March 27, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A league rivalry that first took shape 14 years ago gets renewed once more this weekend on the softball diamond. The University of Notre Dame softball team, winners of six straight games, puts its unblemished 2015 home record on the line against No. 24/RV Virginia Tech in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play at Melissa Cook Stadium.
The three-game ACC series is scheduled to begin with a Saturday doubleheader, first pitch tentatively set for 1 p.m. (ET). Sunday’s series finale remains scheduled for a noon (ET) start at Melissa Cook Stadium. Live stats for all three games will be available via CBS Gametracker, and a live video feed will be streamed through WatchND.
No. RV Notre Dame (20-11, 4-5 ACC) puts a 12-game home winning streak on the line during its second conference weekend of the season at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish rolled against Georgia Tech in last weekend’s conference opening set, downing the Yellow Jackets 6-1, 13-0 in five innings and 5-0 to sweep the series.
Virginia Tech (24-6, 3-5 ACC) will make its first appearance at Melissa Cook Stadium, returning to Notre Dame for just the third time in series history. The Irish previously swept the Hokies on April 20, 2002 (8-0 and 10-0) and April 30, 2004 (5-0 and 9-1 in five innings) in BIG EAST Conference play. Before Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2005, Notre Dame was a perfect 6-0 against the Hokies in BIG EAST meetings.
In the most recent showdown between the teams, Notre Dame erased a 5-0 first inning deficit to score seven straight runs and ultimately outlast Virginia 9-6 in the semifinals of the ACC Championship on May 9, 2014 in College Park, Maryland. The Irish countered with seven runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning, belting out seven hits in the frame.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
No. RV Notre Dame vs. No. 24/RV Virginia Tech
March 28-29, 2015
Melissa Cook Stadium
Notre Dame, Ind.
No. RV Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(20-11, 4-5 ACC in 2015)
No. 24/RV Virginia Tech Hokies
(24-6, 3-5 ACC in 2015)
Notre Dame Softball Weekend Schedule
Sunday, March 29
IRISH SLAP HITS
– Notre Dame improved to 20-11 this season with its sixth straight victory, a 9-0 win in five innings over IPFW on Wednesday at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish have now won 12 straight games at home dating back to a 7-2 victory over Valparaiso on April 24, 2014.
– During its current six-game winning streak, Notre Dame has outscored opponents by a combined margin of 53-5. The Irish have won three of those six decisions by way of run-rule.
– Sophomore pitcher Rachel Nasland was selected as the Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week for the third time this season (second straight award) after posting a 3-0 record last week. Over 19 innings pitched, Nasland limited opponents to nine hits (a cumulative .143 average against), walked seven and struck out 25 batters in outings against Cleveland State and Georgia Tech.
– Nasland and 2014 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Lacey Waldrop of Florida State lead all ACC hurlers with three separate conference pitcher of the week citations thus far in 2015. Nasland earned her first career league pitcher of the week honor on Feb. 24 before receiving the recognition once more on March 16, following a five-inning no-hitter against Florida State the previous day.
– Notre Dame exploded on offense during its recent 6-0 spurt, batting a cumulative .389 with 58 hits (including 16 doubles, one triple and six home runs), 44 RBI, a team .631 slugging percentage, a team .464 on-base percentage, 13 stolen bases and 53 runs scored.
– Notre Dame improved to 18-2 (.900) this season when outhitting the opposition, including a perfect 9-0 when posting 10 or more hits, with the 9-0 win over IPFW on Wednesday.
– 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 13-5 (.722) all-time in games played on March 28 of a given season. The Irish have won 10 of the last 11 games played on the date since sweeping Bowling Green 4-3 and 2-1 in a doubleheader at Ivy Field in 1999.
Notre Dame has added a 10-3 (.769) mark on March 29, the date of the Sunday series finale against Virginia Tech.
