March 20, 2007
A Tough Weekend:
The Irish had a tough weekend against some of the toughest teams in collegiate softball at the annual Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. Notre Dame finished with a 1-4 record. The bright spot on the week was freshman Christine Lux, who picking up the first three hits of her collegiate career including her first RBI. Among her three hits two were doubles. Notre Dame started the week falling to No. 2/4 Arizona State 3-0. Sophomore Brittney Bargar pitched well for the Irish only allowing three runs (two earned) to one of the most potent offenses in collegiate softball. The next game for the Irish was against a red hot Fresno State club, Notre Dame used a steady offense led by senior Gessica Hufnagle’s two hits and two RBI’s to defeat Fresno State 4-2. The following game against No. 16 Louisiana-Lafayette was another battle in which Notre Dame came up on the short end, 4-2. Bargar pitched a great game setting a new career-high with 12 strikeouts against a team that had an overall team batting average of .290 with 36 home runs. The Irish took on another ranked team No. 8/8 Texas on the final day of the tournament (March 17). Once again the Irish hung with a tough opponent, but fell to the Longhorns 3-0. The Irish completed the tournament with a night game against Pacific (March 17). Notre Dame, playing its fourth game in a just over a day, were downed by the Tigers 8-0 in five innings. Sophomore Beth Northway and senior Carissa Jaquish picked up the two Irish hits in the loss.
A Few Early Trends:
o Notre Dame continues to fight to the last out and has won three games in bottom of the seventh/eighth inning.
o The Irish are 3-1 in one-run games this season.
o Notre Dame is 6-0 when it takes a lead into the fourth inning and 2-11 when it goes through the fourth inning trailing.
o The Irish are 6-1 when scoring in the first inning.
o The Irish have been outscored 13-5 in the third innings of games, but have outscored their opponents 10-4 in the seventh inning on.
o In neutral site games, Notre Dame has won seven of the ten games it has been designated as the home team on the scoreboard.
o The Irish are 0-9 when the teams scores two or less runs in a game.
o When Notre Dame makes one error in a game the team is 1-7, but when the team makes two errors it is 6-3.
o The Irish are 0-6 against ranked opponents this season
On Tap This Week:
Notre Dame returns home for the first home games of the season. The Irish, barring weather issues, will start the week taking on IUPUI on March 22 at 5 p.m. Notre Dame then starts the home conference season with a pair of weekend doubleheaders against St. John’s (March 24-noon) and Seton Hall (March 25-11 a.m.).
Either Way She’s Okay:
Senior Stephanie Brown is hitting .455 (5-for-11) against left -handed pitchers this season and is batting .436 (17-for-39) against righties.
That A Way To Lead Off:
Stephanie Brown has led off an inning 27 times this season and has reached base 15 of those times (.556).
A Clutch Performer:
All six of sophomore Erin Glasco’s RBI totals this season have come with two outs.
Moving Them Along:
Sophomore Beth Northway has advanced runners a team-best 18 times this season.
The Kohan Factor:
Second baseman Linda Kohan has really dictated the outcome of the Irish season. In Notre Dame wins, Kohan is hitting .400 (10-for-25) with all 11 of her RBI, while in Irish losses the sophomore is only hitting .133 (4-for-30).
Queens of the Valley:
Notre Dame’s win over Eastern Kentucky, March 11, was the teams second against the Ohio Valley Conference this season. Earlier in the season, the Irish defeated Tennessee Tech in the Tiger Invitational.
After the fifth week of action, senior Stephanie Brown leads the conference in on-base percentage (.533) and batting average (.440). She is also fourth in slugging percentage (.500) and is tied for fifth in runs scored (15)
Brittney Bargar leads the conference in complete games (10), is second in games started (13) and innings pitched (86) and is third in strikeouts (89). She is also tied for fourth in wins (6) and eighth in appearances (15).
Kenya Fuemmeler, Christine Farrell and Bargar are tied for sixth in the league with one save each.
After a slow start, the Jaguars (5-12) have hit their stride and won four of their last five games at the Rebel Games in Kissimmee, Fla. in games last week. Seniors Susan Jones and Sarah Needy lead the offensive attack for IUPUI. Jones has a team best batting average of .323, while Needy has 16 hits and 11 stolen bases. Sophomore Cayleigh Harvey is the team leader with seven RBI and five walks. Sophomore Breanna Howell has been the best starting pitcher with four wins, two complete games and two shutouts. The Jaguars are still looking for their first road win of the season. IUPUI was originally scheduled to open the home season this week against Purdue but weather has canceled that doubleheader.
Series vs. IUPUI:
The Irish and Jaguars have only met one previous time with IUPUI coming away with a 2-1 extra-inning victory in 1999.
Scouting St. John’s:
The Red Storm (3-15) haven’t had the chance to take the field in nearly a week as their weekend slate in the Hofstra Tournament was canceled due to weather issues. St. John’s will now host Monmouth on March 18 before arriving at Notre Dame to start the conference season. SJU are under new leadership this fall with Amy Kvilhaug taking over the program as the head coach. St. John’s has lost 10 of its last 11 games. Brandy Reyes leads the team in batting average (.310), hits (15), doubles (3) and is second in RBI (6). Senior Lauren Anguliano leads the team with two home runs and seven RBI. Kim Lerch has been the busiest pitcher with 58 innings thrown and 37 strikeouts.
Series vs. St. John’s:
Notre Dame will put its 22 consecutive game winning-streak over St. John’s on the line. The Irish have defeated the Red Storm in each of the last 12 meetings at Ivy Field. Last year, Notre Dame defeated St. John’s 4-0 on the road.
