Sophomore Brittney Bargar was one of two Irish players named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll this week

Softball Ready To Begin Judi Garman Classic

March 14, 2006

The University of Notre Dame softball team (9-7) will enter the 2006 Judi Garman Classic on Wednesday, March 15, when the Irish face the host team, CS Fullerton, at 7 p.m. (PT).

The Titans bested the Irish 9-3 back on Feb. 19 at the UNLV Desert Classic.

Judi Garman Classic details –

The Judi Garman Classic, named after the former CS Fullerton Hall of Fame coach and formerly known as the Kia Klassic, has long been considered among the few elite early-season softball tournaments in the nation. This season’s field is no exception, as the group features former NCAA Champions Oklahoma, Fresno State and Arizona, along with 2005 National Champion Michigan. Of the 16 teams competing in the four-day tournament, 10 are ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams (according to the most recent USA Softball release, NFCA rankings unavailable at the time of this release).

Here is a look at the full field of teams competing in the 2006 Judi Garman Classic –

Pool A – Utah, #15 Oklahoma, #23 Fresno State and #7 Alabama
Pool B – #11 La.-Lafayette, #14 Washington, #4 Texas and #9 Michigan
Pool C – Florida State, Notre Dame, #10 Arizona State and CS Fullerton
Pool D – #1 Arizona, UNLV, CS Northridge and #18 Texas A&M

The teams will play each of the schools in its respective pool once, then enter bracket play to determine the eventual tournament champion. After pool play, Notre Dame could face any of the above listed teams at any time Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

The tournament begins for Notre Dame on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (PT) against CS Fullerton at the main field (live audio game coverage will be available for this contest). The Irish will return on Thursday at 4 p.m. (PT) to face #10 Arizona State on field two (Gametracker coverage will be available for this contest). Pool play will end for the Irish on Friday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) with a 1:30 p.m. (PT) matchup with Florida State (Gametracker will be available once again for this contest).

Should the Irish return to the main field during bracket play, those games will be available via live audio coverage on (click on the multimedia link for more details).

Cal Poly doubleheader recap –

It was not the best doubleheader sweep the Irish have posted in the program’s history, but after stumbling to a 2-3 finish at the Best Western Airport Festival in Tulsa, Okla., the previous weekend, Notre Dame rebounded to sweep Cal Poly in a doubleheader – taking game one 3-1 and game two 1-0.

Pitching was the story for the Irish on Sunday, as senior Heather Booth and freshman Brittney Bargar deserved much of the credit for the two game victories. Booth scattered five hits, allowed one earned run and struck out eight in a complete-game victory in the first contest. Bargar was equally effective in game two, allowing six hits, pitching around three walks and striking out eight.

The Irish were given their only run in game two on back-to-back errors by Cal Poly. In game one, however, Notre Dame waited until its final out to post a three-run rally to earn the victory.

Down to the last out and with a runner on first base, freshman Alexandra Kotcheff slapped a ball into the left side hole. The ball was fielded cleanly, but the throw was wide of first base and made its way to the fence, allowing Kotcheff to advance to third base and pinch runner Carissa Jaquish to find her way to third base.

Junior Stephanie Brown made sure that Cal Poly would pay for its mistake, drilling a two-run single into centerfield. Both runners easily scored on the play and Brown ended up at second base on the throw home. Senior Sara Schoonaert then made sure the Irish would tack on an insurance run with an RBI single to rightfield.

Preview of Notre Dame opponents this week –

CS Fullerton – The Titans are 14-12 in 2006, 5-3 at home and boast a 9-3 victory over Notre Dame on March 19, the final day of the UNLV Desert Classic … the Titans took advantage of Notre Dame’s rough pitching start to the season and touched the Irish for three big multi-run home runs … Ashley Van Boxmeer was responsible for two of the big hits, crushing a three-run home run in the first inning and two-run home run in the third … Jenna Wheeler then put the nail in Notre Dame’s coffin with a three-run shot in the fifth inning … the Irish were able to touch the Titan pitching for two home runs in the contest – solo shots by Linda Kohan and Meagan Ruthrauff … Kiki Munoz is leading CSUF in hitting this season with a .355 average … Van Boxmeer leads the team with six home runs and 22 RBI … in the circle, the Irish faced Candice Baker back in March (2.81 ERA, 9-4 in 2006), but Marissa Marzan boasts the team’s best pitching stats (1.59 ERA, 4-3) … series history vs. CSUF – 2-4.

