Carrie Wisen drove in the winning run vs. Louisville with a two-RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Softball Faces Non-Conference Challenges This Week

April 11, 2005

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Notre Dame (24-8) at Purdue (28-13)


Tuesday, April 12, 2005 (2 p.m.)

Notre Dame at Illinois-Chicago

Single Game

Thursday, April 14, 2005 (7 p.m.)

Irish ready to renew annual rivalry with Purdue: The University of Notre Dame softball team (24-8) returns to non-conference action this week with a doubleheader at Purdue (28-13) on Tuesday and a single game at Illinois-Chicago on Thursday. Notre Dame and Purdue have met each of the last eight seasons, switching between Notre Dame and West Lafayette, Ind., for the game sites each year.

The Irish will take a season-high 13-game win streak into Tuesday’s doubleheader, the best in-season run for the program since the team won 20 straight in 2003. Notre Dame also has won 18 of its last 10 games dating back to March 6.

This week’s three games (before BIG EAST Conference play this weekend at Providence and Connecticut) are a key component of Notre Dame’s non-conference slate this season and features two of the top teams in the Midwest.

Notre Dame quick hits: What you need to know about the Irish for Tuesday’s doubleheader:

• The Notre Dame – Purdue series has been a seesaw affair, as the Boilermakers won six of the first eight meetings, followed by the Irish winning seven of the next eight games. Purdue broke Notre Dame’s seven-game win streak in the series in game two last year at Ivy Field.

• Notre Dame is on a 13-game win streak and has hit .344 as a team during the run, scoring 70 runs and posting 63 RBI.

• While the offensive numbers are impressive, the Irish also have shut down their opponents with outstanding pitching, the team ERA over the winning streak is 0.40 and the Irish pitchers have struck out 115 batters in 87 innings (a ratio of 9.25 per game).

Series history vs. Purdue and team analysis: Notre Dame and Purdue will be meeting for the 17th and 18th time on Tuesday … the Irish lead the all-time series 9-7 … Purdue snapped Notre Dame’s seven-game win streak in the series with a 4-3, eight-inning victory in game two at Ivy Field last season … Notre Dame is 6-3 at Purdue’s Varsity Softball Complex … Purdue is 28-13 in 2005 with a 5-1 Big Ten record, including at split vs. #24 Iowa last weekend … Andrea Hillsey is leading the Boilers with a .400 batting average this season, six home runs and 23 RBI … DaQueta Johnson serves as the power hitter in the lineup with seven home runs and 31 RBI … Diana LeRiva is the pitching leader for the Boilers, boasting a 1.57 ERA with 109 strikeouts in 93.1 innings pitched.

Series history vs. Illinois-Chicago and team analysis: Notre Dame and UIC will be meeting for the 27th time on Thursday … Thursday’s game is a rematch of UIC’s victory at the NCAA Region VII tournament last season, eliminating Notre Dame from the regional … UIC is 28-19 overall and 5-1 in Horizon League play … Cameron Astiazaran is one of the most dangerous hitters in the Midwest this season, as she is hitting .477 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI … Brittany McIntyre (3.37 ERA, 13-9) and Mercedes Lovato (3.65 ERA, 14-8) lead the Flames pitching staff … Notre Dame is 6-5 all-time at Flames Field.

13-game run ties 2002 streak for third-longest of the Gumpf era: Notre Dame has won its last 13 contests (and 18 of its last 19 games), matching a 13-game run in 2002 for the third-longest of the Deanna Gumpf era.

Gumpf took over the program in 2002 and posted winning streaks of 14 and 13 games that season, winning 27 of 28 games in the months of March and April. The 2003 team won 20 straight games from April 1 – April 26.

