May 17, 2006
2006 NCAA Championship
Sharon J. Drysdale Field â€¢ Evantson, Ill.
Friday, May 19
Game One: Notre Dame (40-19) vs. UC Santa Barbara (24-20)
Game Two: Northwestern (42-12) vs. Southern Illinois (34-10)
Saturday, May 20
Game Three: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2, 11:00 a.m.
Game Four: Loser G1 vs. Loser G2, 1:30 p.m.
Game Five: Loser G3 vs. Winner G4, 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 21
Game Six: Winner G3 vs. Winner G5, 12 noon
Game Seven: Same teams as G6, if necessary, 2:30 p.m.
Irish head to another Big Ten Conference site for NCAA regional play –
Fresh off an inspired performance during the BIG EAST Championship last weekend, in which the University of Notre Dame softball team (40-19) claimed its fifth conference title, the Fighting Irish travel to Evanston, Ill., to take part in a four-team, double-elimination regional tournament hosted by Northwestern University.
Notre Dame and Northwestern sat on opposite sides of a regional last season at Ivy Field. The Irish won the first contest between the two teams, but NU came back to eliminate the Irish with two consecutive victories on the final day of competition. The Wildcats threw even more salt in the wound earlier this season, rallying to defeat Notre Dame 3-2 at Sharon J. Drysdale Field back on April 18.
Notre Dame will face UC Santa Barbara in first round action on Friday, May 19 (12 noon). The winner of that contest will face the winner of Northwestern – Southern Illinois on Saturday at 11 a.m., while the loser will face an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Notre Dame is making its eighth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship this weekend, with seven of those visits occurring at a Big Ten Conference site. The lone exception was last season’s action at Ivy Field. The Irish have appeared in the NCAA Championship a grand total of 10 times (11 including this season) and advanced to the final day of action at the regional four times (1995, 2001, `02 and `05).
Keep up with the NCAA regional action –
Notre Dame softball fans not able to make the trek to Evanston, Ill., will be able to keep up with the action via live Gametracker links on www.und.com or www.nusports.com.
NCAA Regional ticket information –
Ticket prices for this weekend’s regional tournament –
$8 – Adults
$5 – Senior Citizens, College Students with ID, children between 2-18
$1 – Infants under 2
The Northwestern Ticket Office phone number is 847.491.CATS (2287). Tickets will be sold on site each day of the tournament. No all-session passes will be sold.
Directions to NCAA regional play at Sharon J. Drysdale Field –
Sharon J. Drysdale Field is located northeast of Ryan Field and east of McGaw Hall/Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Lake Shore Drive North — Follow LSD until it ends and merges with Sheridan Road. Take Sheridan north through Evanston (follow the signs as Sheridan winds through south Evanston). Turn left on Central Street, just north of the main campus. Go west approximately one mile to Ryan Field parking lot.
I-90/94 (Kennedy Expressway) — Stay on the Kennedy until I-90 and 94 split. Take I-94 West (Edens Expressway) toward Milwaukee. Exit on Old Orchard Road and proceed east. Turn left on Gross Point Road and then turn right at Central Street. Follow Central Street east to Ryan Field parking lot.
From the North — Take I-94 (Edens Expressway) East. Exit on Skokie Blvd. and turn left at stop light at Lake Avenue. Go east on Lake to Green Bay Road. Follow Green Bay road south, then turn left on Central Street and go east approximately one-half mile to the Ryan Field parking lot.
From O’Hare Airport — Exit the airport and take I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) North. Exit on Dempster Street east. Follow Dempster to I-94 (Edens Expressway) West. Exit the Edens and turn right on Old Orchard Road. Turn left on Gross Point Road, then right on Central Street and head east approximately two miles to the Ryan Field parking lot.
Parking — Parking will be free of charge and located in the east lot of the Ryan Field complex at 1501 Central St. Signs will direct fans to the designated softball parking. The entrance to Sharon J. Drysdale Field is located at the northwest corner of that lot.
Irish ALERT continues this weekend –
A joint effort between Centennial Wireless, Notre Dame Sports Properties and the Notre Dame Sports Information Office has made up-to-the-minute text messaging a reality this season. Notre Dame announced the Irish ALERT system, which will cover baseball, softball, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse this spring for a free trial.
