March 18, 2004
Notre Dame vs. Eastern Michigan, Saturday, March 20, 1 p.m. (DH)
Notre Dame at Western Michigan, Sunday, March 21, 1 p.m. (DH) Fran Ebert Field * Kalamazoo, Mich.
Notre Dame at Valparaiso, Monday, March 22, 4 p.m. University Softball Field * Valparaiso, Ind.
Irish Quick Facts:
* Notre Dame begins the regional portion of its schedule this weekend, taking a break from its travels across the country to face three area teams.
* Notre Dame’s 17-9 (.653) record during the travel-heavy first two months of the season is the fourth-best in school history behind the 2001 (18-3, .857), 2000 (18-6, .750) and 1995 (12-6, .667) seasons.
* The Irish have played the most games (26) in the program’s history heading into the regional part of its schedule.
Irish return to the Midwest:
After five weekends and almost two months of travel across the country, Notre Dame begins the midwest regional portion of its schedule this weekend – and opens up Ivy Field for the first time in 2004. The Irish have visited Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Calif., Columbus, Ga., Boca Raton, Fla., and Tallahassee, Fla., so far this season and have played the most games in school history (26) before appearing in the midwest.
Gametracker will be available for all Notre Dame home games:
Irish fans can follow all the action from Ivy Field this season via www.und.com’s Gametracker. Gametracker can be accessed by the www.und.com mainpage, scroll down the right side to the appropriate softball contest and click on the Gametracker link.
Gametracker provides play-by-play updates of each game, real-time boxscores and more.
Notre Dame ended up 5-2 at the Florida State Invitational, dropping games to #11/12 Michigan 3-0 and Texas A&M 2-1. The Irish defeated Troy State, Georgia State, Maryland, Penn State and Florida A&M during tournament action. The Irish also battled #4/5 Florida State on Thursday, March 11, taking the Seminoles to 10 innings before falling 4-3.
Notre Dame’s game vs. Loyola (Chicago) on Thursday, March 25 has been moved back one hour. The game will start at 5 p.m. EST.
Here is a look at Notre Dame’s opponents this weekend:
Eastern Michigan: The Eagles are 8-8 this season and coming off a doubleheader split with IUPUI. Nikki Denman has led the offense so far in 2004 with a .388 batting average (19-49) with six doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI. Michelle Lloyd (3-1, 1.99 ERA) and Aimee Woodrum (1-3, 3.07 ERA) have seen the most action in the pitching circle. The Irish and Eagles will be meeting for the third time, and the first since 2000. Notre Dame leads the series 2-1.
Western Michigan: The Broncos and Irish meet for the second straight season on Sunday. The 18th and 19th meetings in the series, Notre Dame has the advantage with 13 wins against four losses. The Irish swept a doubleheader in Kalamazoo, Mich., last season with 8-5 and 8-0 victories.
The Broncos are 10-11 in 2004 and are fresh off a doubleheader split at the IU Classic last weekend. Jaymie Voss is hitting .322 this season with two doubles and five RBI. Katie Niemi is also an offensive key for the Broncos with a .280 average and four RBI.
The pitching staff has two options with Laura Stewart seeing the most action (92.0 IP) while posting a 7-5 record and 2.28 ERA. Tricia Vanderslik is 3-3 with a 3.85 ERA.
Valparaiso: Notre Dame and Valparaiso lock up for the fourth straight season on Monday, but the game will mark the first trip to Valpo for the Irish since 1992. One of the most prolific non-conference opponents for Notre Dame, the Irish and Crusaders have met 24 times. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 22-2 and has won the last 21 straight.
Valpo is 3-5 so far in 2004, led by Karen Constien on offense (.407, 2 HR, 6 RBI) and Ashlee Blankenbaker in the pitching circle (0.61 ERA, 1-1, 14.2 IP).