Here is a look at Notre Dame’s current winning streak:

vs. Oakland (at Buckeye Invitational), W, 8-0

vs. Eastern Michigan (at Buckeye Invitational), W, 4-1

vs. Western Michigan, W, 2-1

vs. Valparaiso, W, 5-0

vs. Valparaiso, W, 10-0

vs. Loyola Chicago, W, 10-0

at Villanova, W, 4-0

at Villanova, W, 2-0

Eastern Michigan, W, 1-0

Eastern Michigan, W, 7-5

Ball State, W, 4-1

at Pittsburgh, W, 7-2

at Pittsburgh, W, 6-0

Irish have dominated the month of April under Gumpf: Since Deanna Gumpf took over the Irish softball program in 2002 – the team has been close to unbeatable in the month of April. Entering Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Irish are 71-8 (.899) in April over the last four years.

Here is a breakdown of Notre Dame’s record during April since 2002.

2002: 24-1

2003: 21-2

2004: 19-5

2005: 7-0

Snapshot of the Irish: Notre Dame has endeavored to find its 2005 identity this season, but might have found a successful formula over Spring Break. After struggling through the four weeks of the season with silent bats, the Irish offense exploded during Hawaii’s Spring Fling for 45 hits and 25 runs. The offensive production was, hopefully, a sign of good things to come for the team as they return to the Midwest for regional and BIG EAST Conference action.

Senior team captain Megan Ciolli (.370, 37 H, 7 2B, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 15 SB) has led from the front since the team took the field this season. Junior Meagan Ruthrauff (.326, 7 2B, 17 RBI) and senior Liz Hartmann (.311, 8 2B, 3 HR, 22 RBI) have shown signs of giving Ciolli dedicated support in the Irish lineup.

The pitching staff has been steadily improving for the Irish since the team returned from spring break. Junior Heather Booth (13-4, 1.10 ERA) has turned in just one sub-par start (vs. Pacific) this season and has five shutouts and 12 complete games to her credit. Senior Steffany Stenglein (1.56 ERA, 141 K in 94.0 IP) has been untouchable early in games, but has fallen off after the sixth inning and has allowed nine home runs this season. In the end, opponents are hitting just .150 against Stenglein in 2005.

Notre Dame’s defense, unsure of itself early in the season, has benefitted from one positional move. Junior Sara Schoonaert has taken over at shortstop and performed well, while freshman Katie Laing has moved over to second base and been steady.

Laing (.354, 9 2B, 10 RBI) and sophomore Stephanie Brown (.327, 6 2B, 5 RBI) have started to give the Irish some production at the top of the lineup as well.

Winning streak statistics: During Notre Dame’s current 13-game winning streak, the Irish have posted some impressive statistics, both individually and as a team.

Stephanie Brown has posted a .419 batting average during the streak, while Liz Hartmann boasts a .395 batting average with 18 RBI. Carrie Wisen (.417), Sara Schoonaert (.406), Katie Laing (.395) and Megan Ciolli (.390) all have posted outstanding batting averages as well.

The pitching staff has compiled its own impressive numbers as well. The team ERA is 0.40 during the streak, led by Heather Booth’s 0.17, trailed closely by Stenglein with 0.68. Stenglein has struck out 68 batters in 41.0 innings pitched, and both pitchers have combined for six shutouts during the streak.

Stenglein posting eye-popping strikeout numbers: With 58 strikeouts in her last six starts, senior Steffany Stenglein has blown by the 600-strikeout barrier – after reaching 500 strikeouts earlier this season. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native has struck out 141 batters in 94.0 innings this season, a ratio of 10.5 Ks per 7.0 innings pitched. She has reached double-digit strikeouts seven times this season and has posted at least nine in seven of her last eight starting appearances. She currently has 621 career strikeouts and is the third Irish player to reach 600 Ks in her career.

Ciolli looks to continue her climb up the career charts: Along with classmate Liz Hartmann, 2004 third-team All-American and BIG EAST Player of the Year Megan Ciolli has been a three-year starter since stepping on campus in 2001-02. Batting at the top of the lineup for a majority of her career (second freshman season, first sophomore season, third junior season), Ciolli has established herself as one of the top offensive players to ever don an Irish uniform.