Simply sign up for the service at www.und.com and your mobile device will receive score updates from each of the four sports throughout the 2006 season. The service also will provide periodical updates providing team schedules and special alerts when content is uploaded on www.und.com.
For softball, updates are sent when a schedule change pops up (delayed games, added games) and in the first, third, fifth and seventh innings of each Irish game.
Notre Dame history in the NCAA Championship –
Notre Dame will be making its 11th NCAA regional appearance this weekend and eighth straight, dating back to the 1999 season … the team’s first appearance came back in 1994 at Bloomington, Ind., with the Irish handing top seed Indiana a 3-0 loss … the Irish have appeared on the road at strictly Big Ten sites since it began to qualify for NCAA reigonal play … Indiana (1994), Iowa (2001-02) and Michigan (1995-96, 1999-2000, 2003-04) have hosted the Irish in regional competition … Notre Dame has advanced to the final day of regional competition four times … in 1995, the Irish needed to defeat the host, Michigan, twice, but the Wolverines eliminated the Irish 15-6 to advance to the College World Series … in 2001, the Irish needed to defeat yet another host, Iowa, twice to move on … the Hawkeyes won the first game 6-2 to eliminate Notre Dame … in 2002, Notre Dame returned to Iowa to face the same scenario against Nebraska … the Cornhuskers knocked out the Irish 5-3 … in 2005, under the new tournament alignment, Notre Dame needed one win over Northwestern to advance to the Super Regionals, but fell twice to the Wildcats.
ND series history vs. UC Santa Barbara –
Notre Dame and UC Santa Barbara will be meeting for the fourth time on Friday, May 19 … the Irish lead the all-time series 2-1, including a 1-0 victory at UCSB last season on March 7, 2005 … Notre Dame was hitless over the first five innings of the contest against UCSB, but Sara Schoonaert drove in the only run of the game with an RBI double … Heather Booth picked up the pitching victory with a complete-game performance … the Irish are 1-1 on a neutral field against UCSB, with those meetings coming in 1999 (a 6-2 victory by the Gauchos at the National Invitational Tournament in San Jose, Calif.) and 2000 (a 3-0 Irish victory at the UNLV Classic).
UC Santa Barbara team preview –
UCSB, is one of only three teams in the 2006 field with fewer than 30 wins, … the Gauchos enter the postseason with an overall record of 24-20 and finished Big West Conference play with an 8-10 mark … UCSB’s non-conference schedule featured a number of nationally-ranked opponents, including top-seeded UCLA, seventh-seeded Oregon State and 10th-seeded California … the Gauchos also defeated then fifth-ranked Stanford, a 12 seed in this year’s tournament, 2-0 on March 4 … winners of five of its last seven games, Santa Barbara posted conference victories over NCAA Tournament participants Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State … the Gauchos are led on offense by Christine Ramos, who hit .336 in `06 with 11 RBI … Kendra Singley provides the power in the lineup with nine HR and 32 RBI … the pitching staff is anchored by Jennifer Davis, who posted a 2.60 ERA this season with an 18-15 record, four shutouts, 251.2 IP and 221 Ks … UCSB is 9-9 on neutral fields this season.
ND series history vs. Northwestern –
Notre Dame and Northwestern have enjoyed a highly competitive series … the Wildcats edged ahead in the all-time series 7-6 with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory on April 18 … the Irish had the advantage in the early years in the series (1995-97), going 4-2 over a six-game stretch … the last six meetings have gone 5-2 in favor of Northwestern, who also has been ranked in all seven of those meetings … last season, Notre Dame won the regular-season meeting 4-3, scoring four unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat the 15th-ranked Wildcats …. Northwestern also was the top seed in the NCAA Regional hosted by Notre Dame in May of 2005 … Notre Dame won the first matchup with the Wildcats in the regional 3-2 … Northwestern had the final say in the series last season, however, defeating the Irish 4-1 and 3-2 on the final day of the NCAA regional to advance to the NCAA Super Regional against DePaul … Notre Dame has only faced Northwestern once at Drysdale Field, this season’s meeting on April 18 … a scheduled meeting in 2004 was started, but then cancelled due to inclement weather.