Booth takes her game to another level:
Sophomore Heather Booth is following up her BIG EAST rookie of the year performance in 2003 with an even more impressive campaign in 2004. The staff ace for the Irish, Booth currently boasts a 1.38 ERA, 9-3 record and 102 strikeouts in 9.1 innings pitched. The Riverside, Calif., native is already threatening her 158 strikeout season-best total from last season.
Booth won 21 games in 2003 and has earned nine wins so far in ’04. She has been at her best against top competition, earning wins over Nebraska (twice), CS Fullerton (eight-innings, 11 strikeouts), Florida State (four runs allowed over 9.2 innings) and has put up at least four strikeouts in every appearance this season. Her 14 complete games already surpasses the 13 she had during her rookie season and her next shutout will be her fourth – once again surpassing the three from 2003.
In the month of March, Booth has posted a 4-2 record, five complete games, two shutouts, 49 Ks in 44.1 IP and a 1.11 ERA.
Irish offense is both hot and cold:
While the Irish have put up an impressive 17 wins in its first 26 games (six of the losses coming to teams ranked at game time or currently ranked) the Notre Dame offense is still searching for its true identity.
Junior Megan Ciolli has delivered consistently (.395 average, 11 steals) and sophomore Meagan Ruthrauff has found her stride as the Irish RBI producer (.348, four HR, 21 RBI) – but that might be where the consistency ends in the Irish line up.
Each of Notre Dame’s hitters have posted an impressive string of performances lately, but a close look at the last 12 games portrays a team going in two directions. Ciolli and Ruthrauff lead the way with .368 and .355 averages over the last 12 games, respectively. Freshman Stephanie Brown has been hot lately as well, hitting at a .341 clip over the last 12 games. Her classmate, Carissa Jaquish, struggled over the first month of the year but found her groove during the FSU Invitational and has hit .310 over the last 12 games.
The production then begins to fall off at that point. Sophomore catcher Mallorie Lenn is hitting .181 this season and .265 in March (last 12 games). Junior Liz Hartmann, who still can provide a timely RBI when needed, is at .229 on the season and .222 in March.
Lenn and Hartmann have flashed the ability to be consistent threats at the plate and are looking forward to Notre Dame’s schedule settling down a bit (the Irish have been on the road for five consecutive weekends) to provide an opportunity to work on their swings.
Wisen lost in the boxscore?:
One of Notre Dame’s signature pitching performances was delivered during the FSU Invitational last weekend, but the stat line might have been lost in the game’s boxscore. Notre Dame defeated Georgia State 3-2 on March 13, getting a sacrifice fly from Liz Hartmann in the eighth inning to secure the victory. The hero of the game, however, was junior pitcher Carrie Wisen.
With starting pitcher Steffany Stenglein struggling with the strike zone (six walks in 2.1 IP), Wisen entered the game and completely shut down Georgia State’s offense. Picking up her third win of the season, Wisen threw 5.2 innings of relief, striking out nine of 18 batters she faced an not allowing a single hit. Georgia State was able to just get three balls out of the infield against Wisen that afternoon.
Notre Dame matchup with #19/19 Nebraska on April 12 to be shown nationally on CSTV:
The University of Notre Dame will travel to Lincoln, Neb., to face the Cornhuskers for the third time this season – and College Sports Television (CSTV) will televise the game live across the country. The contest on Monday, April 12, will be part of CSTV Softball, which will show eight regular-season games this season, in addition to the Big Ten and Conference USA post season tournaments.
In addition to its softball telecasts, College Sports TV will cover the sport extensively within its CSTV Primetime and CSTV Scoreboard live studio shows originating from the CSTV Fieldhouse in New York. Daily coverage of women’s softball will also be found on CSTV.com.
CSTV, the first 24-hour college sports network, is available to more than 15 million homes nationally on cable and satellite. The network is available on Time Warner, Adelphia and Insight cable systems, among others, and is also available on DirecTV (channel 610). For information on CSTV availability in particular markets, consumers can log on to www.cstv.com or call their cable or satellite operator.
