March 17, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Spring may have not yet fully sprung in the South Bend area this month, but the diamond at Melissa Cook Stadium finally welcomes the University of Notre Dame softball team home after 26 games on the road to open the 2015 season. A nine-game homestand for the Irish gets underway on Wednesday, when Cleveland State comes to town to square off with No. RV Notre Dame (15-11) at 4:30 p.m. (ET).
Live stats for Wednesday’s contest will be available via . A live broadcast link will also be provided via WatchND.
Following its three scheduled games against No. 9/10 Florida State last weekend, a total of 18 of Notre Dame’s first 26 games in 2015 were played against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the national top 25 polls at game time. The Irish have already defeated five different top 25 foes this season (No. 6/7 UCLA 8-4, Feb. 6, No. 7/8 Georgia 5-3, Feb. 21, No. 9/10 Florida State 12-0 (5), March 15, No. 20 Missouri 3-2, Feb. 27 and No. RV/25 Texas 5-1, Feb. 21) before they were able to hold their first official outdoor practice on the Notre Dame campus this year on Tuesday afternoon.
No other team in the history of Notre Dame softball has ever defeated three different opponents ranked ninth or lower in either of the two established national polls during a given season. The 2001 Irish, who still hold the school record for wins (54) in a single season, won five total games against top 10 foes that season but three wins were against the No. 10 team in the country at the time (Arizona State on March 17, DePaul twice on April 19, 2001).
Notre Dame has won five of its six home openers at Melissa Cook Stadium since the stadium’s first full season of existence in 2009, outscoring opponents a combined 49-11 in those games. The Irish are a perfect 5-0 all-time against Cleveland State (12-7) entering Wednesday’s meeting, downing the Vikings 6-5 on April 19, 2012 in the most recent series meeting.
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No. RV Notre Dame vs. Cleveland State
March 18, 2015
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Ind.
No. RV Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(15-11 in 2015)
Cleveland State Vikings
(12-7 in 2015)
Notre Dame Softball Midweek Schedule
Wednesday, March 18
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame closed a Spring Break schedule that featured eight games in eight days with a 12-0 win in five innings over No. 9/10 Florida State last Sunday in Tallahassee, Florida. It was the first ever Irish win at Florida State’s JoAnne Graf Field.
– Sophomore pitcher Rachel Nasland spun the 35th solo no-hitter (42nd overall) in Notre Dame program history in the Sunday win over Florida State. Nasland yielded only a pair of walks to the Seminoles during the no-hitter, striking out four batters on 61 pitches.
– Nasland was selected as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season after posting a 2-1 record in her past three starts. Over 18.2 innings pitched, Nasland limited opponents to 10 hits (a cumulative .154 average against), walked six and struck out 18 batters last week.
– Sophomore All-American Karley Wester was the leading Notre Dame offensive performer during the five-game schedule last week to close Spring Break. Wester batted .471 (8-for-17) with one double, one triple, two stolen bases and four runs scored to power the Irish offense. Junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi added two home runs and six RBI, while senior Cassidy Whidden chipped in a pair of homers and five runs batted in.
– Notre Dame improved to 13-2 (.857) this season when outhitting the opposition thanks to its 12-0 win in five innings over No. 9/10 Florida State.
– Irish softball is one of only two Notre Dame varsity athletic programs to have never posted a losing record. The softball team has completed its first 26 seasons with a .500 record or above in each campaign. Notre Dame’s three-time national champion women’s soccer program has posted 27 straight winning seasons since its inception at the varsity level in the fall of 1988.
On This Date…
Notre Dame is a combined 8-4 (.667) all-time in games played on March 18 of a given season, winning four of the last five games played on the date. The Irish have previously played at home twice on March 18, sweeping Toledo 9-1 and 15-0 in five innings during a doubleheader in 2009.
Nasland’s No-No (K)Nocks Off Noles
ACC Pitcher of the Week Rachel Nasland threw the 35th solo no-hitter (42nd overall) in program history to power Notre Dame to a 12-0 conference win over No. 9/10 Florida State in five innings last Sunday at JoAnne Graf Field in Tallahassee, Florida.
Only two batters reached by way of a walk in Sunday’s series finale as Nasland struck out four Seminole batters, forced seven fly ball outs and grounded out four Florida State hitters to secure Notre Dame’s first no-hitter against a top 10 opponent.
In fact, Nasland retired 30 of the final 35 batters she faced during her two outings against the prolific hitting Seminoles this past weekend in the marquee ACC series.
Wester Keeps Setting The Table For The Irish
Sophomore All-American Karley Wester holds the Notre Dame lead in overall batting average (.424), hits (39), stolen bases (11) and runs scored (23) after 26 games. Digging deeper into the statistics fully illustrates what sets Wester apart as one of the top leadoff hitters in the nation.
Wester leads all Notre Dame hitters with 14 multiple-hit games in her 26 starts, including four games with three hits, already this season. Of her 39 total hits, 17 of Wester’s 34 singles have officially been credited as infield hits.
Notre Dame Is Battle Tested
Notre Dame’s 12-0 win over No. 9/10 Florida State on Sunday was historic in many ways. It was the first Irish no-hitter ever against a top 10 opponent, it was Notre Dame’s third win over a top 10 opponent this season, and it was also the team’s most lopsided victory ever against a top 10 foe.
The Irish opened the regular season with 14 of their 26 games played against teams currently ranked among the top 25 or others receiving votes in this week’s USA Today/NFCA Division I poll. Notre Dame downed No. 8 Georgia (5-3 on Feb. 21), No. 10 Florida State (Sunday), No. 11 UCLA (8-4 on Feb. 6), No. 19 Missouri (3-2 on Feb. 27) and No. RV Texas (5-1 on Feb. 21) all before holding its first official outdoor practice at Melissa Cook Stadium.
The First Inning Belongs To The Irish
It has been a rare occurrence on the offensive end of the diamond this season for the Notre Dame lineup to waste any time in scoring runs. In fact, the first inning has been the most prolific of all in terms of Irish run production.
During the season’s first 26 games, Notre Dame has outscored opponents by a combined 32-15 aggregate run total in the first inning. The next closest inning in terms of cumulative output for the Irish would be the team’s 25 total runs posted in the third inning.
Gumpf Establishes New Wins Mark
Head coach Deanna Gumpf became the winningest “diamond” mentor in Notre Dame history with career victory 559 against No. 20 Missouri on Feb. 27, surpassing longtime baseball skipper Jake Kline (1934-75). Gumpf has since extended her career total to 564 victories, an average of more than 40 wins per season, in her 14th season at the helm of the Irish.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is 5-0 all-time against Cleveland State in series history entering Wednesday’s game at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish downed the Vikings 6-5 in the most recent meeting between the teams on April 19, 2012. Notre Dame and Cleveland State also battled in the longest game in Irish program history, an 8-4 Notre Dame win in 15 innings on April 22, 1995.