Senior Heather Booth picked up her fifth victory of the year against Florida State, striking out 11 and holding the Seminoles to just three hits.

Softball Set For Doubleheader Against Eastern Michigan

April 5, 2005

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Notre Dame (19-8) vs. Eastern Michigan (6-10)


Tuesday, April 5, 2005 (4 p.m.)

TV Coverage: Tuesday’s doubleheader will be recorded by Comcast Local to be replayed over the next week on three different cable outlets. Dan Gutowsky will handle the play-by-play duties while former Irish volunteer assistant coach and current Notre Dame baseball volunteer assistant coach John Gumpf will provide color commentary.

The two game replays can be viewed on the following cable systems:

Comcast Cable (South Bend, Ind. area, Channel 3) –
April 6, 2005, 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Comcast SportsNet Chicago –
April 8, 2005, 2 p.m. (CT)
Comcast Local Michigan –
April 7, 2005 – 7 p.m.
April 9, 2005 – 5 p.m.

Live Audio coverage unavailable vs. Eastern Michigan: Due to television coverage, Live Audio of Notre Dame’s doubleheader vs. Eastern Michigan will not be available. apologizes for the schedule change. Gametracker, which features up-to-the-minute game updates, will be available. Live Audio coverage will return for Notre Dame’s single game vs. Ball State on Thursday, April 7, at 5 p.m.

Irish take season-high eight-game win streak into Tuesday doubleheader: The University of Notre Dame softball team (19-8) will be back to action just 24 hours after completing a doubleheader sweep at Villanova on Monday afternoon by hosting another doubleheader against Eastern Michigan (6-10) at Ivy Field on Tuesday afternoon.

The Irish are riding a season-high eight-game win streak and have won 14 out of the last 15 games on the schedule. Notre Dame also has shutout its last three opponents, out-scoring Valparaiso, Loyola-Chicago and Villanova 31-0 in five victories.

Notre Dame quick hits: What you need to know about the Irish for Wednesday’s doubleheader:

• Notre Dame won its previous meeting this season against Eastern Michigan on a three-run home run in the top of the seventh by senior Liz Hartmann.

• Notre Dame is on an eight-game win streak, the longest since 3-14 through 3-28 last season and matches that streak for the fourth-longest of the Deanna Gumpf era at Notre Dame (see note that follows).

• Notre Dame began the BIG EAST Conference season 2-0 for the fifth consecutive season on Monday, defeating Villanova 4-0 and 2-0.

Series history vs. Eastern Michigan and team analysis: Notre Dame and Eastern Michigan will be meeting for the seventh and eighth time on Tuesday … the Irish lead the all-time series 5-1, including a 4-1 victory at the Buckeye Invitational on March 20, 2005 (see following note for game recap) … EMU is 6-10 this season and 3-4 in the Mid-American Conference … the Eagles are led on offense by Lauren Clark (.348, 3 HR, 12 RBI) and Liz Flack (.326, 2 HR, 4 RBI) … the pitching staff features four arms that have seen at least 14 IP, led by Aimee Woodrum (3-4, 2.08 ERA, 35 Ks in 43.2 IP) … Notre Dame is 3-0 against EMU at Ivy Field, including a doubleheader seep last season (2-0 game one, 9-0 (six innings) game two).

Notre Dame vs. Eastern Michigan game recap: The Irish and Eagles have met earlier this season at the Buckeye Invitational (March 20, 2005) … Notre Dame posted a come-from-behind victory via a three-run home run by senior Liz Hartmann in the top of the seventh inning … Hartmann finished the game three for four with two doubles, a home run and three RBI … Megan Ciolli was two for two in the game with two stolen bases and an RBI single … EMU scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning on a single, error and wild pitch … Irish starting pitcher Heather Booth quickly settled down, as she did not allow a hit the rest of the contest … Booth struck out five in seven innings of work, allowing two hits and walking two … for EMU, Nikki Denman scattered eight hits over seven innings, allowing four runs (three earned), walking four and struck out one.