Homers in the clutch:
The Deanna Gumpf era at Notre Dame has provided some of the most memorable clutch home runs in Irish history. Over the past three seasons, Notre Dame has claimed an upset victory on the road (vs. #4 Nebraska, 2002), an amazing comeback victory on the road (vs. La.-Lafayette, 2003), a BIG EAST Championship (vs. Villanova, 2003) and two first-weekend come-from-behind victories (at the UNLV Classic this season) via dramatic home runs.
Liz Hartmann has played a role in three of the memorable moments. In 2002, her three-run blast in the top of the seventh pushed Notre Dame to a 3-2 victory over #4 Nebraska at the Cornhuskers’ dedication of their new field in Lincoln. Last season, Hartmann tied the school record for home runs in a single game with two shots vs. La.-Lafayette. Her first against the Lady Cajuns tied up the game in the seventh inning (after Notre Dame had rallied from a 5-1 deficit) and then ended the game in the ninth inning on a three-run round tripper.
The 2003 BIG EAST Championship was claimed on a walk off home run by ’03 graduate Andrea Loman, who smashed a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth.
During the UNLV Classic four weeks ago, Notre Dame utilized four clutch home runs to secure two victories. Sophomore Kellie Middleton launched a two-run shot to complete Notre Dame’s rally from a 7-4 deficit to defeat Hawaii 8-7. The next day, freshman Stephanie Brown completed another Irish rally with a two-run shot in the top of the seventh vs. #8/8 Nebraska – followed by another two-run shot by Hartmann to claim the winning margin. Hartmann had previously cut the Cornhusker lead down to 4-2 with a two-run homer in the fifth.
Notre Dame will face a loaded early season schedule:
In what has developed into a yearly tradition for the Fighting Irish softball team, Notre Dame hit the road for the first five weekends of the season to face several of the top teams in the nation. According to the latest national polls, over the first five weekends of the season Notre Dame faced nine ranked teams (ESPN.com/USA Softball ranking first, followed by USA Today/NFCA):
* #2/3 California (L, 1-2) – now ranked #3/3
* #6/6 Georgia, (L, 1-7) – now ranked #6/7
* #11/12 Michigan (L, 0-3) – now ranked #12/12
* #8/8 Nebraska (W, 6-4), now ranked #19/19
* #14/14 Nebraska (W, 1-0), now ranked #19/19
* #8/8 Stanford (L, 2-4), now ranked #9/11
*#24/24 CS Fullerton (W, 5-4), now unranked
* #4/6 Florida State (L, 3-4 – 10 innings), now ranked #3/4
* NR Pacific (L, 1-12), now ranked #13/13
* NR Georgia Tech (W, 2-1), now ranked #21/25
The Irish also will take on DePaul and Northwestern later this season, as both teams have earned votes in the top 25 this season. In addition, Texas A&M, Florida Atlantic and Hawaii have all received votes for the national polls this season.
While a tough schedule might affect Notre Dame’s early season record, it has paid huge dividends over the last two years when the Irish return to the Midwest for conference and regional play. The 2002 season saw Notre Dame open up 8-12 while facing eight ranked teams in the first two months of the season. Notre Dame responded by winning 34 of its next 37 games and the BIG EAST Championship entering the NCAA regional. The 2003 season followed a similar pattern, as Notre Dame found itself facing six ranked teams and holding a 10-10 record on March 14. The Irish bounced back with a 20-game win streak and 26 win in its last 30 games entering the NCAA regional.
Head coach Deanna Gumpf:
The 2004 season marks Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf’s third at the helm of the Irish softball program. Her 82 wins over the first two seasons are the most in school history (Liz Miller had 77 while Brian Boulac posted 61) and she has guided the team to set school records for home runs, RBI and fielding percentage over the last two seasons.
Gumpf’s record at Notre Dame stands at 99-43 (.697) entering this weekend’s action and her teams have captured back-to-back BIG EAST titles and NCAA regional appearances.
