Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Softball Gears Up For Games Against Western Michigan, Rutgers, and Villanova.

April 5, 2000

PDF Formatted Notes

Games – – They Are A Changing: The Notre Dame 2000 softball schedule went through some changes this week. The first was concerning the DePaul doubleheader, which was postponed due to weather conditions and rescheduled for Thursday, April 13 at 3 p.m. The next change was to the start time of the Rutgers games, which were moved up an hour from 11 a.m. to 10 a.m. EST.

Miller’s 300th: Notre Dame head coach Liz Miller earned her 300th win at Notre Dame last Friday against BIG EAST Conference foe Connecticut in the team’s 3-0 win. Miller moved her eight-year record at Notre Dame to 302-144 and her 25-year career record to 843-286. She has directed the Irish to three BIG EAST South Division titles from 1996-98, while the team went undefeated in capturing both the BIG EAST regular season and conference championships in 1999.

Bledsoe Again: For the second time this season, Notre Dame softball player freshman Andria Bledsoe (Higley, Ariz.) has been named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week. Bledsoe earned the same honor March 13.

In the team’s five games last week, Bledsoe hit .533 (8-for-15) with four runs scored, a pair of doubles, a triple and three RBI. Notre Dame’s starting third baseman also had the game-winning RBI in the team’s 3-0 win over Connecticut, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Currently, Bledsoe is third on the team in multi-hit games with eight this season, including two last week, and has the team’s longest active and second-longest hitting streak of the season at nine games.

Right In The Rankings: For the second-consecutive week, Notre Dame is ranked 21st nationally according to the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I poll released Wednesday. Two weeks ago, the Irish made their first appearance in the top-25 rankings since 1997, claiming the #22 spot. Notre Dame received only one vote in the preseason poll.

To Be The Best: At 26-9, the Notre Dame softball team has its best record ever in the program’s 12-year history. The next best is the 1995 team’s 25-10 record.

The Benefits of the Big Switch: In the first of four regional rankings by the NCAA Division I Softball Committee released Thursday, March 30, the Irish softball team was ranked first in the Northeast Region. Also appearing in the first regional rankings of 2000 are BIG EAST foes Connecticut (second) and Villanova (fifth).

The Irish are making their first appearance in the Northeast Region after being ranked as a member of the Mideast Region last year, where they finished the season in the number 10 slot. The bi-weekly rankings are used as a part of the championship tournament selection process and consist of six regions with 10 teams apiece. See page three for the regional rankings.

Weekend Wonders: Notre Dame’s loss to Connecticut in the first game of the doubleheader put an end to the team’s BIG EAST unbeaten streak, which had reached 16 in regular season games and 19 against conference opponents …. the Irish were a perfect 19-0 en route to last year’s conference regular season and tournament titles … in the team’s 16-0 romp over BIG EAST opponent Providence last Sunday, all 13 Irish players who recorded an at-bat tallied at least one hit. In fact, only one player, freshman Lisa Mattison (Granger, Ind.), had more than one hit as the team recorded 14 in all … the Irish reached the double-digits in team hits for the sixth, seventh and eighth times this season with 11 in the loss to Connecticut, 14 in the first game with Providence and 11 in the second game with the Friars … the 16 runs was the second-most in the program’s history and the second-largest margin of victory, with the largest being an 18-0 win over Robert Morris in 1994 … in the team’s nine losses, the Irish have outhit their opponent in five of them and were even in two others.

Action – Scouting the Field: After the team’s doubleheader with DePaul was postponed, the Irish will face three opponents this weekend with games against Western Michigan on Thursday, Rutgers on Saturday and Villanova on Sunday.

The Broncos: Notre Dame and Western Michigan have split their last two doubleheaders in 1999 and 1997, with the Irish losing the first game last year (2-1) and winning the second (5-0).

In 2000, the Broncos are 5-16 with a pair of wins over Miami (OH) and single wins against Drake, Tennessee State and Middle Tennessee. Under head coach Kim Worden, Nicole Drabecki leads the team in batting average with a .283 mark, while Alison Honaman is second on the team in batting (.263) and has two home runs and a team-best eight RBI. Pitchers Alison Honaman, Nicky Kern and Leah Seffernick share the starting duties for the Broncos.

Liz Miller vs. Alma Mater: Notre Dame head coach Liz Miller will face her alma mater, Western Michigan, for the 13th and 14th time Thursday. The Irish began their series with the Broncos in Miller’s first season at Notre Dame in 1993. Miller graduated in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and in 1971 with master’s degree in counseling and personnel. She played both field hockey and volleyball for the Broncos and was inducted into the Western Michigan Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.

The Scarlet Knights: The Irish will resume BIG EAST play with a doubleheader Saturday against Rutgers, a team which the Irish swept last season. The Scarlet Knights, not including their two doubleheaders versus St. Peter’s and Monmouth, are 10-9 overall with a 1-3 record in BIG EAST play. Under head coach Pat Willis, Rutgers is led by Danielle Dolbow, who is hitting a team-best .396 with 10 RBI and two home runs. Kelly Crossen, a second team all-BIG EAST pick in 1999, and teammate Debbie DeJong are the only other Scarlet Knights with a batting average above the .300 mark. On the mound, pitcher Leah Black and Andria Koehler have shared the starting duties for a team which lost five of its nine starters from last year’s 26-26 team.