Her current career rankings include second in batting average (.367 entering Tuesday’s doubleheader), tied for second in stolen bases, fourth in runs scored, fifth in hits, ninth in home runs and seventh in triples. She also is poised to break into the top 10 in games played and doubles this season and is on pace to break the hits and stolen base records this season. A complete list of current Notre Dame players threatening career records appear on page eight of this notes package.

Ciolli’s countdown for all-time records –

Hits: 249 (needs 19 to tie the all-time record)

Stolen Bases: 58 (needs two more to tie the all-time record)

Ciolli becomes first Notre Dame NPF draft selection: National Pro Fastpitch announced its 2005 Senior College Player Selections last week and current Irish senior Megan Ciolli was selected by the Chicago Bandits with the first selection of the second round (seventh overall).

Due to NCAA regulations, an active college player may not sign with her respective franchise until their 2005 college season is finished. Senior selections expire on July 15, 2005.

The NPF officially announced that it will enter the 2005 season with six teams – the Akron Racers, Arizona Heat, Chicago Bandits, New England Riptide, NY/NJ Juggernaut and the Texas Thunder. The California Sunbirds will remain part of the league but will suspend play in 2005 to restructure the franchise.

The Bandits will be competing in their first season in the NPF and have already signed Olympic Team standout Jennie Finch. The season will run through June 2 through August 28 and will consist of a 48-game regular season schedule for each team, an all-star game, playoffs and a Championship Series. NPF continues to be the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball and has recently developed a new alliance with ASA/USA Softball and the International Softball Federation (ISF). This alliance will help promote international play by inviting teams from China, China Taipei, Japan, Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia and Venezuela to play against NPF teams. A finalized schedule will be released in March.

Irish pitchers reach strikeout milestones in 2005: Senior Steffany Stenglein and junior Heather Booth have both reach strikeout milestones during the `05 season. Stenglein struck out 11 batters against Utah on Feb. 18, becoming the third Irish pitcher to record 500 strikeouts in a career and blew past the 600-strikeout barrier early last week.

Stenglein currently has 621, trailing Terri Kobata (907) and Jennifer Sharron (728) on the all-time list.

Booth posted her 400th career strikeout against #3/4 UCLA in a hard-fought 3-1 loss to the Bruins on Feb. 25. She currently has 475 Ks to her credit and is the fourth Irish pitcher to clear that objective – joining Stenglein, Sharron and Kobata.

Ruthrauff looking for 100 career RBI: After senior Liz Hartmann cleared the 100-RBI barrier at Hawaii’s Spring Fling two weeks ago, junior Meagan Ruthrauff is looking to join her teammate in the 100-RBI club at Notre Dame.

Hartmann became the eighth player to post 100 RBI in a career – and Ruthrauff will become the ninth some time this season. Ruthrauff currently has 98 RBI. She drove in 54 last season, becoming just the second Irish player to post over 50 RBI in a season.

16 hits at Loyola Chicago most in two years for ND: Notre Dame’s 16 team hits in a 10-0 victory at Loyola Chicago on Thursday, March 31, are the most for the team since the 2003 season. On April 23 vs. Valparaiso, the Irish pounded out 17 hits in a 15-1 victory. The school record for hits in a single game is 21 against Rhode Island in 1992.

Notre Dame earns second tournament title of 2005 at Hawaii Spring Fling: Notre Dame’s 4-0 run through an abbreviated Spring Fling tournament at the University of Hawaii earned the team its second tournament title of the year. Combined with the GRU Classic (Feb. 10-13 – see note that follows) Notre Dame joins the `01 team as the only Irish team to claim two early-season tournament titles (the `01 squad won the Holiday Inn Invitational at South Florida and the Frost Tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn.).

Notre Dame claims first initial weekend tournament title since 2001: Notre Dame’s three consecutive victories in the GRU Classic (Feb. 10-13) in Gainesville, Fla., pushed the Irish through to the tournament title. The first weekend tournament victory marks the first for Notre Dame since the 2001 season, when the Irish swept through the Holiday Inn Invitational at South Florida with a 5-0 record.

