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Softball Hosts Final BIG EAST Weekend At Ivy Field

May 1, 2003

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Notre Dame vs. Villanova, Doubleheader Friday, May 2 * Ivy Field * 4 p.m.

Notre Dame vs. Rutgers, Doubleheader Sunday, May 4 *Ivy Field * 4 p.m.

BIG EAST Conference regular-season title still up for grabs:

The BIG EAST regular-season crown, which Notre Dame (31-13, 12-1) has the inside track on, will be determined this weekend. If the Irish win the rest of their games this weekend they will walk away with their eighth-straight conference regular-season crown (Notre Dame won the south division championship from 1996-99 when the conference was split).

The second, third and fourth teams in the conference, which will be invited to the BIG EAST Championship, are much harder to work through. Villanova (11-5), Boston College (11-3) and Connecticut (11-5) are all tied in the league standings with 22 points. The unusual point system that the BIG EAST utilizes does not take into consideration winning percentage in conference games, so all the teams are basically equal entering the final weekend. Villanova (30-11-1) visits Ivy Field on Friday and heads to Syracuse on Sunday. Boston College (28-17) faces St. John’s and Seton Hall on the road Saturday and Sunday. Connecticut (23-20-1), who handed the Irish their lone conference loss this season, heads to Seton Hall and St. John’s this weekend as well. Seton Hall themselves could vault up into the top four this weekend, as the Pirates currently have 20 conference points (10-6).

Once the games are played this weekend, the tie breakers will be as follows: head to head competition, followed by the team’s record against the regular season champion, going down the standings in order until one team reaches an advantage.

Class of 2003 will play their final home games this weekend:

The most successful class of players in Notre Dame softball history will be making their final appearances at Ivy Field this weekend. The senior class of short stop Andria Bledsoe, third base Andrea Loman, second base Alexis Madrid, first base Lisa Mattison and pitcher Jessica Sharron have helped Notre Dame win 78 percent of its games since they walked on campus in the fall of 1999. That class winning percentage, winning 176 of 227 games as of May 1, is over last year’s graduating class .763 and the 1998-01 group of .738. The 1993-96 group also won .708 percent of their games.

The 2003 season is not over yet, so where the individuals in this class will rank in the all-time statistical rankings is not yet set. Bledsoe, Loman and Madrid have been starters since they walked on campus, while Mattison has been in the starting line up for the last three years.

Loman ranks in the top five all-time in home runs, walks, runs scored, RBI and fielding percentage.

Notre Dame vs. Villanova series history and doubleheader preview:

Notre Dame and Villanova will be meeting for the 23rd and 24th time on Friday afternoon. The Irish hold a 20-2 advantage in the series and have won the last three meetings in a row.

The Wildcats are 30-11-1 this season and bring a 10-game win streak into Ivy Field. The three top hitters from the Villanova team should be familiar names to Irish fans. Ricci Lugo is hitting .406 this season with 22 RBI, Sara Carlson is .389 with 28 RBI and Lisa Krueger is hitting .333 with five home runs and 29 RBI.

Last season’s BIG EAST pitcher of the year, Theresa Hornick, is back in the circle for Villanova. Hornick is 15-7 this season with a 1.36 ERA. Shannon Williams (11-3) should get the call for the Wildcats in game two.

Notre Dame is 10-1 against Villanova at Ivy Field.

Notre Dame vs. Rutgers series history and doubleheader preview:

Notre Dame and Rutgers will be meeting for the 20th and 21st times on Sunday. The Irish hold a 14-5 advantage in the series, after splitting a doubleheader at Ivy Field last season. Notre Dame is 8-2 against Rutgers at Ivy Field.

Junior outfielder Nikki Childress is tearing up opposing pitching, hitting .458 with eight home runs and 29 RBI. Melissa Bradford is hitting .324 as well.

In the pitching circle, the Scarlet Knights will throw both Andria Koehler (12-5, 3.11 ERA) and Brielle Consentino (8-9, 4.17 ERA).

Notre Dame Sports Information and OCSN will offer live audio for all home BIG EAST games:

The Notre Dame Sports Information Office and the Official College Sports Network will offer live audio of all home BIG EAST softball games this season to those fans signed up for the “Fighting Irish Pass” on Play-by-play and commentary this weekend for all BIG EAST home games will be provided.

Live audio will be available for the following doubleheaders:

Notre Dame vs. Villanova, Friday, May 2, 4 p.m.

Notre Dame vs. Rutgers, Sunday, May 4, 11 a.m.

Andrea Loman carrying 15-game hitting streak:

Three Notre Dame players entered last weekend’s action with 10-game hitting streaks, but only Andrea Loman escaped the weekend with the streak intact.

