April 17, 2004
The University of Notre Dame softball team (32-13, 6-0 BIG EAST) is set to face Providence (25-13-1, 5-5) in a doubleheader at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 18, at Ivy Field. The Irish will be looking to bounce back from a 4-3, 10-inning loss to UIC on Thursday, while the Friars are coming off a doubleheader spilt at Syracuse. Providence won game one 7-6, then fell 6-5 in eight innings at Syracuse.
Notre Dame – Providence series history: The Irish and Friars will be meeting for the 18th and 19th time on Sunday, with Notre Dame winning all 17 previous games in the series … Notre Dame swept Providence in Rhode Island last yeare 5-1 and 10-1 … Sunday’s games mark the first at Notre Dame for Providence since 2001, when the Irish swept the Friars 10-0 and 5-0 … Notre Dame is 6-0 against Providence at Ivy Field.
Providence team analysis: The Friars have been one of the surprising teams in the BIG EAST this season … after winning just four league games in 2003, Providence has won five of their first 10 games in the league this season and are currently in fourth place in the conference standings … Kalena Peterson is the player to watch on the Friar roster, as she is hitting .413 this season with seven home runs and 22 RBI … Notre Dame will most likely see Cori Van Dusen (11-5, 2.69 ERA) and Nicole Bartholomew (7-6, 2.17 ERA) in the pitching circle on Sunday.
Irish hope to get back on track vs. the Friars: A frustrating end to Notre Dame’s 10-inning loss to UIC on Thursday has the Irish anxious to put that game behind them … the Flames outlasted Notre Dame 4-3, winning on the international tie breaker with an RBI single in the top of the 10th … Notre Dame saw the tying run get thrown out at the plate to end the game in the bottom of the 10th … the Irish offense has been struggling since its doubleheader sweep of Syracuse last weekend – Notre Dame pounded out 21 hits in those two victories, but have managed just 13 teams hits as a team in the last three games.
Senior Nicole deFau leading from the top of the line up: Nicole deFau, the lone representative for the Irish senior class of ’04, has been producing at the top of Notre Dame’s line up over the last 12 games … deFau has put up 12 hits in those 12 contests, going 12-14 at the plate (.352) with 13 runs scored … in her final year with the Irish, deFau is posting a career campaign across the board … she has already set single-season highs for hits (32), doubles (seven), RBI (nine), runs (25), and stolen bases (eight).
Notre Dame has been feasting on BIG EAST Conference pitching: If the first six games of the conference schedule are any indication, the Irish offense should bust out of its mini-slump against Providence … Notre Dame has hit a robust .388 against conference pitching this season, with seven home runs and 42 RBI … Nicole Wicks leads all Irish hitters in BIG EAST average, going seven for 12 at the plate with two doubles, two triples and five RBI … Stephanie Brown leads Notre Dame with 11 conference RBI and is hitting .529 … Nicole deFau is equally hot in conference play, going nine for 18 (.500) with four extra base hits and four RBI.