ND series history vs. Southern Illinois –
The Irish and Salukis have only met once previously … the meeting occurred in 1992, a 3-0 SIU victory during a two-day tournament played at Southern Illinois.
Irish reach 40 wins for 10th time –
Notre Dame’s big 1-0 victory over #18/18 Louisville on Sunday, May 14, did more than just earn the team the 2006 BIG EAST Championhip – it also was the 40th win of the season for the Irish.
The Irish have reached 40 wins 10 times in school history (2005, `04, `02, `01, `99, `96, `95, `94) over the course of 18 seasons. Notre Dame’s lowest win total came the first season of varsity play (1989), when the team finished 31-23. The higest win total was delivered during the 2001 season, when the team finished 54-7.
Under head coach Deanna Gumpf, the Irish have failed to win 40 games just once – during the 2003 season when a number of rain outs forced the team to finish with a 38-17 record.
Notre Dame’s final BIG EAST Conference statistics –
While the Irish are disappointed that they did not claim the BIG EAST Conference regular-season title in 2006, the team did post a number of noteworthy accomplishments in league play this year (all stats are BIG EAST only).
Team batting average – Notre Dame hit .350 in conference play this year, leading the league and ending up tied for second all-time (1997 Connecticut) behind the 1997 Irish team that ended up with a .376 team batting average.
Team fielding percentage – Notre Dame led the league with a team percentage of .978, which is tied for fifth all-time with the 1999 Boston College team … BC holds the all-time record at .984 from 2000.
Runs scored – Notre Dame led the conference with 118 runs scored, ahead of Syracuse with 114.
Doubles – The Irish paced the league with 33 doubles, ahed of UConn (32) and Louisville/Syracuse (30).
Total Bases – Notre Dame out paced Syracuse for the league lead in total bases, totaling 318.
Irish captains –
Notre Dame will feature four captains this season for just the second time in the program’s history. The senior class of Heather Booth, Mallorie Lenn, Meagan Ruthrauff and Sara Schoonaert will provide leadership both on and off the field for the team in 2006. The only other team to feature four captains was Notre Dame’s most successful team ever – the 2001 squad. Current Irish assistant coach Lizzy Lemire shared the captaincy that season with Melanie Alkire, Danielle Klayman and Jennifer Sharron. The Irish finished 54-7 in `01 and earned a number-one seed in the NCAA Championship.
Notre Dame softball on the small screen –
The University of Notre Dame softball team was featured four times on national television this season. Notre Dame’s first appearance was a single game against Ball State on Tuesday, April 11 shown by Comcast Local. The Irish defeated the Cardinals 5-0.
The first game of a doubleheader vs. DePaul on April 13 was shown live by ESPNU- a game which the Irish won 5-0. The Irish also faced #17/17 Northwestern live on CSTV for a single game on April 18.
ESPNU also covered Notre Dame’s first visit to USF as a conference opponent, showing a 7-4 victory by the Irish over USF live at 10:30 a.m. on April 29. .
Finally, CSTV covered the BIG EAST Championship final game from the Ivy Field on May 14 at 3 p.m. Notre Dame defeated #18 Louisville 1-0 in the contest, pushing the team’s record to 4-0 for television appearances in 2006.
New BIG EAST Conference unveiled in 2006 –
The BIG EAST Conference expansion, which officially took place this fall, has garnered most of its attention in men’s basketball. The conference has quickly transformed into the top men’s basketball league in the country, but the effect that expansion will have on softball cannot be overlooked. The BIG EAST welcomes three traditional softball powers into the conference this season with the addition of DePaul, Louisville and South Florida. Louisville won the regular-season title this season, while Notre Dame claimed the post-season championship title for the fifth time.
Combined with an already solid conference lineup, the BIG EAST is now arguably the top softball league east of the Mississippi River. The conference earned two at-large berths (Louisville, USF) and one automatic berth (Notre Dame) to the NCAA Championship this season.
Irish claim program’s fifth BIG EAST Championship –
Conference newcomers Louisville and USF finished above Notre Dame in the final BIG EAST regular-season standings, but the Irish ended up with their fifth BIG EAST Championship title with an impressive run through a rain-soaked three-day tournament.
