May 13, 2003
2003 NCAA Region VII
May 15-18 * Ann Arbor, Mich.
Thursday, May 15
Game One – Notre Dame vs. Missouri, 10 a.m.
Game Two – DePaul vs. Wright State, 12:30 a.m.
Game Three – Michigan vs. Western Michigan, 3 p.m.
Game Four – California vs. Oakland, 5:30 p.m.
Game Five – Loser game one vs. Loser game two, 8 p.m.
Live statistics coverage:
The University of Michigan will provide live statistics for all of the Region VII tournament games this weekend. You can find the link to the live stats at www.mgoblue.com.
Notre Dame making its eighth NCAA regional appearance:
The 2003 BIG EAST Champions, the University of Notre Dame, will be making its eighth appearance in the NCAA Women’s Softball Championship this weekend. The Irish earned the number-four seed in Region VII (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and will face fifth-seeded Missouri (31-18) in the first game of the regional on Thursday, May 15, at 10 a.m.
Ann Arbor has been a familiar destination for the Irish softball team over the years. This season will mark fifth time Notre Dame has appeared in an NCAA regional hosted by the University of Michigan. In fact, all of Notre Dame’s eight appearances in the NCAA Championship have been hosted by Big Ten Conference members (Indiana, ’94, Michigan, ’95, ’96, ’99, ’00, ’03, Iowa, ’01, ’02). The Irish are still looking for their first regional title and a trip to the Women’s College World Series.
Irish NCAA tournament quick facts:
Highest seed – No. 1, Iowa City, 2001 … lowest seed – No. 5, Ann Arbor, 1999 … all-time record – 10-14 (.416) … Notre Dame has advanced to play on Sunday in the last two seasons, losing to Iowa (’01) and Nebraska (’02) … Notre Dame has faced Michigan three times in NCAA regional play, going 1-2 against the Wolverines … the class of ’03 (Andria Bledsoe, Andrea Loman, Alexis Madrid, Lisa Mattison, Jessica Sharron) are the second class to appear in four NCAA regionals during their career at Notre Dame … the Irish defeated Iowa and eliminated Oregon State in the NCAA Region VII tournament at Iowa City last season.
Notre Dame vs. Missouri series history and game analysis:
The Irish and Tigers will be meeting for the sixth time on Thursday … Missouri leads the all-time series 5-0 … the last two meetings occurred in 2000, when the Tigers defeated Notre Dame 5-4 and 4-3 at the Morning News Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. … Missouri is 31-18 this season and finished the challenging Big 12 schedule with a 12-7 record … Rachel McGinnis and Morgan LeCluyse lead the Tiger offense … McGinnis is hitting .379 this season with 10 HR and 35 RBI … LeCluyse is hitting .337 with 18 RBI … in the circle, Erin Kalka has seen the most time, going 19-12 in 202.2 innings with a 2.21 ERA and 199 Ks.
Notre Dame vs. the Region VII tournament field:
DePaul: 14-23-1 (5-8 away, 5-9-1 home, 4-6 neutral)
California: 0-2 (0-2 neutral)
Michigan: 4-5 (0-2 away, 2-0 home, 2-3 neutral)
Oakland: 1-0 (1-0 home)
Wright State: 4-0 (4-0 away)
Notre Dame in national statistical rankings:
With the regular season complete, it is time to take a look at where Notre Dame has settled in the NCAA statistical rankings (as of May 4). The Irish are among the best in the country defensively, boasting a .976 team fielding percentage with is tied for third in the nation. Notre Dame is also ranked 14th as a team in hitting (.301) and 15th in team scoring (5.25 runs per game).
Individually, senior Andrea Loman is 48th in the nation in batting average (.397).
Quick season recap:
Notre Dame enters this weekend’s tournament with a 36-15 overall record, highlighted by a 20-game win streak from April 1 – April 26. That 20-game streak is the second-longest in school history, behind the 33-game run the 2001 team put together on their way to a 54-7 overall record. Connecticut broke the streak on April 26.
Notre Dame’s early-season story was filled with injury, illness and inclement weather. The Irish lost eight games during the season to rain or snow, depriving the team of some important developmental opportunities. The team also was forced to battle through the Kia Klassic as a case of strep throat ravaged most of the team, effecting many of the players and forcing three starters out of the contests against Nebraska and DePaul.
