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Softball Ready For The Challenge Of #7 DePaul On Tuesday

April 28, 2003

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Notre Dame at #7 DePaul, Doubleheader

Tuesday, April 29 * Wish Field

Notre Dame and DePaul meet in traditional late-season showdown:

The University of Notre Dame softball team (32-11) has one non-conference doubleheader left this season, but it is perhaps the biggest on the schedule this season. The Irish head to Chicago, Ill., on Tuesday to meet up with #7 DePaul (39-5-1) in what has become a traditional late-season match up to determine Great Lakes area bragging rights until the next meeting.

Notre Dame will enter the doubleheader on Tuesday with a number of different goals. The Irish are looking to back up their recent 20-game win streak (broken on Sunday at Connecticut) with a victory over a top-10 opponent. Notre Dame also is looking for a measure of revenge from their loss earlier in the season to the Blue Demons 11-2 in six innings. The team was suffering through a string of strep throat victims for the first meeting and played without the services of Megan Ciolli, Andrea Loman and Steffany Stenglein due to the illness. Loman, one of the best defensive third basemen in the country, was limited to a DP role in the game and was a big loss, considering DePaul is one of the best bunting and slap-hitting teams in the country.

Series history vs. DePaul and doubleheader preview:

The Blue Demons have been among the top 10 in the country for most of the season. Their excellent pitching staff boasts at 0.71 ERA and the team is hitting a solid .325. DePaul has two of the most dangerous hitters in collegiate softball at the top of their line up, as Sarah Martz (.483) and Liz Bouck (.418) are always on the base paths. Kathy Kukman (.370, 36 RBI) and Saskia Roberson (.342, 37 RBI, 11 HR) are the threats to drive in runs.

Lindsay Chouinard is the top pitcher on the staff and her numbers this season have been outstanding. She is 25-4 with a 0.43 ERA and 172 strike outs in 195.2 IP. Sarah Martz (14-1, 1.26) is equally adept in the pitching circle and the batter’s box.

Notre Dame and DePaul will be meeting for the 38th and 39th time on Tuesday, one of the longest-running series in Irish softball history. The Blue Demons hold a 22-14-1 advantage in the series and have been ranked the last five times the two teams have met. Notre Dame has won four of the last five meetings. The Irish also are 5-9-1 at Wish Field.

Andrea Loman carrying 14-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 23 hits in the last 14 games with 14 RBI, three home runs, four doubles and two triples (.851 slugging percentage). She also has stolen five bases during the streak.

The last 10 games:

A quick break down of some Irish player statistics over the last 10 games –

Megan Ciolli, .630 avg., 17 hits, two home runs, seven RBI, 1.000 slg.

Andrea Loman, .535 avg., 18 hits, six extra base hits

Lisa Mattison, .531 avg., 17 hit, three home runs, 15 RBI

Heather Booth, 1.03 ERA, 3-1, two shut outs, 12 hits, 30 Ks

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).

The Irish already have 21 wins this month and have two games remaining in April.

Notre Dame’s top April performances:

2001 – 23-0 (1.000)

2002 – 24-1 (.960)

2003 – 21-1 (.955)

1996 – 23-2 (.920)

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 21-1 record this month with a .444 batting average and 20 RBI. She also has stole eight bases, drawn eight 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 .402 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 224 career games, Bledsoe 222 and Loman 221. Notre Dame has six 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 second in runs scored (157) behind Jenny Kriech (1999-2002) with 158. She is creeping up the most hits list with 218, 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 38. In fifth-place is Lizzy Lemire with 43 and Melanie Alkire holds the all-time record with 49.

Loman, Bledsoe and 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 82, 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 April 28, led by senior Andrea Loman and sophomore Liz Hartmann with seven each.

Home run analysis:

Ten different Irish players hit home runs last season, 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 towin, 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.

2002 BIG EAST 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.

Road Warriors:

February isn’t the best time to play softball in Northern Indiana, so the Notre Dame softball team hits the road exclusively during the first two months of the season to take on some of the best teams in the nation. In just the last five years, Notre Dame has visited Arizona, Georgia, California, Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Nevada, Hawaii and Oklahoma in early-season tournament action. This year, the Irish have already visited Tampa, Fla., for the USF/Wilson Tournament and Columbus, Ga., for the NFCA Leadoff Classic, Lafayette, Louisiana for the Louisiana Classic and Fullerton, Calif., for the Kia Klassic.

Irish will not back down from the best in the country:

In what has become an annual tradition for the Notre Dame softball team, the Irish spent the first two month of the season crisscrossing the country and taking on the best teams in the nation.

Notre Dame began the year on Feb. 15, 16 and 17 at the USF/Wilson Tournament in Tampa, Fla., facing traditional power South Florida and several NCAA east regional teams, including Hofstra and Rhode Island. South Florida has recently debuted in the national top 25 at #24.

Earlier this season Notre Dame was at the challenging NFCA Leadoff Classic taking on defending national champion #4 California, Illinois State and #17 Alabama. The Irish also went to the west coast for the 2003 Kia Klassic in Fullerton, Calif. Notre Dame faced Fresno State, #4 Nebraska and #13 DePaul at the Kia this year.

Notre Dame’s regular-season schedule also features the Blue Demons on Tuesday.

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.