Powered by senior RHP Heather Booth, the Irish eliminated Providence (4-1), Pittsburgh (5-0) and Louisville (1-0) to earn the BIG EAST Championship. Notre Dame has now won the BIG EAST Championship five of the last eight seasons dating back to 1999, when the team broke through for its first title.
Six Irish players earn all-BIG EAST honors –
Notre Dame finished third in the final BIG EAST Conference standings, ending up with a 17-5 record in league play. Six Irish players were honored by the league’s coaches for their efforts during the BIG EAST regular-season and were named to one of three all-BIG EAST teams at the conference annual awards banquet on Wednesday, May 10.
The six players were led by unanimous first-team selections junior Stephanie Brown and senior Meagan Ruthrauff. Brown set the single-season record for hits in a BIG EAST regular season with 38, leading the league with a .528 batting average to go along with six home runs, 11 RBI and seven stolen bases. Ruthrauff finished third in the league in batting (.438), and smacked seven home runs while driving in 20 runs and drawing 13 walks in conference play.
Senior Heather Booth and sophomore Katie Laing were named to the all-BIG EAST second team. Booth was 11-2 in league play with a 1.55 ERA, posting five shutouts annd striking out 77 batters. Laing stepped up her production during the conference schedule, hitting .312 with five doubles, nine RBI and three stolen bases.
The sixth player ended up as senior Sara Schoonaert on the all-BIG EAST third team. Schoonaert hit .343 in conference play with seven RBI and four stolen bases.
Season schedule has been a challenge –
The 2006 season has been a challenge for the Irish, as the team has faced several teams ranked in the top 25, or just out of the national rankings.
During the `06 regular season, the Irish faced #4/4 Texas (6-5 loss), #6/7 Alabama (4-3 loss), #14/12 Oregon State (5-0 loss), #17/17 Nebraska (5-3, eight-inning loss), #17/17 Northwestern (3-2 loss), #10/#10 Arizona State (3-2 victory) and Louisville three times. The Irish lost both games of a doubleheader to #21/22 Louisville on April 30, but knocked off #18/18 Louisville in the BIG EAST Championship game on May 14th.
Notre Dame knocked off four ranked teams durng the 2005 season. The Irish defeated #21 South Florida and #19 Florida on their first weekend of action (Feb. 12-13), then knocked off #5/6 Tennessee in its last game at the Palm Springs Classic. Notre Dame also defeated #15 Northwestern with a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh on Tuesday, April 26, 2005.
Under head coach Deanna Gumpf, the Irish have knocked off at least three ranked teams in three of four seasons (#25 South Florida, #4 Nebraska, #15 Oregon State in `02; #8 Nebraska, #14 Nebraska, #18 Nebraska in `04). The Irish have defeated a total of 15 ranked teams during Gumpf’s tenure. The most ranked wins for the Irish came in 2001, when the team defeated eight teams ranked in the national top 25.
One-run warriors –
Notre Dame has played 22 one-run games this year. The team has posted a 11-11 record in those 22 games, meaning that 12 of the team’s 19 losses this season have come by a single run.
During the team’s trip to Southern California for spring break, the Irish played six consecutive one-run games, going 3-3 during the stretch with a win over #10 Arizona State and losses to #4 Texas (6-5), #6 Alabama (4-3) and at CS Fullerton (3-2 in eight innings).
â€¢Notre Dame’s one-run victories –
1-0 vs. Buffalo, 1-0 at Cal Poly SLO (G2), 3-2 vs. #10 Arizona State, 1-0 vs. Florida State, 2-1 at Western Michigan, 1-0 vs. Bowling Green, 1-0 vs. Eastern Michigan, 2-1 vs. Connecticut, 8-7 vs. Villanova, 4-3 at Seton Hall, 1-0 vs. #18/18 Louisville in the BIG EAST Championship.
â€¢Notre Dame’s one-run losses –
5-4 vs. Colorado State, 5-4 at Florida International, 2-1 at Tulsa, 2-1 vs. Stephen F. Austin (8), 3-2 at CS Fullerton (8), 6-5 vs. #4 Texas, 4-3 vs. #6 Alabama, 2-1 at Syracuse, 3-2 at #17/17 Northwestern , 2-1 (8) at #21/22 Louisville, 4-3 at Seton Hall.
