March 1, 2006
Best Western Airport Festival â€¢ Tulsa, OK â€¢ March 3-5
Notre Dame vs. #17/17 Nebraska, Friday, March 3, 3:00 p.m.
Notre Dame at Tulsa, Friday, March 3, 7:00 p.m.
Notre Dame vs. Northern Iowa, Saturday, March 4, 11:00 a.m.
Notre Dame vs. Kansas, Saturday, March 4, 7:00 p.m.
Notre Dame vs. Stephen F. Austin, Sunday, March 5, 11:00 a.m.
2006 season continues in Oklahoma –
The University of Notre Dame softball team returns to action this weekend at the Best Western Airport Festival at the University of Tulsa. The Irish will be making their second consecutive first-time appearance in an early-season tournament this weekend after finishing 3-1 and claiming the tournament title at the adidas Golden Panther Invitational last weekend at Florida International.
Congratulations Coach Gumpf !
Notre Dame head softball coach Deanna Gumpf and her husband John welcomed their second child, Tatum Elizabeth, at approximately 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Both mother and the future left-handed pitching prospect are doing well. Deanna expects to rejoin the team on the road full time during Spring Break next week, which begins with a doubleheader at Cal Poly SLO on March 12.
Irish ALERT set to debut this weekend –
A joint effort between Centennial Wireless, Notre Dame Sports Properties and the Notre Dame Sports Information Office will make up-to-the-minute text messaging a reality this weekend. Notre Dame has announced that the Irish ALERT system, which will cover baseball, softball, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse will begin this spring for a free trial.
Simply sign up for the service at www.und.com and your mobile device will receive score updates from each of the four mentioned sports throughout the 2006 season. The service also will provide periodical updates providing team schedules and special alerts when content is uploaded on www.und.com.
Keep up with the Irish on the road –
Notre Dame softball family, friends and fans can keep up with the Irish four different ways this season.
1. Live audio broadcasts of selected Notre Dame games will be available throughout the year. Due to facility limitations, the next live audio broadcast will be Notre Dame’s doubleheader at Cal Poly (Sunday, March 12) and the rematch with CS Fullerton at the Judi Garman Classic on Wednesday, Feb. 15 (subscription to Fighting Irish All-Access required, see www.und.com and click on `multimedia’ for more information). If the Irish are scheduled to play on the main field at the Judi Garman Classic during bracket play, those games also will be available for live audio subscribers.
For this weekend’s tournament, Nebraska will offer live audio coverage of its matchup with the Irish on Friday, March 3. Visit www.huskers.com for access to the free live audio stream.
2. The Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574-631-3000) will be updated as soon as possible after each game this season. After dialing in, press 4 for baseball/softball information, then press 2 for the latest update for the Irish softball team.
3. Once the Irish return home to Ivy Field in March, each contest will be available via live audio coverage in addition to Gametracker updates.
4. Irish ALERT (see preceeding note), a text message service that provides up-to-the-minute game scores.
Second weekend recap –
Notre Dame bounced back from a 2-3 start to the year with a 3-1 record during the adidas Golden Panther Invitational in Miami, Fla. Bracket play on Sunday, Feb. 26, was rained out and Notre Dame was declared the tournament winner (the Irish were the only team with just one loss through the first two days). Notre Dame defeated Buffalo 1-0, Florida International 5-0 and Memphis 4-1 before dropping a rematch with FIU 5-4 on Saturday evening.
Senior Heather Booth was named the tournament MVP after going 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA in three apperances. The Irish righthander struck out 22 batters in 15 innings pitched over the weekend. She was joined on the all-tournament team by junior Stephanie Brown and senior Sara Schoonaert.
Booth makes the BIG EAST honor roll –
Senior Heather Booth became the second Irish player to earn a spot on the BIG EAST honor roll this week. Booth picked up her first shutout victory of the season against FIU (game one), shutting down the Golden Panthers in a five-inning, rain-shortened 5-0 victory. Over the tournament, Booth was 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA, allowing just a single earned run (vs. Memphis) and striking out 22 batters in 15.0 innings pitched.
The BIG EAST Conference introduced the weekly honor roll system this season. The league still announces player of the week and pitcher of the week awardwinners, but also honors outstanding efforts by additional players in the conference.
ND history vs. weekend opponents –
Notre Dame has faced all of its scheduled opponents this weekend at least once in the program’s history.