The 2004 season will feature Gumpf’s distinctive stamp on the program. The graduation of four starters in the infield gives the opportunity for the Irish starting lineup to feature five players from Gumpf’s first two recruiting classes at Notre Dame.
Megan Ciolli named to USA Softball Player of the Year watch list:
The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and USA Softball have announced their initial watch list for the third-annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award and Notre Dame junior Megan Ciolli (Terre Haute, Ind.) was one of the 40 players to make the list.
Ciolli will embrace a new role as team leader for the Irish this season, which begins next weekend (Feb. 13) at the UNLV Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. The Irish have radically shifted from a senior laden team to one of the youngest squads in the Midwest.
A starter since she arrived on campus three years ago, Ciolli boasts a .350 career average – hitting either first or second in the Irish line up. A three-tool player able to bunt, slap and hit for power, the junior boasts 131 hits in her career, eight home runs and 48 RBI. She also has stolen 23 bases in her career and her .350 career average puts her in the top five all-time at Notre Dame.
So far in 2004, Ciolli has paced the Irish offense with a team-high 32 hits (.395 average), 11 stolen bases (in 12 attempts) and has contributed three outfield assists.
Notre Dame picked to win its third-straight BIG EAST title:
Notre Dame has been picked to finish first in the BIG EAST Conference for the 2004 season, as voted on by the league coaches and released by the conference office. The Irish garnered seven of 11 first place votes and 95 total points in the poll, followed by Villanova (83 points) and Boston College (74).
Notre Dame won a share of the BIG EAST regular-season crown for the seventh-straight season last year, finishing the conference schedule with a 14-3 record. Led by conference player of the year Andrea Loman, Notre Dame swept through the BIG EAST Championship, scoring 21 runs in three games and earning the title on a walk off home run by Loman in the ninth inning against Villanova.
2004 BIG EAST Preseason Softball Coaches Poll
1. Notre Dame, 95 points
2. Villanova, 83 points
3. Boston College, 74 points
4. Seton Hall, 70 points
5. St. John’s, 55 points
Virginia Tech, 55 points
7. Syracuse, 50 points
8. Connecticut, 49 points
9. Rutgers, 43 points
10. Pittsburgh, 20 points
11. Providence, 12 points
Keeping up with the Irish on the road:
A complete recap, plus game boxscore, will be posted on www.und.com as soon as possible upon completion of Notre Dame’s scheduled games for the day (although during preseason tournament action, the schedule might allow for game-by-game updates). The Notre Dame softball hotline will also be updated as soon as possible after each game, that line can be reached by calling (574) 631-3000, press 4, then 2.
BIG EAST Championship switched to Syracuse, N.Y. for 2004:
The 2004 BIG EAST Championship will be hosted by Syracuse University this season. During the previous two seasons, the BIG EAST Championship was held in Roanoke, Va., but a schedule change in the Division II National Championship (hosted by the city of Roanoke) dictated a return to campus sites for the BIG EAST Championship. The conference title will be on the line during play beginning Thursday, May 13 and continues until Saturday, May 15, with a raindate on Sunday, May 16.
2004 Notre Dame Softball Bio Updates –
#1 Steffany Stenglein * 5-10 * Junior * P *R/R *Huntington Beach, CA (Marina)
2004 – Tossed second complete game in three outings vs. North Carolina (2-0 Irish victory), allowing three hits, two walks and striking out six … posted a complete-game victory vs. Georgia Tech in the NFCA Leadoff Classic Silver Bracket Championship game, giving up just five hits, one run and striking out eight … held the U.S. Olympic Team to one run on four hits over three innings of work in Notre Dame’s 10-0 exhibition loss to Team USA … earned first victory of the season vs. UNLV with a complete-game performance, striking out 10 and giving up one run and five hits … the 10 strikeouts marked the third 10-strikeout performance of her career and first since she sat down 10 vs. Seton Hall in 2002 … surrendered just four hits and two runs in her season opening appearance vs. #2/3 California (a 2-1 Irish loss).