Notre Dame takes some of the nation’s top teams to the brink –
Just a quick glance at the nation’s top 25 teams (as of April 12) will provide the true nature of Notre Dame’s 2006 schedule. The Irish have faced seven teams ranked in the nation’s top 25 (according to the NFCA top 25).
While the Irish have just one win against its seven ranked teams faced in 2006 – they have competed head-to-head with the nation’s top teams and represented themselves well. NFCA ranking listed –
â€¢#10 Arizona State – (W, 3-2) Notre Dame earned its biggest victory of the year and ended a 10-game winning streak for the Sun Devils … the Irish took a 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Meagan Ruthrauff in the bottom of the second inning … ASU answered with a home run of its own, a two-run shot by Mindy Cowles in the third inning … ASU kept its one run lead until the bottom of the seventh when freshman Stephanie Mola reached on an error and scored on a walk-off two-run home run by Stephanie Brown.
â€¢ #18 Louisville – (W, 1-0) Stephanie Brown doubled to lead off the game and scored on an RBI bunt single from Malloire Lenn … senior Heather Booth made the quick lead stand, allowing just a bloop infield hit to the Cardinals and psoting her second consecutive one-hitter of the BIG EAST Championship … the victory provided Notre Dame with its fifth BIG EAST Championship title.
â€¢#2 Texas – (L, 6-5) Notre Dame led the Longhorns 5-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning … the Irish built their lead on two-run home runs from Mallorie Lenn (in the top of the first) and Katie Laing (in the top of the fifth) … after allowing just one run over the first four innings, freshman Brittney Bargar allowed four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning … the Longhorns won the game on a solo home run by pinch hitter Rachel Cook in the bottom of the sixth inning.
â€¢#4 Alabama – (L, 4-3) In the next game on the Irish schedule after the near miss vs. Texas, Notre Dame led Alabama 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning … Mallorie Lenn provided the big hit again with a two-run homer … Alabama answered with three unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth inning off Heather Booth … Bama’s Jordan Praytor then provided the big hit with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth … that run proved to be the game-winner, as the Irish posted two runs in the top of the seventh on a home run from freshman Linda Kohan.
â€¢#14 Nebraska – (L, 5-2 in eight) Taking on the Cornhuskers in Tulsa, Notre Dame rallied from a 1-0 deficit to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning on and RBI double by Stephanie Brown and RBI single from Mallorie Lenn … Nebraska answered with a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning to extend the game … the Cornhuskers eventually won the game in the bottom of the seventh, utilizing the international tiebreaker rule to score three unearned runs with two outs
â€¢ #13 Northwestern – (L, 3-2) Notre Dame took a 2-0 lead in the third inning against the Wildcats on an RBI single from Sara Schoonaert, followed by an RBI double by Mallorie Lenn … NU answered back with a solo home run in the fifth inning … the Irish held a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning, but a leadoff walk doomed Notre Dame and Northwestern was able to sneak out a 3-2 victory.
â€¢ #19 Louisville – (L, 2-1 in eight) The Irish held a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Cardinals used a leadoff walk to score the tieing run with no hits … the Cardinals eventually won on a walk off home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning.
Deanna Gumpf nabs 200th win in record-setting style –
Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf won her 200th game with the Irish in game two at Pittsburgh on Sunday, April 9 – and the Irish made sure the win would be remembered with a record-setting performance. As a team, Notre Dame pounded out 21 hits – matching the school record set back in 1992 against Rhode Island.
Two Irish players posted personal-best hit totals in the contest, with junior Stephanie Brown and senior Meagan Ruthrauff going four for five at the plate. Ruthrauff’s big game drew much of the attention, however, as she set two school records in the contest by hitting three home runs and driving in seven runs.
Gumpf is now 214-87 in her career with the Irish and has led the team to five consecutive NCAA appearances and five consecutive BIG EAST regular-season titles during her tenure.