Booth bags second BIG EAST weekly award in 2005: Junior righthander Heather Booth earned her second BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week award on Monday, April 5, after an impressive 2-0 week. Booth combined with teammate Carrie Wisen to toss a perfect game in a five-inning victory over Valparaiso on March 30 – striking out five of the six batters she faced in the game.

She then pitched a great game at Loyola Chicago, ending up one out away from her first career solo no-hitter. She eventually struck out three and forced 15 ground ball outs vs. the Ramblers in a complete-game one-hit shutout.

Booth also opened BIG EAST play with an impressive performance, allowing three hits and striking out five in a 2-0 victory at Villanova.

The weekly award is the fourth of Booth’s career and she was the BIG EAST Rookie of the year in 2003 and a first-team all-conference pick in 2003 and 2004.

Rain, rain go away!: Notre Dame’s doubleheader at Rutgers on Saturday, April 2, was rained out – a frequent occurrence for the Irish this season. Notre Dame has lost at least nine games to inclement weather this season. A make up date for the Rutgers doubleheader has not yet been announced.

Last week at home until late April: Notre Dame will take on Eastern Michigan in a doubleheader on Tuesday, then play host to Ball State in a single game on Thursday. The matchup with the Cardinals will be the last at Ivy Field until April 21 when Akron visits for a doubleheader.

Notre Dame will begin an 11-game road trip this weekend with a doubleheader at Pittsburgh Saturday, followed by trips to Purdue (April 12), UIC (April 14), Providence (April 16), Connecticut (April 17) and DePaul (April 19).

That road trip will be a key portion of the season for the Irish, who will then return to Ivy Field for 12 consecutive home games to end the regular season.

Eight-game run ties 2004 streak for fourth-longest of the Gumpf era: Notre Dame has won its last eight contests (and 14 of its last 15 games), matching an eight-game run in 2004 for the fourth-longest of the Deanna Gumpf era. Even more impressive, the Irish have shutout their last five opponents – a feat the team has not accomplished since the historic 2001 season.

Gumpf took over the program in 2002 and posted winning streaks of 14 and 13 games that season, winning 27 of 28 games in the months of March and April. The 2003 team won 20 straight games from April 1 – April 26.

Here is a look at Notre Dame’s current winning streak:

vs. Oakland (at Buckeye Invitational), W, 8-0
vs. Eastern Michigan (at Buckeye Invitational), W, 4-1
vs. Western Michigan, W, 2-1
vs. Valparaiso, W, 5-0
vs. Valparaiso, W, 10-0
vs. Loyola Chicago, W, 10-0
at Villanova, W, 4-0
at Villanova, W, 2-0

Irish have dominated the month of April under Gumpf: Since Deanna Gumpf took over the Irish softball program in 2002 – the team has been close to unbeatable in the month of April. Entering Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Irish are 66-8 (.892) in April over the last four years.

Here is a breakdown of Notre Dame’s record during April since 2002.

2002: 24-1
2003: 21-2
2004: 19-5
2005: 2-0

Streaking: In addition to the team’s win streak, three Irish hitters bring impressive hit streaks into this week’s competition. Senior Megan Ciolli is riding a team season-high 12-game hit streak, dating back to Notre Dame’s trip to Hawaii. Freshman Katie Laing (six games) and sophomore Stephanie Brown (five games) are also looking to extend their hitting streaks this week.

Snapshot of the Irish: Notre Dame has endeavored to find its 2005 identity this season, but might have found a successful formula over Spring Break. After struggling through the four weeks of the season with silent bats, the Irish offense exploded during Hawaii’s Spring Fling for 45 hits and 25 runs. The offensive production was, hopefully, a sign of good things to come for the team as they return to the Midwest for regional and BIG EAST Conference action.

Senior team captain Megan Ciolli (.393, 33 H, 6 2B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 13 SB) has led from the front since the team took the field this season. Junior Meagan Ruthrauff (.320, 6 2B, 14 RBI) and senior Liz Hartmann (.293, 5 2B, 2 HR, 17 RBI) have shown signs of giving Ciolli dedicated support in the Irish lineup.

