Sept. 14, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame head softball coach Deanna Gumpf announced the upcoming fall and spring schedules for the Fighting Irish, which includes 15 home dates at Melissa Cook Stadium for the 2012 campaign.
In addition, Notre Dame will play host to the BIG EAST Conference Championship for the first time since 2007. Notre Dame also hosted the league championship in 1998, 2005 and 2006.
“We’ve put together a very balanced and competitive schedule,” Gumpf said. “This team knows that it has the ability to beat any team on any field. It will also be nice to be able to play so many games in front of our home crowd within the friendly confines of Melissa Cook Stadium.”
Action gets underway Sept. 18 with a 10-inning contest against Loyola-Chicago beginning at noon (ET).
A Sept. 25 game against Ball State at noon will be followed by a 4:30 p.m. game against Illinois State.
Valparaiso will visit Notre Dame for a noon doubleheader on Oct. 2 to wrap up the fall slate.
All fall contests will be played at Melissa Cook Stadium.
The spring begins with five games at the San Diego Classic (Feb. 17-19) with four more to be played one week later at an invitational hosted by North Carolina (Feb. 25-26).
For the second straight season, the Irish will play four games at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic (March 3-4) held in Buena Vista, Fla., at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex.
Spring break will see the Irish play three games at an invite hosted by Long Beach State (March 10-11) with a single game at Loyola Marymount on March 13.
Notre Dame will play five games at the prestigious Judi Garman Classic from March 14-17.
From there, Notre Dame will trek all away across the continental United States to open the BIG EAST portion of the schedule with a three-game set at Georgetown (March 24-25).
Four straight home dates will pit the Irish against Toledo (March 28), Connecticut (March 31-April 1) and Northwestern (April 4).
The Irish travel to Purdue (April 5) and Rutgers (April 11) before settling in for a two-week home stretch with 11 games on the docket.
Syracuse (April 14-15) visits for a three-game BIG EAST series, DePaul (April 21-22) will be in town for three more league games and Michigan State (April 24) will make its first appearance at Notre Dame since 1994 before Seton Hall (April 25) heads to South Bend for a midweek doubleheader.
Notre Dame hits the road for three games at Providence (April 28-29) and then plays Northern Illinois (May 1) and Eastern Michigan (May 2) prior to the regular-season finale at Pittsburgh (May 5-6).
The BIG EAST Conference Championship will be held May 10-12 at Melissa Cook Stadium.
NCAA Regionals begin May 18 at campus sites with the Women’s College World Series lasting from May 29-June 3 in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Notre Dame began the 2011 season with a 9-0 record – the best opening to a campaign in program history – and went on to win 46 games, the sixth-highest total in 23 seasons.
Notre Dame’s BIG EAST Conference regular season title last season was the second straight – and 13th overall – since joining the league in 1996. Notre Dame’s 19 league wins matched the second-highest total in program history.