New coaching staff, new Gumpf Family addition –
Notre Dame unveiled its new coaching staff in a unique way this season. Lizzy Lemire, a 2001 Notre Dame graduate, has joined the staff and Kris Ganeff (Notre Dame `99) moves up into the first assistant role. The change came about with the decision of former Irish assistant coach Charmelle Green to take a job in Notre Dame’s Student-Athlete Development Program.
The unusual twist to the story is that Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf missed Lemire’s official debut with the team. Gumpf and her husband John welcomed their second child, Tatum Elizabeth, on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Gumpf rejoined the team full time on the road for its Spring Break trip to Southern California.
To aid in the pitching staff’s development during Gumpf’s pregnancy, former Irish assistant coach and 1993 Penn State graduate Dawn Austin returned to the team as a volunteer assistant coach this season.
Irish pile up a record 46 hits in three games –
The Notre Dame offense hit a lull over a four-game stretch from April 2-8. The Irish finished 2-2 during the four-game run and combined for 19 hits as a team. Starting with game two at Syracuse, the Irish offense seems to be finding its stride again.
Over a three-game stretch last weekend, all victories, Notre Dame amassed 46 hits (12 vs. Syracuse, 13 vs. Pittsburgh, 21 vs. Pittsburgh) – a school record for hits over three consecutive games.
Notre Dame had previously notched 40 hits in three consecutive games three times:
â€¢ 1996 vs. Rutgers (19), Rutgers (12) and Rutgers (9) – from 3-30 to 3-31
â€¢1998 vs. Loyola Chicago (13), vs. Loyola Chicago (14) and Rutgers (13) – from 3-26 to 3-28
â€¢ 2003 at Syracuse (11), Valparaiso (12) and Valparaiso (17) – from 4-19 to 4-23
The 2003 season also saw the Irish post the school record for consecutive games with 10 team hits – as Notre Dame won 10 games in a row from April 13 – April 23 and posted at least 10 hits in each game.
Irish have nine players with at least 10 RBI this season –
The 2006 Notre Dame softball team has nine players who have driven in at least 10 runs this season – that ties the 2004 and 2001 teams for second place all-time the program’s history. The 1994 seasoon saw 10 Irish players drive in at least 10 runs.
So far this season, Meagan Ruthrauff has driven in 39 runs, matched with Mallorie Lenn (39), Katie Laing (31), Linda Kohan (27), Stephanie Brown (22), Sara Schoonaert (17), Erin Glasco (16), Gessica Hufnagle (12) and Carissa Jaquish (11).
Eighth consecutive year with three players collection 30 or more RBI –
For the eighth straight season in 2006, the Irish have seen three of their players post 30 or more RBI in a season. In `06, Meagan Ruthrauff has driven in 39, matched with Mallorie Lenn (39) and Katie Laing with 31. At least three Notre Dame players have logged 30 RBI in a season every year since 1999, when current Irish assistant coach Lizzy Lemire had 30, along with Melanie Alkire (37), Jarrah Myers (37) and Amy Laboe (31).
The 2001 team holds the school record for players with 30 or more RBI, as Myer led the team with 41, followed by Lemire (38), Andrea Loman (32), Alkire (30) and Andria Bledsoe (30).
Freshman Linda Kohan (27 RBI entering the NCAA tournament), could give the Irish four players with 30 RBI, which would match the 1999, 2000 and 2002 teams for second place all-time.
Irish compile a record-matching 21 hits in game two vs. Pittsburgh –
Notre Dame’s offense exploded for 21 hits in game two at Pittsburgh on Sunday, April 9, in a 14-4 victory over the Panthers. The performance matched the school record for hits in a single game. Notre Dame posted 21 hits against Rhode Island on March 14, 1992.
The Irish and Panthers also combined for a Notre Dame record 32 hits in game two – breaking the previous combined hits record of 29 (in the same game against Rhode Island, 1992 and vs. St. Joseph’s on April 17, 1990).
Irish toss three no-hitters in 2006, most for the program since 1994 –
Notre Dame’s pitching staff has posted three no-hitters this season – the most for Notre Dame since Terri Kobata patrolled the pitching circle for Notre Dame back in 1994. In 1994, Kobata hurled eight no-hitters, part of 15 to her credit at Notre Dame.