The Irish renew their rivalry with Nebraska on Friday at 3:00 p.m. The Notre Dame – Husker series has been even since Deanna Gumpf, a 1992 Nebraska graduate, became head coach of the Fighting Irish in 2002.
Since 2002, Notre Dame and Nebraska have met six times – with the teams splitting all six games. The Irish knocked off #4 Nebraska 3-2 on April 23, 2002, spoiling the Huskers official dedication of Bowlin Stadium. Nebraska achieved a measure of revenge by eliminating Notre Dame from the NCAA regionals that season with a 5-3 victory. Since that 2002 season, the Irish and Huskers have traded wins back and forth, with Notre Dame claiming a 2-0 victory in the most recent matchup on March 12, 2004, at #18 Nebraska.
Notre Dame has faced Tulsa four times previously, with the most recent meeting coming in 1998 at the Hawaii Classic. The Irish are 3-1 all-time against the Golden Hurricanes.
Notre Dame has faced Northern Iowa previously, but Saturday’s matchup will mark the first game between the two teams since 1994. After dropping the first meeting to #9 Northern Iowa in 1989, the Irish swept two games from UNI in 1994.
Notre Dame will take on Kansas for the eighth time on Saturday and the Irish lead the all-time series 5-2. The most recent meeting was a doubleheader sweep by the Irish (4-1, 6-4 in 10 innings) during the 1999 Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson, Ariz.
Notre Dame and Stephen F. Austin will be meeting for the second time – and both games will occur in the state of Oklahoma. The Irish defeated SFA 11-2 at the 1997 Sooner Classic in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Preview of this weekend’s opponents –
Nebraska – NU enters this weekend’s action with a 6-1 record … the Huskers are currently ranked 17th in the NFCA Top 25 and the USA Softball rankings … senior OF Lizzy Aumua leads the team in hitting, posting an outstanding .704 batting average (19 for 27) … freshman Crystal Carwile has provided the power thus far for the team, hitting five home runs and driving in 11 runs … freshman Molly Hill has been the most efficient pitcher thus far this season, going 4-0 with a 1.11 ERA … Ashley DeBuhr is the strikeout artist for the team, however, as she is 2-1 with a 2.58 ERA and has struck out 40 batters in 21.2 innings pitched (13.2 per seven innings).
Tulsa – the Golden Hurricanes are 6-2 in 2006 and 2-0 at home … INF Kelli McGlasson leads the team with a .500 batting average (13 for 26) … senior RHP Maren Genow has paced the pitching staff with a 1.64 ERA, 3-0 record and 22 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.
Northern Iowa – UNI is 3-5-1 in 2006 and 2-4-1 on neutral fields … sophomore 3B Stephanie Aguero is leading the team in hitting with a .360 average … in the pitching circle, Uju Ibekwe (2-1, 2.13 ERA) has been the most effective while Monica Wright (1-3. 290 ERA, 31.1 IP) has seen the most action.
Kansas – The Jayhawks will enter the tournament with a 5-9 record in 2006 … Destiny Frankenstein paces the team’s offense with a .405 average, six home runs and 12 RBI … Kassie Humphreys has seen most of the pitching action, posting a 3-5 record iwht a 2.68 ER and 48 Ks in 47.0 IP.
Stephen F. Austin – The LadyJacks are 4-4 in 2006 and 4-1 on neutral fields … several SFA players have seen time in the lineup this season, but Heather Hebert leads all full-time players with a .368 batting average … Kari Hugie (3.00 ERA, 1-1) has seen a majority of the pitching time for the LadyJacks.
Notre Dame in early-season tournaments –
Notre Dame began what is now the collegiate softball tradition of early-season tournament action in 1990 when it took part in a Chicago, Ill., tournament. Since that trip, Notre Dame has visited 31 different areas of the country and participated in several elite tournaments. Notre Dame’s all-time record in early-season tournament action is 176-123 (.589) and its most frequent sites visited have been South Florida (seven times), Columbus, Ga. (six times), and CS Fullerton (four times). This season, Notre Dame will visit Las Vegas, Nev. (for the third time), Miami, Fla., Tulsa, Okla., and CS Fullerton.
New BIG EAST Conference unveiled in 2006 –
The BIG EAST Conference expansion, which officially took place this fall, has garnered most of its attention in men’s basketball. The conference has quickly transformed into the top men’s basketball league in the country, but the effect that expansion will have on softball cannot be overlooked. The BIG EAST welcomes three traditional softball powers into the conference this season with the addition of DePaul, Louisville and South Florida. All three of the new teams will compete to end Notre Dame’s regular-season conference title streak which stands at 10 years entering the `06 campaign.