Loman has piled up 25 hits in the last 15 games with 14 RBI, three home runs, four doubles and two triples (.851 slugging percentage). She also has stolen five bases during the streak.

April success:

The month of April has traditionally been a successful 30 days in the history of the Notre Dame softball program – especially over the last three seasons. The 2001 Irish team went 23-0 in April, a key portion of its 54-7 season. The ’02 team from a season ago eclipsed the ’01 team’s win total with 24, and suffered just one loss during the month (24-1, .960).

Notre Dame finished the 2003 month of April with a 21-2 mark, the fourth-best April record in school history. Head coach Deanna Gumpf is now 45-3 (.938) in the month of April.

Notre Dame’s top April performances:

2001 – 23-0 (1.000)

2002 – 24-1 (.960)

1996 – 23-2 (.920)

2003 – 21-2 (.913)

1998 – 23-3 (.885)

Loman proving herself as one of the best in the country:

Notre Dame’s recent 20-game win streak has been keyed by the outstanding play from senior third base Andrea Loman. A tri-captain this season (along with classmates Andria Bledsoe and Alexis Madrid), Loman has led Notre Dame to 21-2 record this month with a .453 batting average and 20 RBI. She also has stole eight bases, drawn nine walks and either posted the winning hit or scored the winning run in 10 of Notre Dame’s last 21 victories (see page seven).

On the season, Loman boasts a .407 batting average with seven home runs, 34 RBI, 14 stolen bases and a .667 slugging percentage.

NCAA announces championship regional sites:

There have been a number of changes made in the NCAA Women’s College Softball Championship this year. One of the changes has been the announcement of regional sites before selection Monday (May 11). The NCAA announced the eight regional sites (which will host eight teams) on Monday – Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Alabama), Tucson, Ariz. (Arizona), Fullerton, Calif. (CS Fullerton), Gainesville, Fla. (Florida), Fresno, Calif. (Fresno State), Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan), Lincoln, Neb. (Nebraska) and Austin, Texas (Texas).

2003 will mark the first season the NCAA women’s softball championship will feature 64 teams (26 automatic conference champions, 38 at-large berths). All regional games are scheduled to be conducted from Thursday, Mary 15, through Sunday, May 18. The brackets will be announced on Sunday, May 11, live on ESPNEWS (10 p.m. EST, 9 p.m. local time).

Notre Dame team members chasing down career records this season:

There are a number of Irish team members ascending the career record charts this season. The senior-captain trio of Alexis Madrid, Andria Bledsoe and Andrea Loman are all approaching the career games played record. Madrid has appeared in 225 career games, Bledsoe 223 and Loman 222. Notre Dame has four games remaining on the regular-season schedule this year. Combined with any post season contests, and all three Irish players have a shot at the career games played record of 245, held by Jarrah Myers (1999-2002).

Loman, a top player on the Irish team in all her years with Notre Dame, is threatening a number of career marks. She is tied with Jenny Kriech (1999-2002) for the runs scored record with 158. She is creeping up the most hits list with 220, needing a strong finish to get in the top five (243). Loman and Bledsoe are both about to appear on the top five in all-time doubles, as Loman has 42 and Bledsoe 39. In fifth-place is Lizzy Lemire with 43 and Melanie Alkire holds the all-time record with 49.

Loman, Bledsoe and Liz Hartmann are all moving up the career home run record list:

1. Jarrah Myers (1999-2002), 36

2. Melanie Alkire (1998-2001), 30

Andrea Loman, 29

4. Sara Hayes (1992-95), 26

5. Meghan Murray (1994-97), 15

Liz Hartmann, 14

Andria Bledsoe, 13

Loman has already broken the career walks record with 83, eclipsing Jarrah Myers’s 76. She is also within reach of the stolen bases mark (Loman has 56, needing three more this season to break Katie Marten’s record of 58 from 1994-97).

Team single-season home run record in jeopardy again?:

The 2002 team belted 54 home runs a year ago, a record that might fall again in 2003. This season Notre Dame has bashed 41 home runs as of May 1, led by senior Andrea Loman and sophomore Liz Hartmann with seven each.

Home run analysis:

Ten different Irish players hit home runs in 2002, setting another record which has already been met this season. Andrea Loman, Megan Ciolli, Meagan Ruthrauff, Andria Bledsoe, Lisa Mattison, Nicole deFau, Liz Hartmann, Mallorie Lenn and Kellie Middleton have all hit home runs in 2003.

Mattison hit her career-best fifth of the season against Boston College last Saturday. Ciolli matched last season’s total of four home runs with a three-run bomb against Connecticut on Sunday. Hartmann has already matched her rookie record of seven from a year ago.