The Wildcats: Villanova, which finished tied for fourth in the BIG EAST in 1999, will play three doubleheaders this week before facing the Irish on Sunday. Under head coach Maria DiBernardini, the Wildcats are 15-7 overall and have notable wins over former Irish opponent Toledo (3-1) and BIG EAST members Seton Hall and St. John’s.

Megan O’Leary is first on the team in batting with a .439 average including 17 RBI and two home runs, while both Jackie Pasquerella and Sara Carlson are batting over .350. On the mound, the Wildcats have two pitchers who are ranked nationally in strikeouts per seven innings in Theresa Hornick (10.5) and Keri Stoller (9.0), who both have an earned-run average under 1.00. Villanova also does not make many mistakes defensively as they are leading the country in fielding percentage (.983).

Notre Dame is currently 13-1 all-time versus Villanova with the team’s last loss also being the first game of the series in 1996.

Within the Ranks: In the first set of NCAA statistics published this week, the Irish appear in four categories. Junior pitcher Jennifer Sharron (Agoura Hills, Calif.) is 47th in earned-run average with a 1.11 mark, sophomore pitcher Michelle Moschel (Naples, Fla.) is tied for 12th with three saves and junior Melanie Alkire (Union City, Calif.) is ninth in runs batted in with 37. The team’s batting average also is 17th nationally (.304).

Record Breakers: The 2000 Irish have already broken or tied three school records.

  • Most RBI in a game (6) by Melanie Alkire vs. San Diego State (3/12) beating the previous record of five by seven people.
  • Most consecutive team shutouts (5) from March 4-12, beating the previous record of four.
  • Most home runs in a game (2) by Andrea Loman vs. Texas, tying the record set by four other people.

Going Yard: After hitting just four home runs as a team in 1998, Notre Dame erupted for a team record 29 in 1999, beating the previous school record of 17 set in 1994.

This season, the Irish return four of the six players who tallied home runs in 1999, led by junior Melanie Alkire who belted a school-record and career-best 10. So far in 2000, the team has already hit 17 by six different players.

Team Home Runs By Year
1989 – Four by three players
1990 – Seven by three players
1991 – None
1992 – Nine by three players
1993 – Seven by three players
1994 – 17 by five players
1995 – 11 by four players
1996 – Six by three players
1997 – 14 by four players
1998 – Four by three players
1999 – 29 by six players
2000 – 17 by six players

NCAA Regional Rankings
March 31, 2000

Northeast Region Mideast Region Midwest Region
1. Notre Dame 1. Michigan 1. Oklahoma
2. Connecticut 2. Iowa 2. Oklahoma State
3. Hofstra 3. Illinois-Chicago 3. Southwest Texas St.
4. Virginia Tech 4. Wisconsin 4. Southern Illinois
5. Villanova 5. Michigan State 5. Nebraska
6. Long Island 6. Penn State 6. Missouri
7. Boston University 7. Minnesota 7. Texas A&M
8. Delaware 8. Ohio State 8. Iowa State
9. Cornell 9. Western Illinois 9. Texas
10. Massachusetts 10. Northwestern 10. Creighton
South Region West Region Pacific Region
1. Southern Mississippi 1. Fresno State 1. Washington
2. LSU 2. Cal State Fullerton 2. Arizona
3. Alabama 3. Long Beach State 3. UCLA
4. Louisiana-Lafayette 4. Utah 4. California
5. Mississippi State 5. New Mexico 5. Arizona State
6. South Carolina 6. UNLV 6. Stanford
7. North Carolina 7. Pacific 7. Oregon State
8. East Carolina 8. San Diego State 8. Oregon
9. Florida State 9. UC Santa Barbara 9. Cal State Sacramento
10. Arkansas 10. Hawai’i 10. Cal State Northridge