Combined with an already solid conference lineup, the BIG EAST is now arguably the top softball league east of the Mississippi River. With a new league alignment, the BIG EAST Championship – scheduled to be played in South Bend, Ind., beginning May 11 – will feature a new schedule. The top eight teams from the league standings will take part in a single-elimination, three-day tournament to determine the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Championship.
Irish captains –
Notre Dame will feature four captains this season for just the second time in the program’s history. The senior class of Heather Booth, Mallorie Lenn, Meagan Ruthrauff and Sara Schoonaert will provide leadership both on and off the field for the team in 2006. The only other team to feature four captains was Notre Dame’s most successful team ever – the 2001 squad. Current Irish assistant coach Lizzy Lemire shared the captaincy that season with Melanie Alkire, Danielle Klayman and Jennifer Sharron. The Irish finished 54-7 in `01 and earned a number-one seed in the NCAA Championship.
Booth to continue climb up Notre Dame career charts –
Senior co-captain Heather Booth, a front-line starter for the Irish since she walked on campus four years ago, will continue her climb up the Irish career pitching charts this season. The single-season record holder for complete games (30 in `04), Booth’s current all-time statistical ranking include fourth in appearances (123), third in starts (101), fourth in wins (71), fourth in complete games (64), fourth in shutouts (22), third in innings pitched (673.0), fifth in winning percentage (.718, 69-75), fifth in ERA (1.63) and fourth in strikeouts (626).
See page seven of this notes package for a complete listing of Notre Dame’s current players on several different all-time statistical rankings.
Season schedule will be a challenge –
The 2006 season will prove a challenge for the Irish, as the team will face several teams ranked in the top 25, or just out of the national rankings.
According to the latest rankings, the Irish will face (NFCA rankings first, followed by USA Softball) #17/17 Nebraska, #21/22 DePaul #16/16 Northwestern, #12/13 Arizona State and #22/21 Louisville. Notre Dame has already faced #14/12 Oregon State (5-0 loss) and BYU (8-3 victory), who has been in and out of the national polls this season week. In addition, Notre Dame will face CS Fullerton, Florida State, UNLV and South Flordia – all teams who have received at least one vote in the preseason national rankings.
Notre Dame knocked off four ranked teams durng the 2005 season. The Irish defeated #21 South Florida and #19 Florida on their first weekend of action (Feb. 12-13), then knocked off #5/6 Tennessee in its last game at the Palm Springs Classic. Notre Dame also defeated #15 Northwestern with a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh on Tuesday, April 26, 2005.
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 Irish have defeated a total of 13 ranked teams during Gumpf’s tenure. The most ranked wins for the Irish came in 2001, when the team defeated eight teams ranked in the national top 25.
New coaching staff, new Gumpf Family addition –
Notre Dame will unveil its new coaching staff in a unique way this season. Lizzy Lemire, a 2001 Notre Dame graduate, has joined the staff and Kris Ganeff (Notre Dame `99) moves up into the first assistant role. The change came about with the decision of former Irish assistant coach Charmelle Green to take a job in Notre Dame’s Student-Athlete Development Program.
The unusual twist to the story is that Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf missed Lemire’s official debut with the team. Gumpf and her husband John welcomed their second child, Tatum Elizabeth, on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Deanna will not make the first three weekend trips of the season with the team. She will rejoin the team full time on the road for its Spring Break trip to Southern California.
While Gumpf is away from the team on the road, Ganeff will coach third base and Lemire will man the first base coaching box. To aid in the pitching staff’s development during Gumpf’s pregnancy, former Irish assistant coach and 1993 Penn State graduate Dawn Austin returned to the team as a volunteer assistant coach this season.
Ruthrauff matches career walks record –
Senior 1B Meagan Ruthrauff, Notre Dame’s cleanup hitter the last three seasons, is not only a potent RBI producer (122 in three years, ninth on the all-time Notre Dame list), but she also has outstanding plate discipline.
Ruthrauff has drawn 87 walks during her career, matching Andrea Loman’s (2000-03) Notre Dame career record.
Ruthrauff has already drawn seven free passes this season and ranks one-two on the single-season walk list at Notre Dame. In 2004, she drew a record 36 base on balls and followed up with 31 walks in 2005.