The pitching staff has been steady for the Irish since the team returned from spring break. Junior Heather Booth (11-4, 1.18 ERA) has turned in just one sub-par start (vs. Pacific) and has four shutouts and 11 complete games to her credit. Senior Steffany Stenglein (1.73 ERA, 107 K in 73.0 IP) has been untouchable early in games, but has fallen off after the sixth inning and has allowed seven home runs this season. In the end, opponents are hitting just .156 against Stenglein in 2005.

Notre Dame’s defense, unsure of itself early in the season, has benefitted from one positional move. Junior Sara Schoonaert has taken over at shortstop and performed well, while freshman Katie Laing has moved over to second base and been steady.

Laing (.362, 8 2B, 6 RBI) and sophomore Stephanie Brown (.321, 4 2B, 5 RBI) have started to give the Irish some production at the top of the lineup as well.

Stenglein posting eye-popping strikeout numbers: With 34 strikeouts in her last four starts, senior Steffany Stenglein is fast approaching the 600-strikeout barrier – after just reaching 500 strikeouts this season. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native has struck out 107 batters in 73 innings this season, a ratio of 10.3 Ks per 7.0 innings pitched. She has reached double-digit strikeouts five times this season and has posted at least nine in five of her last six starting appearances. She currently has 587 career strikeouts and is on pace to become the third Irish player to reach 600 Ks in her career.

Ciolli becomes first Notre Dame NPF draft selection: National Pro Fastpitch announced its 2005 Senior College Player Selections last week and current Irish senior Megan Ciolli was selected by the Chicago Bandits with the first selection of the second round (seventh overall).

Due to NCAA regulations, an active college player may not sign with her respective franchise until their 2005 college season is finished. Senior selections expire on July 15, 2005.

The NPF officially announced that it will enter the 2005 season with six teams – the Akron Racers, Arizona Heat, Chicago Bandits, New England Riptide, NY/NJ Juggernaut and the Texas Thunder. The California Sunbirds will remain part of the league but will suspend play in 2005 to restructure the franchise.

The Bandits will be competing in their first season in the NPF and have already signed Olympic Team standout Jennie Finch. The season will run through June 2 through August 28 and will consist of a 48-game regular season schedule for each team, an all-star game, playoffs and a Championship Series. NPF continues to be the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball and has recently developed a new alliance with ASA/USA Softball and the International Softball Federation (ISF). This alliance will help promote international play by inviting teams from China, China Taipei, Japan, Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia and Venezuela to play against NPF teams. A finalized schedule will be released in March.

Irish pitchers reach strikeout milestones in 2005: Senior Steffany Stenglein and junior Heather Booth have both reach strikeout milestones over the first half of the `05 season. Stenglein struck out 11 batters against Utah on Feb. 18, becoming the third Irish pitcher to record 500 strikeouts in a career.

Stenglein currently has 587, trailing Terri Kobata (907) and Jennifer Sharron (728) on the all-time list.

Booth posted her 400th career strikeout against #3/4 UCLA in a hard-fought 3-1 loss to the Bruins on Feb. 25. She currently has 454 Ks to her credit and is the fourth Irish pitcher to clear that objective – joining Stenglein, Sharron and Kobata.

Ruthrauff looking for 100 career RBI: After senior Liz Hartmann cleared the 100-RBI barrier at Hawaii’s Spring Fling two weeks ago, junior Meagan Ruthrauff is looking to join her teammate in the 100-RBI club at Notre Dame.

Hartmann became the eighth player to post 100 RBI in a career – and Ruthrauff will become the ninth some time this season. Ruthrauff currently has 95 RBI. She drove in 54 last season, becoming just the second Irish player to post over 50 RBI in a season.

16 hits at Loyola Chicago most in two years for ND: Notre Dame’s 16 team hits in a 10-0 victory at Loyola Chicago on Thursday, March 31, are the most for the team since the 2003 season. On April 23 vs. Valparaiso, the Irish pounded out 17 hits in a 15-1 victory. The school record for hits in a single game is 21 against Rhode Island in 1992.