Irish own three wins over ranked teams in 2005: Notre Dame is 24-8 this season and three of those 24 victories have come against ranked teams. The Irish defeated #21 South Florida and #19 Florida on their first weekend out (Feb. 12-13), then knocked off #5/6 Tennessee last weekend in Palm Springs.

Under head coach Deanna Gumpf, the Irish have knocked off at least three ranked teams in three of four seasons (#25 South Florida, #4 Nebraska, #15 Oregon State in `02; #8 Nebraska, #14 Nebraska, #18 Nebraska in `04). The most ranked wins for the Irish came in 2001, when the team defeated eight teams ranked in the national top 25.

First back-to-back ranked wins since 2001: Notre Dame’s victories over #21 South Florida (5-1) on Saturday, Feb. 12, and #19 Florida on Sunday, Feb. 13, marked the first time since the 2001 season the Irish have posted two consecutive wins over a ranked opponents.

During the 2001 season, the Irish swept a doubleheader from #10 DePaul on April 19. To find the last time the Irish defeated two consecutive different ranked teams, you will fall back to 2000, when Notre Dame defeated #16 La.-Lafayette and #6 Oklahoma on March 18 at the Kia Klassic.

South Bend plays host to the 2005 BIG EAST Championship: For the third time in the last four years, the BIG EAST Softball Championship will be held in a neutral/off-campus site in 2005.

After Salem, Va., served as the tournament’s site in 2002 and 2003, the City of South Bend, Ind., will welcome the 2005 BIG EAST Softball Championship to the Belleville Complex on the far west side of town.

The Belleville Complex is one of the best softball-only facilities in Indiana and served as host to over 3,000 fans when the U.S. Olympic Team played an exhibition doubleheader in July of 2005.

California girls: While three trips to the west coast gives the Irish an opportunity to face several of the top teams in the country this season, Notre Dame’s appearances in San Diego (Feb. 18-20), Palm Springs (Feb. 25-27) and the Los Angeles area (March 6-7) also will provide the seven California natives on the team will a chance to play in their home state.

Heather Booth (Riverside), Liz Hartmann (Novato), Carissa Jaquish (Highland), Mallorie Lenn (Garden Grove), Meagan Ruthrauff (La Mirada), Steffany Stenglein (Huntington Beach) and Carrie Wisen (Fullerton) are the seven California natives on the `05 Irish roster.

Incoming freshman class of 2006: University of Notre Dame head softball coach Deanna Gumpf has announced the signing of seven student-athletes to national letters of intent last week, landing one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.

Brittney Bargar (Corona, Calif.), Christine Farrell (La Habra, Calif.), Erin Glasco (Johnston City, Ill.), Linda Kohan (Westminster, Calif.), Alexandra Kotcheff (Beverly Hills, Calif.), Stephanie Mola (Naples, Fla.) and Beth Northway (Kentwood, Mich.) will make up the class of 2009.

“This is one of the best recruiting classes I have seen in my career and I feel it is the best in the country,” Gumpf says of the group.

“The quality and diversity of this class is second to none. The entire staff is excited to have this group of players join the Notre Dame family.”

The class hails from across the country with four California natives, plus players from Michigan, Illinois and Florida. The group also is made up of two pitchers (Bargar, Farrell), a catcher (Glasco), an infielder (Kohan), two outfielders (Kotcheff, Mola) and an infielder/outfielder (Northway) – giving the class excellent balance at all positions.

BIG EAST loses one team before gaining three in 2006: With the shift of Virginia Tech to the ACC for the `05 season, the BIG EAST drops down to 10 teams this season before expanding to 13 teams next year when DePaul, South Florida and Louisville join the league (Marquette and Cincinnati to do not compete in softball).

With the addition of three traditional powers, the BIG EAST Conference will quickly become one of the best softball conferences east of the Mississippi.

