NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The RV Notre Dame Softball Team opens the season Friday at the 2020 NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla. The 2020 field will feature Notre Dame and 14 other collegiate programs, 10 of which participated in the 2019 postseason, and the United States Women’s National Team.
Following a five-year hiatus, the Division I Classic makes its return to Clearwater, the site of the final three from 2012-14. The first 15 tournaments were held in Columbus, Ga. from 1996 through 2010. Notre Dame is the only team in the field to have participated in the first Leadoff Classic in 1996. Auburn, Baylor, Illinois, Kentucky, Liberty, Louisville, Mississippi State, Missouri, Missouri State, Minnesota, NC State, Ole Miss, South Alabama, and Texas State will join the Irish in the competitive field.
Eddie C. Moore Complex
Friday, Feb. 7
RV Notre Dame vs. RV Missouri (Noon ET)
RV Notre Dame vs. No. 23 Auburn (2:30 p.m. ET)
Saturday, Feb. 8
RV Notre Dame vs. Missouri State (3 p.m. ET)
RV Notre Dame vs. No. 21 Ole Miss (5:30 p.m. ET)
Sunday, Feb. 9
RV Notre Dame vs. South Alabama (Noon ET)
Notes: Notre Dame Notes
Live Stats: und.com/mediastats
“We’re putting ourselves in position to play some of the best teams from the very strongest conferences,” Notre Dame Softball Head Coach Deanna Gumpf stated. “We do that because I believe that we need to play those games early, so that we learn and get better and understand what it takes to win the big games at the end.”
Notre Dame came in at No. 3 in the Preseason ACC Coaches Poll, released Jan. 29. Senior infielder and captain Katie Marino and sophomore pitcher Payton Tidd were also named to the preseason All-ACC team.
“The ACC is a very strong conference, and each year we keep getting better,” Gumpf noted. “To have Payton and Katie both make the list of an extremely talented group of players is outstanding. I believe this is a great place for us to start.”
Marino was named second-team All-ACC and first-team NFCA All-Mid-Atlantic region in 2019, and earned ACC Co-Player of the Week honors (March 5). In 2019, she boasted a .344 batting average, scoring 63 runs and 43 RBI. On defense, Marino turned in a .967 fielding percentage.
A science-business major and sociology minor, Marino has earned NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete honors for each of her three completed seasons. She was named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll in 2017 and 2018, and in 2017, was named to the ACC All-Academic team.
Tidd, a newcomer in 2019, was named first-team All-ACC, as well as receiving ACC All-Freshman Team and All-Tournament team honors in her rookie season. Entering NCAA Regional play in 2019, Tidd ranked second in the ACC with 25 victories, which also ranked third in the nation among freshmen pitchers.
In 2019, Tidd boasted a 25-10 record, pitching 182.1 innings and putting forth a 2.34 ERA. Batters racked up just a .224 average against her, and she tallied 157 strikeouts. In the classroom, the sophomore is currently working towards a psychology degree with a supplementary major in pre-health studies.
NOTRE DAME VS. LEADOFF CLASSIC OPPOSITION
The Irish will face two first-time opponents in Missouri State and South Alabama this weekend. Notre Dame leads the all-time records with Auburn (5-3) and Ole Miss (1-0). Missouri holds the all-time record over the Irish, 6-2.
Follow along on Twitter @NDSoftball and at und.com/mediastats.