Wicks’ first hit of the year a homer… again: Senior Nicole Wicks hit a two-run home run in the first inning of game two vs. Valparaiso on Wednesday, March 30 – the first hit of the season for the outfielder from Renton, Wa.

Wicks, who transferred to Notre Dame from Washington prior to the 2004 season, also hit a two-run home run for her first hit of the `04 season against CS Fullerton.

Notre Dame earns second tournament title of 2005 at Hawaii Spring Fling: Notre Dame’s 4-0 run through an abbreviated Spring Fling tournament at the University of Hawaii earned the team its second tournament title of the year. Combined with the GRU Classic (Feb. 10-13 – see note that follows) Notre Dame joins the `01 team as the only Irish team to claim two early-season tournament titles (the `01 squad won the Holiday Inn Invitational at South Florida and the Frost Tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn.).

Notre Dame claims first initial weekend tournament title since 2001: Notre Dame’s three consecutive victories in the GRU Classic (Feb. 10-13) in Gainesville, Fla., pushed the Irish through to the tournament title. The first weekend tournament victory marks the first for Notre Dame since the 2001 season, when the Irish swept through the Holiday Inn Invitational at South Florida with a 5-0 record.

Irish own three wins over ranked teams in 2005: Notre Dame is 14-8 this season and three of those 14 victories have come against ranked teams. The Irish defeated #21 South Florida and #19 Florida on their first weekend out (Feb. 12-13), then knocked off #5/6 Tennessee last weekend in Palm Springs.

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 most ranked wins for the Irish came in 2001, when the team defeated eight teams ranked in the national top 25.

First back-to-back ranked wins since 2001: Notre Dame’s victories over #21 South Florida (5-1) on Saturday, Feb. 12, and #19 Florida on Sunday, Feb. 13, marked the first time since the 2001 season the Irish have posted two consecutive wins over a ranked opponents.

During the 2001 season, the Irish swept a doubleheader from #10 DePaul on April 19. To find the last time the Irish defeated two consecutive different ranked teams, you will fall back to 2000, when Notre Dame defeated #16 La.-Lafayette and #6 Oklahoma on March 18 at the Kia Klassic.

Ciolli looks to continue her climb up the career charts: Along with classmate Liz Hartmann, 2004 third-team All-American and BIG EAST Player of the Year Megan Ciolli has been a three-year starter since stepping on campus in 2001-02. Batting at the top of the lineup for a majority of her career (second freshman season, first sophomore season, third junior season), Ciolli has established herself as one of the top offensive players to ever don an Irish uniform.

Her current career rankings include second in batting average (.370 entering Tuesday’s doubleheader), third in stolen bases, sixth in runs scored, fifth in hits, ninth in home runs and seventh in triples. She also is poised to break into the top 10 in games played and doubles this season and is on pace to break the hits and stolen base records this season. A complete list of current Notre Dame players threatening career records appear on page eight of this notes package.

Ciolli’s countdown for all-time records –

Hits: 245 (needs 23 to tie the all-time record)

Stolen Bases: 56 (needs four to tie the all-time record)

Ciolli on USA Softball Player of the Year watch list: The Amateur Softball Association (ASA), the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, has announced its initial watch list for the fourth-annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Senior centerfielder Megan Ciolli (Terre Haute, Ind.) was among the 40 players named to the list, which will eventually be pared down to proclaim the collegiate player of the year in 2005.

Considered the Heisman Trophy of collegiate softball, past winners of the award include UCLA’s Stacey Nuveman, Texas pitcher Cat Osterman and Florida State’s Jessica Van der Linden.

Ciolli appears on the initial watch list for the second consecutive season in 2005. The catalyst for the Irish offense in 2004, Ciolli hit a team-high .397 with 81 hits, 23 RBI and 20 stolen bases. The ’04 BIG EAST Player of the Year, Ciolli compiled an outstanding offensive season, finishing third on the all-time single season list for hits and second for stolen bases. Her .367 career batting average currently ranks second all-time at Notre Dame.