Notre Dame single-game home run record has even more company:

Notre Dame’s original single-game home run record was set in 1990 when Sheri Quinn hit two home runs against Loyola-Chicago. Since that day on March 24, 1990, the feat has been matched 14 times. Andria Bledsoe and Liz Hartmann hit two home runs each in Notre Dame’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 28. Hartmann was already a member of the record-holding club after hitting two bombs against Oakland in 2002.

In all, five current Notre Dame players are among the nine in school history who have hit two home runs in one game. Jarrah Myers (1999-2002) is the only Notre Dame player to hit two home runs in a game three times in her career – against Virginia Tech (4-30-02), Seton Hall (4-30-00) and CS Northridge (3-11-01).

Rally at Pittsburgh on April 9 best seventh-inning effort in school history:

Notre Dame achieved a program first on April 9. Their five-run inning in the top of the seventh goes down at the best-ever seventh inning rally by the Irish. Since 1989, the first season of softball, the Irish had never rallied from a four-run deficit in the seventh inning to win, or tie the game.

The big hit in the seventh was provided by Andrea Loman, who drilled a bases-loaded double to plate the tying and winning run.

New national poll:

USA Softball, in conjuncture with and the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) have formed a new national poll. See page eight of this notes package for both the ESPN/USA Softball poll and the USA Today/NFCA top 25.

Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf in her second season:

Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf led her team to a 44-17 record in 2002 – her first season as the program’s leader. A former assistant at Notre Dame and player at Nebraska (’92), Gumpf and her staff landed the BIG EAST Conference Coaching Staff of the Year award and shared the NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year award with Wisconsin last season.

Among Notre Dame’s many accomplishments in 2002, the Irish advanced to the final day of competition at the NCAA regionals for the second-consecutive season, won the BIG EAST regular-season and tournament titles and set school records for home runs (54) and fielding percentage (.971).

California girls:

Just a quick glance at the 2003 Notre Dame softball roster can beg the question; is the Notre Dame campus located on the west coast?

In all, 10 Irish players call California home – that is over 50% of the roster. Add in head coach Deanna Gumpf (La Palma) and the Notre Dame softball team has a distinctive Golden State flavor.

The California girls: Steffany Stenglein (Huntington Beach), Carrie Wisen (Fullerton), Jessica Sharron (Agoura Hills), Liz Hartmann (Novato), Chantal DeAlcuaz (Modesto), Alexis Madrid (Temecula), Mallorie Lenn (Garden Grove), Heather Booth (Riverside), Andrea Loman (Riverside) and Meagan Ruthrauff (La Mirada).

Notre Dame preseason favorite to win the BIG EAST Conference:

The BIG EAST Conference has released its 2002 preseason softball poll and the University of Notre Dame softball team ended up as the top choice, as voted on by the league’s coaches, to win the 2003 league championship. The Irish received 99 points in the conference’s preseason release, ahead of Syracuse in second place (85) and Villanova (75) in third. Notre Dame received nine first-place votes, while Villanova and Virginia Tech each received one.


Preseason Softball Poll Rank, team, (first place votes), points, ’02 record

1. Notre Dame (9), 99 pts., 44-17

2. Syracuse, 85 pts., 25-21

3. Villanova (1), 75 pts., 45-15

4. Virginia Tech (1), 71 pts., 42-18

5. Seton Hall, 69 pts., 29-17

6. Boston College, 63 pts., 26-26

7. St. John’s, 36 pts., 23-30-1

8. Rutgers, 35 pts., 22-25

9. Connecticut, 31 pts., 5-15

10. Pittsburgh, 30 pts., 21-33

11. Providence, 11 pts., 5-15

Mallorie Lenn wins gold medal with the U.S. Junior National team:

Freshman Mallorie Lenn landed a spot on the U.S. Junior National team that eventually won the First Junior Women’s Pan American Championship in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Lenn, from Garden Grove, Calif., was one of the starting catchers on the U.S. team that did not surrender a single run during the tournament. The team was potent on offense as well, dispatching Netherlands Antilles 21-0, Guatemala 20-0 and Jamaica 20-0.

The U.S.’s main competition in the tournament was Canada, and in the first match up during round-robin play Lenn provided the game-winning RBI in her team’s 1-0 victory. Lenn also served as the catcher for the gold-medal game against Canada (a 2-0 U.S. victory).

The victory provided the USA with a berth in the 2003 International Softball Federation Junior Women’s World Championships in Nanjin, China, during the summer of 2003.

All-Time Record:

Entering the 2003 season, Notre Dame softball has posted 556 wins in 14 seasons (almost 40 wins per season). The Irish have won 67% of their games and have never posted a losing season.