#4 Carrie Wisen *5-7 * Junior * P/DP * R/R * Fullerton, CA (Sonora)
2004 – Posted her most impressive outing of the season in relief against Georgia State, throwing 5.2 innings without a hit, striking out nine of the 18 batters she faced … entered the Massachusetts game in relief, throwing three innings with two hits allowed and five strikeouts … threw two scoreless innings vs. Princeton (10-1 Irish win) … earned first victory of the season with 2.2 innings of relief vs. #8/9 Nebraska at the UNLV Classic (a 6-4 Irish victory) … started at DP vs. #24/24 CS Fullerton.
#5 Kenya Fuemmeler * 5-7 * Freshman *P/UT * R/R * Salisbury, MO (Salisbury)
2004 – Scored her first career run in first appearance with the Irish vs. Hawaii … made first career pitching appearance vs. Pacific (12-1 Irish loss), working 0.2 innings with three hits and two runs.
#8 Liz Hartmann * 5-9 *Junior *3B * R/R *Novato, CA (San Marin)
2004 – two for three with three RBI, including a two-RBI single vs. Maryland … shook off the effects of a flu virus vs. North Carolina, going two for three with the lone RBI of the game (2-0 Irish victory) … one for four with two RBI vs. Princeton … hit her third home run of the UNLV Classic vs. Portland State (a 4-1 Irish victory ) … tied her own school record (shared by eight other players) by blasting two home runs to propel Notre Dame to a 6-4 come-from-behind victory vs. #8/9 Nebraska at the UNLV Classic … hit a two-run home run to cut the Husker lead to 4-2, then hit another two-run homer in the top of the seventh to provide the game-winning runs … with the two homers against Nebraska, she becomes the second player in Notre Dame softball history to hit two home runs in three different games (Jarrah Myers) … her home run vs. Nebraska in the UNLV Classic is the second game-winning home run she has hit against Nebraska in her caeer – Hartmann hit a three-run homer in the top of the seventh at #4 Nebraska in 2002 to push the Irish to a 3-2 upset victory … ended up three for four with two home runs, a double and two runs scored vs. Nebraska in the UNLV Classic … three for four with an RBI double in the season opener vs. Hawaii.
#9 Nicole deFau * 5-3 * Senior * OF * R/R *Southington, CT (Southington)
2004 – Has moved up to second in the line up to take advantage of her bunting skills … played a crucial role in Notre Dame’s victory over Georgia Tech in the NFCA Leadoff Classic Silver Bracket Championship game, throwing out the tieing run at the plate from leftfield in the bottom of the sixth inning (2-1 Irish victory) … three for three with a double, two singles and a run vs. Princeton … made a great catch in rightfield vs. #8/8 Stanford, bringing back a ball that looked destined for a grand slam home run … one for three with an RBI single vs. #2/3 California (2-1 Irish loss) … logged first triple of the season for ND in the first game of the year vs. Hawaii – driving in Nicole Wicks with the tieing run (4-4) in Notre Dame’s eventual 8-7 victory.
#11 Gessica Hufnagle *5-6 *Freshman *C * R/R * Middlebury, IN (Northridge)
2004 – Made first career appearance at catcher in Notre Dame’s 10-1 victory over Princeton … scored her first career run after pinch running for Liz Hartmann vs. #8/8 Stanford, scoring on a throwing error by the Cardinal (4-2 Irish loss).
#16 Mallorie Lenn * 5-8 * Sophomore * C *R/R * Garden Grove, CA (Pacifica)
2004 – Notched a two RBI single vs. Florida A&M (8-0 Irish victory) … two for three (two singles) vs. Georgia State … posted first multiple hit game of the season vs. Florida Atlantic, going two for three with an RBI double (2-0 Irish victory) … broke out of an 0-24 slump vs. UMass with a single up the miuddle … one for three with an RBI single vs. Utah (4-3 Irish victory) … one for four with a double vs. #8/9 Nebraska in the UNLV Classic … one for two with an RBI vs. UNLV.