Named team captain by a vote of her teammates earlier this semester, Ciolli will continue her climb up the career offensive charts in 2005. She currently ranks fifth all-time in career hits (245 – and should become the all-time leader this season), ninth in home runs (12) and third in stolen bases (56).

A list of 25 candidates for the award will be released on April 5, with another list of 10 following on May 10. Three finalists will be announced on May 31 with the winner proclaimed at the 2005 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

South Bend plays host to the 2005 BIG EAST Championship: For the third time in the last four years, the BIG EAST Softball Championship will be held in a neutral/off-campus site in 2005.

After Salem, Va., served as the tournament’s site in 2002 and 2003, the City of South Bend, Ind., will welcome the 2005 BIG EAST Softball Championship to the Belleville Complex on the far west side of town.

The Belleville Complex is one of the best softball-only facilities in Indiana and served as host to over 3,000 fans when the U.S. Olympic Team played an exhibition doubleheader in July of 2005.

California girls: While three trips to the west coast gives the Irish an opportunity to face several of the top teams in the country this season, Notre Dame’s appearances in San Diego (Feb. 18-20), Palm Springs (Feb. 25-27) and the Los Angeles area (March 6-7) also will provide the seven California natives on the team will a chance to play in their home state.

Heather Booth (Riverside), Liz Hartmann (Novato), Carissa Jaquish (Highland), Mallorie Lenn (Garden Grove), Meagan Ruthrauff (La Mirada), Steffany Stenglein (Huntington Beach) and Carrie Wisen (Fullerton) are the seven California natives on the `05 Irish roster.

Incoming freshman class of 2006: University of Notre Dame head softball coach Deanna Gumpf has announced the signing of seven student-athletes to national letters of intent last week, landing one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.

Brittney Bargar (Corona, Calif.), Christine Farrell (La Habra, Calif.), Erin Glasco (Johnston City, Ill.), Linda Kohan (Westminster, Calif.), Alexandra Kotcheff (Beverly Hills, Calif.), Stephanie Mola (Naples, Fla.) and Beth Northway (Kentwood, Mich.) will make up the class of 2009.

“This is one of the best recruiting classes I have seen in my career and I feel it is the best in the country,” Gumpf says of the group.

“The quality and diversity of this class is second to none. The entire staff is excited to have this group of players join the Notre Dame family.”

The class hails from across the country with four California natives, plus players from Michigan, Illinois and Florida. The group also is made up of two pitchers (Bargar, Farrell), a catcher (Glasco), an infielder (Kohan), two outfielders (Kotcheff, Mola) and an infielder/outfielder (Northway) – giving the class excellent balance at all positions.

BIG EAST loses one team before gaining three in 2006: With the shift of Virginia Tech to the ACC for the `05 season, the BIG EAST drops down to 10 teams this season before expanding to 13 teams next year when DePaul, South Florida and Louisville join the league (Marquette and Cincinnati to do not compete in softball).

With the addition of three traditional powers, the BIG EAST Conference will quickly become one of the best softball conferences east of the Mississippi.

Notre Dame will face two of the three new teams entering the league in 2006 this season. The Irish split two games with South Florida at the GRU Classic in Gainesville, Fla., and wil travel to DePaul for a doubleheader on April 19.

High school teammates: Sophomore Stephanie Brown and freshman Katie Laing are just the third combination of high school teammates to play for the Irish since the program began. Both Brown and Laing played for Corona del Sol in the Chandler, Ariz., area during their prep careers. Debbie Boulac and Stephanie Pinter, both from South Bend, Ind., and St. Joseph High School, played together from 1990-93. Jennifer Sharron and Jessica Sharron, the first second set of sisters to play for the Irish, were on the Notre Dame roster together in 2000 and 2001.

Sisters Debbie and Diane Boulac both played for the Irish, but were not on the same team together.

Schedule adjustment: There has been a shift in the Irish schedule. The previously scheduled home game vs. Illinois-Chicago on April 14 has been shifted to an away contest at UIC for 7 p.m. The road game at UIC on April 27 has been cancelled.