April 7, 2003
Notre Dame looking up in the BIG EAST Conference standings – without playing a game:
Notre Dame is currently 10th in the BIG EAST Conference standings (as of April 7), but the method by which the Irish are in that place has been beyond the team’s control. An unusually cold and rainy spring has forced the postponement of Notre Dame’s first six BIG EAST Conference match ups this season – and the Irish have been unable to earn the points necessary to crack into the conference standings.
Due to the unusual scoring system adopted last year by a vote from the league’s coaches, getting rained out too much might cost Notre Dame a spot in the BIG EAST Championship. The BIG EAST standings give two points for a league win, one point for a rare conference tie, and zero points for a loss. Winning percentage has been taken out of the equation and only the top four teams in the standings advance to the BIG EAST Championship.
With an April that was already challenging, the weather problems have added to the pressure Notre Dame will face this month. The Irish have 26 games remaining this month (13 doubleheader), which combined with their four victories already in April give Notre Dame 30 games (hopefully) played in this calendar month. Thirty games in a month would come in just under the school record, as Notre Dame played 31 games in April in their first year of varsity softball in 1989.
Those 30 games are not completely assured, however, as Notre Dame is still trying to work in a doubleheader with Virginia Tech (the 2002 BIG EAST Championship runners up).
Each game the Irish get in during conference competition will be key in its push for a postseason berth. First-place Seton Hall (which will visit Ivy Field this Sunday at 11 a.m.) already has 10 points and is tied with St. John’s (another visitor to Ivy Field this Friday at 4 p.m.) at the top of the standings.
Make up dates announced:
While the Notre Dame coaches and administrators work on a make up date with Virginia Tech, the Irish have already announced two make up doubleheaders with Pittsburgh and Providence.
The Irish will make a long bus trip to Pittsburgh Tuesday night, play the Panthers on Wednesday for their BIG EAST opener, then return to campus for class on Thursday. The Pittsburgh – Notre Dame doubleheader will begin at 1 p.m.
Notre Dame’s make up date with Providence forced another cancellation in the season schedule. The trip to Nebraska, where the Irish recorded their top upset in school history just a year ago, has been cancelled in favor of conference commitments with the Friars. The Irish will head to Rhode Island on Monday evening to face the Friars at 3 and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15.
MAKE UP DATES:
Vs. Pittsburgh, Wednesday, April 9, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Vs. Providence, Tuesday, April 15, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. (ND at Nebraska cancelled)
Last week’s offensive surge puts Irish atop the BIG EAST in hitting:
Notre Dame outscored its opponents 24-5 last week while posting doubleheader sweeps at Purdue and at home against Loyola (Chicago). The Irish are now hitting .279 as a team, which leads the BIG EAST ahead of Virginia Tech (.277) and Villanova (.276). Individually, Andrea Loman is sixth in the league in hitting (.370) and slugging percentage (.603). The Irish are also tied for the league lead in fielding percentage (.975) with Boston College.
Notre Dame’s complete weekly release will be released on Thursday this week after the team’s BIG EAST opener at Pittsburgh.