2000 Schedule/Results
Record: 26-9 (3-1 BE)

Date Opponent Time/Result
at UNLV Softball Classic (Las Vegas, Nev.)
2/18 vs. Portland St. W, 5-3
vs. Southern Utah W, 8-0 (5)
2/19 vs. Oregon L, 3-11
vs. UCSB W, 3-0
2/20 vs. Utah W, 2-1
at Morning News Inv. (Fayetteville, Ark.)
2/25 vs. Missouri (DH) L, 4-5 (10), L, 3-4
2/26 at Arkansas (DH L, 2-4, W, 2-1
2/27 vs. Virginia (DH) W, 1-0, W, 6-1
at Stateline Univ. Classic (Bristol, Tenn.)
3/4 vs. Tennessee W, 4-0
vs. Virginia Tech W, 1-0 (8)
3/5 vs. Kentucky W, 8-0 (5)
vs. Virginia Tech W, 3-0
3/12 at SDSU (DH) W, 3-0, W, 11-3
3/14 at Loyola Marymount W, 4-0
at Kia Classic (Fullerton, Calif.)
3/15 vs. CSU Northridge W, 1-0
3/16 vs. #3 Arizona State L, 1-2
3/17 vs. Texas W, 4-2
3/18 vs. #16 La.-Lafayette W, 4-2
3/18 vs. #6 Oklahoma W, 4-2
3/19 vs. #2 Arizona L, 3-6
3/23 Purdue (DH) W, 8-0 (6), L, 1-2
at Purdue Tournament (West Lafayette, Ind.)
3/25 vs. Kent State W, 12-4 (6)
vs. #13 Michigan L, 1-5
3/26 vs. Toledo W, 12-1 (5)
at Purdue W, 4-0
3/29 Eastern Michigan W, 5-2
3/31 Connecticut* (DH) L, 4-5, W, 3-0
4/2 Providence* (DH) W, 16-0, W, 9-3
4/6 at Western Mich. (DH) 3 p.m.
4/8 Rutgers* (DH) 10 a.m.
4/9 Villanova* (DH) 11 a.m.
4/12 Butler (DH) 4 p.m.
4/13 DePaul (DH) 3 p.m.
4/15 at Boston Coll.* (DH) 11 a.m.
4/16 Loyola-Chicago (DH) 2 p.m.
4/18 Indiana State (DH) 4 p.m.
4/20 Oakland (DH) 4 p.m.
4/22 at Pittsburgh* (DH) 11 a.m.
4/26 Illinois-Chicago (DH) 4 p.m.
4/29 at St. John’s* (DH) 12 p.m.
4/30 at Seton Hall* (DH) 12 p.m.
5/5-7 BIG EAST Tournament
(Chestnut Hill, Mass.) TBA
5/18-21 NCAA Regionals TBA
5/25-29 NCAA College World Series
(Oklahoma City, Okla.) TBA

USA Today/NFCA Div. I Poll (4/5/00)

1. Washington (22) 38-4 670 1
2. Arizona (5) 39-3 648 2
3. UCLA 28-5 617 3
4. Arizona State 34-6 575 5
5. Fresno State 30-9 549 6
6. Oklahoma 40-5 541 7
7. California 38-9 535 4
8. LSU 31-7 479 9
9. Stanford 30-7 450 8
10. S. Mississippi 34-9 413 10
11. Michigan 26-6 390 13
12. Oregon State 26-9-1 358 11
13. Alabama 42-7 341 14
14. Iowa 24-7 327 15
15. Long Beach State 27-11 299 17
16. Cal State Fullerton 28-7 269 12
17. Louisiana-Lafayette 27-9 264 16
18. South Carolina 27-15 189 18
19. Mississippi St. 30-10 183 19
20. Oklahoma St. 27-12 151 20
21. Notre Dame 26-9 132 21
22. Oregon 24-13 85 23
23. Florida Atlantic 43-13 66 25
24. East Carolina 40-6 59 24
25. Illinois-Chicago 35-20 51 22

Others Receiving Votes: North Carolina (35), Nebraska (24), New Mexico (22), Wisconsin (18), Southwest Texas State (9), Texas A&M (5), Florida (2).

Irish vs. Upcoming Opponents

Western Michigan (8-4):1999: L, 1-2, W, 5-0 1997: W, 3-0, L, 2-31996: W, 3-0, W, 1-0 1995: W, 4-01994: W, 5-3, W, 3-0 1993: W, 4-11992: L, 2-7, L, 1-4

Rutgers (11-3):1999: W, 4-2, W, 9-11998: L, 2-9, L, 0-5, L, 0-11997: W, 6-4, W, 5-0, L, 0-7, W, 2-0, W, 11-81996: W, 15-0, W, 5-0, W, 4-0, W, 8-2

Villanova (13-1):1999: W, 3-0, W, 4-01998: W, 11-0, W, 7-4, W, 3-01997: W, 7-0, W, 5-0, W, 12-0, W, 8-11996: L, 1-4, W, 10-5, W, 4-3, W, 6-0, W, 4-0

BIG EAST Weekly Honors

BIG EAST Players of the Week
April 3 – Lisa Girolamo, Connecticut
March 27 – Melanie Alkire, Notre Dame, Vickie Lamb, Seton Hall
March 20 – Megan Biddle, Connecticut
March 13 – Melanie Alkire, Notre Dame

BIG EAST Pitchers of the Week
April 3 – Keri Stoller, Villanova, Leah Black, Rutgers
March 27 – Barbara Cook, Connecticut
March 20 – Michelle Moschel, Notre Dame
March 13 – Barbara Cook, Connecticut

BIG EAST Rookies of the Week
April 3 – Andria Bledsoe, Notre Dame
March 27 – Christina Shanko, Seton Hall
March 20 – Andrea Loman, Notre Dame, Kelly Hulpa, Pittsburgh
March 13 – Andria Bledsoe, Notre Dame