Most recently, Notre Dame swept through the BIG EAST Championship, winning all three games over a three-day stretch. The Irish blew out Seton Hall 9-0 in five innings in game one, then defeated Villanova 9-7 and 3-2 (9) for the conference title. The 2003 BIG EAST Championship marks the second time Notre Dame has won the league title back-to-back (1999 & 2000) and is the fourth overall BIG EAST Championship in the program’s history.
Loman proving herself as one of the best in the country:
Notre Dame’s performance this season 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 36-15 record with a .408 batting average and 40 RBI.
Loman became the fourth-straight Irish player to be named the BIG EAST Player of the Year in 2003, leading Notre Dame to a 14-3 record and the league championship. She validated her player of the year award with an outstanding effort at the BIG EAST Championship, hitting over .500 in the tournament with five RBI, a double and a solo walk-off home run to win the championship game over Villanova in nine innings.
She was the catalyst for the Irish winning streak in the month of April, going 34-75 at the plate (.453) with four home runs, five doubles and 20 RBI. She also was 8-10 stealing bases during April, posted a .523 on-base percentage and scored a team-high 23 runs.
Loman also has established three career records at Notre Dame, while chasing down numerous others. She is the all-time leader in runs scored with 162 (breaking Jenny Kriech’s mark of 158 from 1999-2002), broke Jarrah Myer’s career walks record earlier this season – Loman currently has 84 career base-on-balls and broke Katie Marten’s (1994-97) stolen base mark with her 59th theft during the BIG EAST Championship last weekend. Loman is 17-19 in stolen bases this season and has matched her career season mark of 17 thefts in 2000 (that mark ranks fourth on the single-season list at Notre Dame).
Loman second BIG EAST player to win back-to-back tournament outstanding player awards:
With her championship-winning walk-off solo home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth against Villanova, Andrea Loman cemented the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player Award for the second-straight season. She joins Bridget McCaffery from Connecticut (1995, 1996) as the only BIG EAST players to land the tournament’s top individual award in consecutive seasons. McCaffery, Janna Venice (UConn) and Loman are the only three players to win the award twice.
Booth steps up at the BIG EAST Championship:
Heather Booth has steadily developed into one of the top pitchers in the BIG EAST Conference this season, but her performance at the league championship last weekend established herself as one of the top hurlers in the country. Booth won all three games for the Irish in the tournament, pitching 17.1 innings, giving up 13 hits, three earned runs and striking out 14.
Her championship game performance was equally masterful, as she went all nine innings, scattering six hits, giving up two runs (one earned) and striking out seven.
Earlier last week, Booth was named the 2003 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year.
Bledsoe ending her Notre Dame career with a stellar season:
Andria Bledsoe has never been overlooked for the Irish, playing four seasons at two of the most demanding defensive positions (third base and short stop). Her defensive abilities have been recognized, but her senior offensive season has been outstanding.
The Higley, Ariz., native has hit the 30-plus RBI barrier for the third straight season, giving her 124 in her career. She has hit six home runs this season (one off her career-high from last season) and is currently hitting .348, which is over .34 points more than her career average.
By the time her season is finished, Bledsoe will be among the Irish career leaders in home runs, RBI, doubles and games played.
Madrid lands first-team Academic All-District honors:
Senior second base Alexis Madrid, who received the Byron Kanaley Award from the University this season, landed a spot on the 2002 Verizon Academic All-District V University Division Softball Team on May 8. Madrid, who also is the team’s Knute Rockne Scholar-Athlete Awardwinner, boasts a 3.591 GPA with an economics major. She is one of four infielders on the district ballot and, with her selection to the first team, moves to the national ballot for Academic All-American consideration.
Team features five capable base stealers:
The 2003 Irish squad has stolen 78 bases this season, which ties the team for third-all time behind the 2001 (78) and 1996 (112) seasons. The ’03 team does boast a unique accomplishment, however, as it is the first team to feature five players with 10 or more stolen bases (the ’01 and ’96 teams had four players over 10 steals).
Andrea Loman leads the way with 17 steals, followed by Kellie Middleton, Alexis Madrid, and Andria Bledsoe with 13. Megan Ciolli has stolen 10 bases this season.
’03 team boasts seven 20-plus RBI producers:
The 2003 Irish team might be trailing the 2002 (278) and 2000 (271) teams in terms of total RBI with 231, but this year’s team is the first Notre Dame group to have seven players reach the 20 RBI plateau. Led by Andrea Loman (40), Andria Bledsoe (32), Lisa Mattison (30), Meagan Ruthrauff (27), Liz Hartmann (26), Megan Ciolli (24) and Mallorie Lenn (23) have all drove in more than 20 runs.
