the first ever softball coach at Notre Dame, Brian Boulac 135-90-2 (.597).
A Generous Donation:
Notre Dame softball’s bid for a new facility took a huge step forward this offseason thanks to the generous donation by Linda and Paul Demo. The Demo’s pledged three million dollars for the building of the Melissa Cook Stadium. Cook, a former Irish softball player, was one of four people that were killed in March 2002 when a massive section of scaffolding fell from the John Hancock Center onto her car in downtown Chicago. The families of those who died and were injured reached a settlement in early 2006 with the skyscrapers owners and other companies named in the lawsuit. The Demo’s, the mother and stepfather of Melissa Cook, devoted much of their portion of the settlement to Notre Dame for the upcoming $4.8 million facility. The stadium will be built on the southeast corner of the Notre Dame campus near Eck Baseball Stadium and will hold 1,500 Irish softball fans.
On the Small Screen:
Notre Dame will make one scheduled appearance on the small screen this season as its first game of a the doubleheader against South Florida, April 22 at noon, will be shown by CSTV.
Milestones on the Horizon:
â€¢ Senior Stephanie Brown, after the fourth week of the 2007 season, is fifth (141) in runs scored at Notre Dame. Brown is also tied for ninth on the all-time hits list with 232, only one behind Andrea Loman (2000-03) for eighth. Further, Brown is eighth on the all-time home runs list (18) only three behind Mallorie Lenn for seventh. Brown is also among the all-time leaders in walks (65-sixth) and stolen bases (47-fifth).
â€¢ Junior Katie Laing is only three behind the top-10 with her 35 career doubles.
â€¢ Senior Gessica Hufnagle is fifth in fielding percentage .979.
Home At Last:
Notre Dame will return home for its first home games of the season. The Irish will start the home portion of the schedule with a single game against IUPUI at 5 p.m. on March 22. Notre Dame will then host a pair of conference rivals for doubleheaders over the weekend, March 24-25. Notre Dame and St. John’s lockup on March 24 (12 p.m.) with the Irish and Seton Hall meeting at Ivy Field on March 25 (11 a.m.).