ND Extends Win Streak To Six
A tandem pitching effort from junior Allie Rhodes and freshman Katie Beriont earned the second straight one-hit shutout for Notre Dame on Wednesday. The Irish won their sixth straight game with a 9-0 decision in five innings over IPFW in nonconference play at Melissa Cook Stadium.
Notre Dame finished the contest with a 12-1 hits advantage over IPFW, adding three extra base hits. The Irish also stole three bases on the day, while six of the nine original starters in the game recorded at least one RBI.
Notre Dame, on top of extending its current winning streak to six games, has won three contests during the streak in only five innings. Dating back to a 12-0 triumph in five innings at No. 9/10 Florida State on March 15, the Irish have outscored opponents 53-5 in their last six starts overall.
Nasland Repeats As The ACC’s Best
Thanks to another strong stint for the Irish in the circle last week, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) selected sophomore Rachel Nasland as the ACC Pitcher of the Week for the second straight time on Monday.
With her third ACC Pitcher of the Week award this season, Nasland joined Irish softball legend Laura Winter (`14) as a previous three-time recipient of the league’s top pitching honor in a single season. Winter was tabbed as the ACC Pitcher of the Week on March 10, April 28 and May 5 of 2014 during her only season in the conference.
Nasland ramped up her recent dominance against ACC foes with an undefeated weekend in the circle against Georgia Tech, adding a nonconference midweek victory against Cleveland State. The ACC’s reigning top pitcher posted a perfect 3-0 mark with a 1.47 ERA in three starts last week, scattering nine hits over 19 innings. The Irish righty yielded seven walks and struck out 25 of the 73 batters she faced.
When The Irish Are Scoring, The Wins Follow
Wednesday’s 9-0 win over IPFW marked the 17th time this season Notre Dame has scored five or more runs during a game. The results of the run production has made an impact in the win column as well, as Notre Dame has logged a 16-1 (.941) record this season when plating at least five in a contest.
Notre Dame has averaged 5.55 runs per game through 31 starts in 2015, scoring double-digit runs on three occasions.
Touch `Em All, Sara
Freshman Sara White became the eighth Notre Dame player to hit a home run in 2015 on Wednesday, smashing a solo shot in the second inning of the 9-0 Irish win over IPFW in five innings. White’s first career home run on a 2-1 count from IPFW’s Kaitlyn Biere gave Notre Dame an early 2-0 advantage.
White is believed to be the 67th different player to hit at least one home run during her Notre Dame career, and the third this season to log career homer number one. Junior Megan Sorlie left the yard for the first time against UNLV on Feb. 20, and freshman Morgan Reed crushed a three-run home run against No. 9/10 Florida State on March 15.
How Valuable Is Wester Leading Off?
The offensive numbers do not lie when analyzing the impact sophomore All-American Karley Wester has made on the Notre Dame lineup, thanks in part to her efficiency in the leadoff slot.
Wester has reached base safely in 33 of her 58 total plate appearances leading off a game (27 in 2014, 31 thus far in 2015), a success rate of nearly 57 percent. Wester’s overall career on-base percentage of .506 is a Notre Dame program record.
Good Luck Scoring On The Irish In The Second
Notre Dame opponents have faced Irish pitching 31 times during the second inning thus far in 2015, and to this point have made little impact on the scoreboard in the second frame. In fact, the Notre Dame pitching staff has remained in the driver’s seat during the second all season long.
Irish pitchers have posted a cumulative 0.68 ERA during the second inning this season, yielding only three runs overall to the 113 batters faced in the stanza (.120 batting average against). Notre Dame has walked only eight opponents and has struck out a total of 41 batters in the second inning, both team-bests for an individual inning.
Irish In The ACC
Notre Dame officially opened its second season in the ACC at North Carolina State on March 7. Taking into account all prior games, including those before joining the league, the Irish are a combined 133-45 (.747) against the current ACC membership.
Irish Against The Opposition
Notre Dame is 13-6 (.684) all-time against Virginia Tech entering this weekend’s ACC series at Melissa Cook Stadium. The Irish and Hokies split four games in 2014 meetings between the teams.