That eclipses the school mark of six players who drove in 20 or more runs in 2001 and 2002.
Irish cart away numerous trophies at the BIG EAST awards banquet:
Notre Dame players landed two major awards and seven all-BIG EAST honors at the conference awards banquet on Thursday, May 8. Senior third base Andrea Loman became the fourth-straight Irish player to be named the BIG EAST Player of the Year, joining Jarrah Myers (’02), Lizzy Lemire (’01) and Melanie Alkire (’00, ’99). Loman ended up hitting .383 in conference play with 21 hits, two home runs and 15 RBI. She ranked among the league’s top five in stolen bases, hits, RBI and slugging percentage.
Freshman Heather Booth walked off the podium with the conference rookie of the year award. Booth finished up BIG EAST play with a 5-3 record and 1.65 ERA, pitching six complete games and earning three shut outs. She is the fifth Irish player (and fourth in the last five years) to earn the conference’s rookie of the year award.
Booth and Loman were both on the all-BIG EAST first team, along with Lisa Mattison (.383, 7 RBI), Megan Ciolli (.360, 13 RBI) and Meagan Ruthrauff (.327, nine RBI). Mallorie Lenn (.295, 3 HR, 7 RBI) and Andria Bledsoe (.364, 10 RBI) earned second team honors as well. Booth, Lenn and Ruthrauff also were named to the all-rookie team.
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 232 career games, Bledsoe 230 and Loman 229. Combined with any post season contests, all three Irish players should break into the top-five in game played this weekend (232).
Loman, a top player on the Irish team in all her years with Notre Dame, is threatening a number of career marks. She broke Jenny Kriech’s (1999-2002) mark for the runs scored record with 162. Loman and Bledsoe are both about to appear on the top five in all-time doubles, as Loman has 44 and Bledsoe 40. 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, 30
4. Sara Hayes (1992-95), 26
5. Meghan Murray (1994-97), 15
Liz Hartmann, 15
Andria Bledsoe, 14
Loman has already broken the career walks record with 84, eclipsing Jarrah Myers’s 76.
See page nine of this notes package for a complete breakdown of Notre Dame’s current players threatening career and single-season marks.
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 45 home runs as of May 1, led by sophomore Liz Hartmann and senior Andrea Loman with eight.
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 sixth of the season during the BIG EAST Championship last weekend. Ciolli matched last season’s total of four home runs with a three-run bomb against Connecticut on Sunday. Hartmann has already surpassed 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 ESPN.com 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).
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).
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)
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.
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.
Notre Dame wins eighth-straight BIG EAST regular-season crown:
Notre Dame has won a BIG EAST Conference regular-season title each season it has competed in the conference. The Irish joined the BIG EAST for softball in 1996 and won the south division title with a 19-1 record.
The division format continued for the next two seasons as well, with the Irish winning the south with a 16-4 record in 1997 and a 13-3 mark in 1998.
The divisions were joined in 1999, when Notre Dame finished 16-0 to take the league regular-season title. The Irish followed up with a 14-2 record in 2000, 20-0 record in 2001 and 18-2 record in 2002.
In 2003, Notre Dame finished 14-3 and actually shared the regular-season title with Boston College – due to the conference’s unusual point system (two for a win, one for a tie). The Eagles finished 14-5 in league play and lost head-to-head with Notre Dame 11-0 in five innings.
Notre Dame followed up their regular-season titles in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003 with a BIG EAST tournament championship.
Notre Dame NCAA records: Here is quick look at some Notre Dame records in the NCAA Championship:
Hits in a game:
16 vs. Illinois-Chicago 5-20-95
Most runs in a game:
8 vs. Illinois-Chicago 5-20-95
8 vs. Western Illinois 5-17-01
8 vs. DePaul 5-19-01
Most runs allowed:
15 vs. Michigan 5-21-95
Most hits allowed:
13 vs. Michigan 5-21-95
13 vs. Central Michigan 5-18-96
4 Andrea Keys vs. UIC 5-20-95
4 Mel. Alkire vs. W. Illi. 5-17-01
11 K. Schmidt vs. Illi. St. 5-18-01
7 Jen. Sharron vs. Iowa 5-19-01