Arizona State – Notre Dame will face one of the hottest teams in the country when it takes on the Sun Devils Thursday afternoon (4 p.m. PT) … ASU has continually moved up the national rankings this season and currently sits at #10 in the latest edition of the USA Softball top 25 (NFCA ranking unavailable at the time of this release) … ASU is 26-1 in 2006 and has not lost a game since a 2-1 setback to Virginia Tech on March 4 … ASU boasts wins over Auburn, North Carolina, Iowa, and CS Northridge this season … the team’s strength lies in both its pitching and hitting, as ASU has a team batting average of .314 (31 home runs in 28 games) and ERA of 1.04 (243 strikeouts in 182.0 IP) … Kaitlin Cochran leads the team with a robust .513 batting average and 41 RBI (six home runs) … in the pitching circle, both Desiree Serrano (0.94 ERA, 10-1, 99 Ks) and Katie Burkhart (1.38 ERA, 11-0, 125 Ks) have been solid … series history vs. ASU – 1-7, the most recent meeting occurred last season in a 2-1 loss to ASU at the Palm Springs Classic … Notre Dame’s lone win in the series was a 5-1 victory over ASU at the 2001 Kia Klassic.

Florida State – The Fighting Irish will take the field on St. Patrick’s Day to face Florida State at 1:30 p.m. (PT) on Friday … the Seminoles are 19-9 in 2006 and have already played 23 games on their home field (17-6 record) … FSU brings a five-game winning streak in the Judi Garman Classic and has won 10 of its last 12 games … the Seminoles are led on offense by Natasha Jacob, who is hitting .314 with two home runs, nine RBI and 10 stolen bases … in the pitching circle, Tiffany McDonald has seen a large majority of the innings with a 2.09 ERA, 12-5 record and 114 Ks in 110.2 innings pitched … series history vs. FSU – 1-3, the most recent meeting a 10-inning battle in 2004 at FSU that the fourth-ranked Seminoles won 4-3 … Notre Dame’s win in the series came in 1996 (1-0 at #9 Florida State).

Notre Dame on St. Patrick’s Day –

Notre Dame is riding a five-game winning streak on St. Patrick’s Day … the Fighting Irish have not lost on March 17 since a 1-0, nine-inning setback to Bowling Green in 1992 … Notre Dame has not played on St. Patrick’s Day since the 2001 season, when the Irish won two games at the Kia Klassic (now known as the Judi Garman Classic) … the Irish are 6-3 all-time on St. Patrick’s Day.

Here is a complete history of Notre Dame’s performances on St. Patrick’s Day –

1990 – vs. Akron – L, 0-5, W, 1-0
1992 – vs. Bowling Green – L, 0-3, L 0-1 (9)
1995 – vs. DePaul, W, 3-0, vs. Long Beach State, W, 6-5
2000 – vs. Texas, W, 4-2 (Kia Klassic)
2001 – vs. Hawaii, W, 5-1 (Kia Klassic), vs. #10 Arizona State, W, 5-1 (Kia Klassic)

Coach Gumpf 2-0 in the Irish dugout this season –

Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf returned to the third base coaching position against Cal Poly on Sunday … Gumpf had not traveled with the team yet in 2006 after preparing for, and recovering from, the birth of her second child, Tatum Elizabeth, on Feb. 22 … the Irish were .500 in Gumpf’s absence (7-7) and earned the team’s first doubleheader sweep of the year on Sunday at Cal Poly.

Notre Dame in the Judi Garman (Kia) Classic –

Notre Dame has taken part in the Judi Garman Classic (formerly known as the Kia Klassic) four times previous to its upcoming 2006 appearance … the Irish fared well in their first two experiences at CS Fullerton, going 4-2 in 2000 and 4-2 in 2001 … Notre Dame finished 1-4 in 2002 and 1-3 in 2003 … the Irish are 10-11 all-time in the Judi Garman Classic and have knocked off #7 Fresno State (2001), #10 Arizona State (2001), #16 La.-Lafayette (2000) and #6 Oklahoma (2000) during its tournament runs (see last week’s PDF release for a complete history of Notre Dame’s history in the Kia Klassic).