Notre Dame will face two of the three new teams entering the league in 2006 this season. The Irish split two games with South Florida at the GRU Classic in Gainesville, Fla., and will travel to DePaul for a doubleheader on April 19.

High school teammates: Sophomore Stephanie Brown and freshman Katie Laing are just the third combination of high school teammates to play for the Irish since the program began. Both Brown and Laing played for Corona del Sol in the Chandler, Ariz., area during their prep careers. Debbie Boulac and Stephanie Pinter, both from South Bend, Ind., and St. Joseph High School, played together from 1990-93. Jennifer Sharron and Jessica Sharron, the first second set of sisters to play for the Irish, were on the Notre Dame roster together in 2000 and 2001.

Sisters Debbie and Diane Boulac both played for the Irish, but were not on the same team together.

Notre Dame now fifth in the NACDA Cup: The University of Notre Dame stands in fifth place in the second set of winter sports standings released in the 2004-05 United States Sports Academy Division I Directors’ Cup all-sports competition sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (formerly known as Sears Directors’ Cup).

The current standing comes after the Irish finished the fall seasons in first place — marking the first time in the 12-year history of the program that Notre Dame ranked number one. The previous highest ranking for the Irish had been second in the 2004-05 second set of fall standings.

Winter competition so far has netted Notre Dame 153 points — based on its NCAA combined men’s and women’s championship in fencing (50 points), a 24th-place NCAA finish in women’s swimming (49.5 points) and a 20th-place NCAA finish in men’s indoor track and field (53.5 points). Still to come are points from Notre Dame’s second-round NCAA appearance in women’s basketball. Fall NCAA competition earned the Irish 337 points based on their NCAA title in women’s soccer (100 points), their fourth-place finish in women’s cross country (80 points), their 11th-place finish in men’s cross country (57 points) and their second-round NCAA appearances in both men’s soccer and volleyball (50 points each).

Stanford (699.75 points) is first, thanks to its NCAA title in women’s volleyball and a runner-up finish in men’s swimming. Michigan (689.25) is second, highlighted by an NCAA runner-up finish in wrestling, a quarterfinal appearance in field hockey and a sixth-place finish in women’s cross country.

The current standings include results from NCAA fall competition in football, volleyball, field hockey, water polo, men’s and women’s cross country, and men’s and women’s soccer – and from winter competition in fencing, rifle, skiing, women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, and wrestling.

The next sets of winter standings will be available on April 14 and April 28.

In previous years in which the Directors’ Cup competition has been held, Notre Dame has finished 11th in 1993-94, 30th in 1994-95, 11th in 1995-96, 14th in 1996-97, tied for 31st in 1997-98, 25th in 1998-99, 21st in 1999-2000, 11th in 2000-01, 13th in 2001-02, tied for 13th in 2002-03 and 19th in 2003-04.

Here are the current standings:

1. Stanford 699.75, 2. Michigan 689.25, 3. Texas 543.25, 4. Wisconsin 528.75, 5. Notre Dame 490, 6. Auburn 477.5, 7. Tennessee 469.25, 8. UCLA 455.5, 9. Florida 454, 10. Ohio State 438.

Three options to keep track of Irish softball for out-of-town fans: The University of Notre Dame Sports Information Office offers three ways to keep up with Irish softball for fans who are out of town or unable to make it to Ivy Field.

Live Audio play-by-play of Notre Dame home games is available to subscribers of the College Sports Pass on Notre Dame Assistant Sports Information Director handles the play-by-play duties.

Go to Notre Dame’s official athletic website,, and click on the audio-video link at the top of the page to learn more about the College Sports Pass.

Gametracker, live statistical updates during Irish home games and selected away games, is also available for free this season.

Finally, for those not around a computer during competition, fans can call the Notre Dame Sports Hotline at 574-631-3000 to get updates on the Irish softball team. The hotline is updated with brief recaps as soon as possible after each Notre Dame game.

To access the softball information on the hotline, dial 574-631-3000, select 4 for baseball/softball, then 2 for softball information.