In `06, Brittney Bargar posted the program’s first eight-inning no hitter in a 2-1 victory over Connecticut on April 1. Heather Booth and Kenya Fuemmeler combined for a no-hitter at Western Michigan back on March 26 and just recently, Booth claimed her first career perfect game in Notre Dame’s 8-0, five-inning victory over Rutgers on April 23.
Notre Dame continues its defensive prowess under Gumpf in 2006 –
The Irish defense has continued to be a dependable force for the team, as Notre Dame will enter this weekend’s play with a .979 fielding percentage. Threatening the school mark of .974 by the 2003 team, the `06 squad has kept alive the tradition of solid defense since Deanna Gumpf took over the program in 2002. The 2003 (.974), 2002 (.971) and 2004 (.968) teams rank one-two-three on the single-season list at Notre Dame.
Irish boast three of the top 10 BIG EAST hitters this season –
Three Notre Dame hitters ended up ranked among the league’s top 10 hitters in 2006, joining regular-season champion Louisville as the only conference team to boast that accomplishment. Stephanie Brown led the league with a .528 batting average, Meagan Ruthrauff was third iwth a .438 average and Mallorie Lenn was ranked seventh with a .390 average.
Career years –
Several Irish veteran players are enjoying their career-best seasons for Notre Dame in 2006:
Senior SS Sara Schoonaert – A career .237 hitter entering the `06 season, Schoonaert is hitting .275 this year and reached career highs in hits (50), doubles (9), RBI (17) and stolen bases (12) in 2006.
Senior C Mallorie Lenn – A career .260 hitter entering the `06 season, Lenn is third on the team with a .343 batting average and has hit a personal-best eight home runs and driven in a career-high 39 runs.
Junior OF Stephanie Brown – Already an all-star candidate after her first two seasons with the Irish, Brown has reached another level in 2006, posting career-bests in batting average (.396), hits (74), doubles (11), home runs (8) and stolen bases (20).
Brown earned academic all-district honors –
Junior Stephanie Brown was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V team on May 11, 2006. The marketing major boasts a 3.42 GPA and leads the team with a .396 average, 74 hits and 20 stolen bases. The academic all-district honor is the first of Brown’s career and advances her to the Academic All-American national ballot.
Brown dominates during BIG EAST play –
Junior Stephanie Brown recorded a memorable performance in BIG EAST competition this season. With a home run in her final regular-season at-bat against St. John’s, Brown posted her 38th hit in conference play, breaking former Irish standout Meghan Murrray’s lead record of 37 from the 1997 campaign.
In the final statistical rankings, Brown led the league in hits (38), batting average (.528), runs scored (22), total bases (60) and on-base percentage (.575). She also finished ranked third in slugging percentage (.833), tied for third in home runs (6) and fifth in stolen bases (7).
Brown threatening .400 season average –
Stephanie Brown will enter this week’s tournament action with a .396 season batting average, which is fifth on the Notre Dame all-time single-season list. She is looking to become just the third Irish player to hit over .400 for a single season and the first since Andrea Loman in 2003.
Ruthrauff breaks two long-standing Irish records in remarkable performance –
Senior 3B Megan Ruthrauff will see her name atop two single-game record categories after game two at Pittsburgh on Sunday, April 9.
Ruthrauff posted a personal-best four hits in game two – three of which left the park for home runs. She hit a solo shot to leftfield in the top of the first, had an RBI single in the fourth, added a solo shot in the sixth and put an exclamation mark on her day with a grand slam in the seventh inning.
Ruthrauff used all three fields for her home runs (one to left, one to center and one to right) and set the Notre Dame record for home runs in a single game (three) and RBI (seven).
The RBI record was first set in 2000 by `01 graduate Melanie Alkire. Alkire drove in six agianst San Diego State on March 12, 2000. The record was tied twice, once by `02 graduate Jarrah Myers at CS Northridge on March 11, 2001 and again by `05 graduate Liz Hartmann against Oakland on April 30, 2002.
The single-game home run record was held by nine different players – who accomplished the feat a combined 14 times. The most recent was by Hartmann, who hit two home runs against Nebraska on Feb. 14, 2004.