#20 Nicole Wicks *5-5 *Junior * OF/IF *R/R *Renton, WA (Hazen)
2004 – Transfer from the University of Washington … has stepped in as the starting rightfield position due to the loss of Kellie Middleton (injured) …. tied up the NFCA Leadoff Classic Silver Bracket Championship game with a solo home run in the third inning – her second homer of the tournament … two for two vs. #14/14 Nebraska at the NFCA Leadoff Classic … two for three with two runs scored vs. Princeton … first hit in an Irish uniform was a solo home run vs. #24/24 CS Fullerton (5-4 Irish victory) … ended up one for two with two runs scored vs. the Titans.
#21 Megan Ciolli *5-5 * Junior *OF *L/R * Terre Haute, IN (North Vigo)
* USA Softball National Player of the Year Watch List (40 players)
2004 – Has moved to third in the Irish lineup to take advantage of her RBI potential (batted first for Notre Dame in 2002 and 2003) … one for two with a two-RBI double and stolen base vs. Florida A&M (8-0 Irish victory) … put up her second four hit game of the season vs. Maryland, going four for four (four singles) with three runs scored … one for four with two runs scored and a stolen base vs. Georgia State … three for five with an RBI at #4/5 Florida State … one for three with an RBI single (and eventually scored) vs. UMass (4-2 Irish loss) … three for four with three runs scored and an RBI vs. Princeton … two for three with a run scored vs. NW State … two for three with a run scored vs. Utah … four for four with a home run and three singles vs. Portland State, posting the second four-hit game of her career (Valparaiso 2002) … hit first home run of the season in the first inning vs. Portland State … three for three with two steals vs. #2/3 California (a 2-1 Irish loss).
#22 Sara Schoonaert * 5-3 * Sophomore * SS * R/R * Houston, TX (Clear Lake)
2004 – Contributed an RBI single for an important insurance run in Notre Dame’s 2-0 victory over Florida Atlantic … scored the lone run of the game on a two-base error vs. #14/14 Nebraska at the NFCA Leadoff Classic … scored the game-winning run in the top of the eighth on a passed ball vs. #24/24 CS Fullerton … posted both ND hits and a stolen base vs. the U.S. Olympic Team and was perfect on six defensive chances vs. Team USA in a 10-0 exhibition loss … two for two vs. #8/8 Stanford … three for three with a run scored vs. #8/9 Nebraska in the UNLV Classic … two for three in the season opener vs. Hawaii.
#24 Stephanie Brown *5-6 * Freshman *2B * L/R * Chandler, AZ (Corona Del Sol)
* 2004 NFCA Leadoff Classic All-Tournament Team
2004 – Keyed Notre Dame’s five-inning victory over Florida A&M with a two for three, two runs scored performance at the top of the lineup … two for four with two runs scored vs. Maryland (6-2 Irish victory) … three for four with a home run and scored all three runs in Notre Dame’s 3-1 victory vs. Troy State … the three hits vs. Troy State represents her first career three-hit game … two for five with an RBI and run scored at #4/5 Florida State … earned a spot on the NFCA Leadoff Classic all-tournament team … hit .368 in the tournament with two home runs, two RBI and five runs scored … two for three vs. #14/14 Nebraska at the NFCA Leadoff Classic … two for four with two runs and an RBI vs. #24/24 CS Fullerton … hit third home run of the season with a solo shot vs. the Titans … broke up a perfect game and no hitter vs. #6/6 Georgia, hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning (7-1 Irish loss) … hit her first career home run vs. #8/9 Nebraska in the UNLV Classic, tying the game up in the top of the seventh with a two-run shot down the leftfield line (Notre Dame evenutally won the game 6-4) … carded first career hit and RBI in her first game with the Irish vs. Hawaii.
#27 Carissa Jaquish *5-6 *Freshman * C *R/R * Highland, CA (Redlands East Valley)
2004 – Two for two with two singles and two runs scored vs. Florida A&M (8-0 Irish victory) … was perfect at the plate and posted her first career three-hit performance (3-3) vs. Troy State … had a double and two singles in the game … platoons at catcher with starter Mallorie Lenn … has started 13 of 14 games this season at either catcher or DP … one for three in Notre Dame’s 2-1 victory over Georgia Tech in the NFCA Leadoff Classic Silver Bracket Championship game … logged first career hit in a one for two performance vs. #8/9 Nebraska at the UNLV Classic.
#32 Heather Booth * 5-10 * Sophomore *P * R/R * Riverside, CA (Martin Luther King)
* BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week (03-01-04)
* Florida State Invitational All-Tournament Team
2004 – Won her third game in the Florida State Invitational tournament over Penn State, collecting her third shutout of the season with a complete-game, two-hit performance (six strikeouts) … scattered three hits and struck out six vs. Maryland to pick up her eighth win of the season … matched her career-best with 12 strikeouts while allowing three hits vs. Troy State … turned in another great outing against top competition, holding #4/5 Florida State to four runs in 9.2 innings, matching her career-best for strikeouts with 12 (a 4-3 Irish loss) … just missed her first career perfect game vs. Florida Atlantic, going the distance against the Owls – allowing just one hit and striking out seven for her second shutout in the last three appearances … named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week on March 1 for her performance over the course of the NFCA Leadoff Classic … for the tournament, she pitched 22.0 innings, scattering 17 hits with 23 strikeouts and allowed just two earned runs for a 0.64 ERA … completely shut down #14/14 Nebraska at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, earning a complete-game shut out with four hits, two walks and five strikeouts (1-0 Irish victory) … posted one of her most impressive career outings vs. #24/24 CS Fullerton, pitching all eight innings in Notre Dame’s 5-4 victory … allowed seven hits, four runs (one earned) and struck out a career-best 11 vs. the Titans … scattered six hits, struck out seven and did not allow a run after the first inning in ND’s 2-1 victory over NW State … pitched a complete-game five-hitter vs. Portland State in the UNLV Classic, striking out nine.
#44 Kellie Middleton * 5-6 * Sophomore *OF *R/R * Norcross, GA (Marist)
2004 – Starting rightfielder is sidelined indefinitely with an injury … hitting .391 with three doubles and four RBI in eight games before suffering the injury … posted two hits with two stolen bases and an RBI vs. UNLV … capped a five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh of the season opener vs. Hawaii, crushing a two-run home run for her first round-tripper of the season and push the Irish to an 8-7 come-from-behind victory.
#77 Meagan Ruthrauff * 5-10 * Sophomore * 1B *R/R *La Mirada, CA (La Serna)
* BIG EAST Player of the Week (03-01-04)
* Florida State Invitational All-Tournament Team
2004 – scored the lone run of the game vs. Penn State (1-0 Irish victory) on a double steal play in the bottom of the fourth … drew two walks in three plate appearances vs. the Nittany Lions … launched a three-run homer to key a one for two afternoon vs. Maryland …drew two walks vs. the Terrapins … ended up two for three with and RBI and run scored vs. Georgia State … two for three with two RBI singles vs. Troy State (3-1 Irish victory) … named BIG EAST Player of the Week on March 1 in honor of her performance at the NFCA Leadoff Classic … finished the NFCA Leadoff Classic with seven hits (.368 average), three home runs (two game winners), nine RBI and three runs scored … blasted the game-winnning home run in the NFCA Leadoff Classic Silver Bracket Championship game vs. Georgia Tech … was two for three vs. the Yellow Jackets … two for three with five RBI vs. Princeton … smashed a three-run home run vs. the Tigers … posted an RBI single to put Notre Dame in front 4-3 during an eventual 5-4 eight-inning victory over #24/24 CS Fullerton … ended up two for four vs. the Titans … crushed first home run of the season in the first inning vs. NW State, providing the winning margin in ND’s 2-1 victory … two for three with a walk vs. #8/8 Stanford (4-2 Irish loss) … two for three with two RBI vs. Portland State.