Ruthrauff earned her fifth career BIG EAST Player of the Week award for her performance over the weekend. Over a four-game conference stretch against Syracuse and Pittsburgh, Ruthrauff was nine for 13 with six runs scored, five home runs and 10 RBI.
Ruthrauff reaches career walks record –
Senior 1B Meagan Ruthrauff, Notre Dame’s cleanup hitter the last three seasons, is not only a potent RBI producer (156 in three-plus years, third the all-time Notre Dame list), but she also has outstanding plate discipline.
Ruthrauff has drawn 111 walks during her career, surpassing matching Andrea Loman’s (2000-03) previous Notre Dame career record of 87.
Ruthrauff has already drawn 31 free passes this season and ranks one-two-three on the single-season walk list at Notre Dame. In 2004, she drew a record 36 base on balls and followed up with 31 walks in 2005.
Booth earns BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player Award in impressive fashion –
Senior Heather Booth, already the most prolific pitcher in Notre Dame softball history, added to her athletic resume with an inspired performance during last weekend’s BIG EAST Championship. She started the tournament a bit rocky, giving up a solo home run to Providence in the top of the first inning in game one for the Irish. Little did Notre Dame’s opponents know that big hit would be the last run scored by Irish opponents during the weekend.
Booth eventually shut down Providence in a 4-1 victory, scattering five hits. She stepped up a notch against Pittsburgh in the semifinals, taking a no-hitter to the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs. She eventually struck out four and walked four against the Panthers.
The Riverside, Calif., native raised her game even more in the BIG EAST Championship game against #18/18 Louisville. The Cardinals logged only one hit, a bloop infield single, and the Irish earned a 1-0 victory. Booth struck out seven and walked just one in the championship game. She was so dominate on Sunday that no Pittsburgh or Louisville batter was able to touch second base in either game.
Booth is the fifth player to earn the tournament’s most outstanding player award, joining two-time honoree Andrea Loman (2002, `03), Melanie Alkire (2000) and Jennifer Sharron (1999).
Booth becomes first Irish pitcher to log 800 innings pitched in memorable style –
Senior Heather Booth surpassed the 800 inning pitched barrier on Senior Day at Ivy Field, when she and her three classmates were honored for their four years of dedication on Sunday, April 23 against Rutgers. Booth made sure the day would be memorable, as she pitched her first career solo no-hitter and perfect game in Notre Dame’s five-inning, 8-0 victory over the Scarlet Knights. Booth retired all 15 batters she faced, striking out four. She has two other combined no-hitters to her credit.
Booth becomes first 800 IP – 800 K pitcher in Notre Dame history –
With a flair for the dramatic, Heather Booth achieved yet another milestone in memorable fashion during Notre Dame’s doubleheader sweep at St. John’s (May 7). Pitching both ends of the DH and picking up two complete-game shutout victories, Booth surpassed 800 strikeouts in her career, becoming the first Irish pitcher to log over 800 innings pitched and 800 strikeouts – a sign of the durability and physical shape Booth has kept herself in throughout her career.
Booth now Notre Dame’s most prolific pitcher –
While leading her team to a 7-0 victory over Pittsburgh in game one on Sunday, April 9, senior Heather Booth became Notre Dame’s all-time leader in innings pitched with 773.1 – surpassing Jen Sharron’s previous school mark of 772.1. Booth has been a front-line starter for the Irish since she arrived on campus four years ago and ranks in the top five for all of Notre Dame’s significant pitching records. Her current innings pitched total stands at 882.0.
Quick overview of Booth’s all-time statistical rankings at Notre Dame –
Currently, Heather Booth is first all-time in innings pitched (882.0), wins (94), appearances (159) and complete games (85). She also is second for games started (131), strikeouts (816) and third for shutouts (32).
Laing approaching single-season doubles record, AGAIN –
Sophomore Katie Laing posted 17 doubles as a rookie last season to match current Irish assistant coach Lizzy Lemire (1999) and Jenn Giampaolo (1996) for the school record. After a slow start to the season, Laing has now reached 16 doubles – tied for fifth on the single-season list and Notre Dame and threatening the school record that she shares.
Already with 33 doubles in her career , Laing needs just one more to break into the all-time top 10 at Notre Dame in that category.