Scouting Seton Hall:
The Pirates (1-14) have also been on a long hiatus and have not taken the diamond since early March. Senior Daria Glynos leads the team with a .333 batting average. Junior Jenna Best has a team best eight hits and four RBI. Sophomore Kim Schweitzer has been the best pitcher on the team with six complete games and 45.2 innings thrown. Seton Hall has struggled a bit getting on track this season, with a total of 21 runs scored and a team ERA of 10.54. What inflated the ERA is the fact the Pirates have already played eight teams that are ranked or have been ranked at some point this season that totaled 109 runs in those 10 games.
Series vs. Seton Hall:
This will be the 35th time the Irish and Pirates will meet on the softball diamond. Notre Dame has won 24 of those games. The last meeting between these two BIG EAST rivals saw SHU edge out Notre Dame 4-3 last season.
Home Opening Day:
Since the start of the program in 1989, the Irish are 21-11 on the home opening day of the season. In those 32 games, Notre Dame has outscored its opponents 117-58. The home opening day of March 22 is the tied for the third earliest ever-opening date for Irish softball (behind 1992 and 2004). Three of the previous 32 home opening day games have also gone to extra innings (1996, 1992 and 1989).
The Places Notre Dame Softball Has Gone:
After five road trips, the Notre Dame softball team has already logged 10,612.5 miles on planes and buses this season to destinations.
The Long Beach Invitational:
The Irish split their two games in the Long Beach Invitational on March 11. Notre Dame started its day with a 10-2 victory over Eastern Kentucky. Stephanie Brown went three-for-five with two runs scored and two RBI. Beth Northway, Stephanie Mola and Sarah Smith all had two hit games against the Colonels. Kenya Fuemmeler had one of the better pitching performances of her career going the distance with one earned run allowed and eight strikeouts. In its second game of the tournament against No. 12 UCLA, Notre Dame lost 9-3. The Irish briefly held a 2-1 lead in the second inning, but just couldn’t overcome the ranked opponent. Mola had another hit and an RBI in the second game.
Junior outfielder Brittany Glynn, in her first chance to hit this season, drilled a run-scoring single against Eastern Kentucky, March 11.
A Few More Notables:
The 10 runs the Irish scored against Eastern Kentucky, March 11, was the first time the team has broken into double digits this season.
Stephanie Mola’s RBI against EKU was her first of the season.
Stephanie Brown’s triple against Eastern Kentucky was the first by an Irish player this year.
Notre Dame had a successful tournament in Jacksonville, Fla. despite battling the elements and changes in the schedule. The Irish showed early offense in scoring three run in the first inning in a 4-1 win over Virginia (3/2). Erin Glasco came up with the big hit as she hit a double off the top of the wall to drive-in the game-winning runs. The Irish continued the trend of early offense in the second game of the day, March 2, against host school Jacksonville. Notre Dame scored four runs in the first and three more runs in the second inning on their way to a 7-2 victory over the Dolphins. Senior Kenya Fuemmeler threw a no-hitter for the first four innings for the Irish. The next day, rain altered the schedule forcing Notre Dame into a single game against the Cavaliers. The Irish fell behind 3-0 before rallying for a six spot in the fifth inning. The big blow of the game would be Glasco’s game-winning three-run home run. Notre Dame would win by the final margin of 6-3. The final day of the tournament was a challenging one against No. 9 Michigan. The Irish hung with the Wolverines for most of the game, but just couldn’t get the offense going in taking a tough 1-0 defeat to Michigan and finishing the tournament a respectable 3-1.
SEC/ACC Not So Bad:
With two wins over Virginia in the Crispers/JU Invitational (March 2-4), Notre Dame improved its record to 4-1 against schools from the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast Conference’s this season.
Coming Through When It Counts:
Erin Glasco has proven her worth in clutch situations, as she has already tallied three game-winning RBI hits, of her seven hits this season.
Linda Kohan had a strong JU tournament, March 2-4, for Notre Dame. The sophomore went 5-for-12 (.417) with four RBI, two runs scored and four doubles.
Duo Honored By The BIG EAST:
For the second time this season, Notre Dame had a pair of players honored by the conference office on its weekly honor roll on March 6. Sophomore Brittney Bargar won two games in the Crispers/JU Invitational with an earned-run average of 0.75, while Linda Kohan tallied four doubles and four RBI and a .417 batting average in the four games.
The Palm Springs Tournament:
Notre Dame had a tough start to the Palm Springs Tournament, Feb. 23-25, taking on a pair of ranked opponents in the ultra competitive field. The Irish were competitive in both early games against No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 17 California but ultimately lost both games by the scores of 7-3 and 7-5, respectively. Notre Dame now on a four-game skid, rallied with two-outs in the seventh inning to tie their next game against UNLV on the two RBI single from sophomore Linda Kohan. Junior Katie Laing would make it a 4-3 Irish winner, as she punched a ball through the left side to drive in senior Carissa Jaquish in extra-innings. Despite a strong pitching performance from senior Kenya Fuemmeler, a complete game four-hitter, the Irish fell to Cal State Fullerton, 2-0, in their next game. Notre Dame would take its final game of the tournament, 3-1, over Ole Miss. Kohan would again provide the late-inning heroics with her two RBI single up the middle in the fifth.
Brown On The Right Track:
Senior Stephanie Brown had an outstanding tournament in Palm Springs, going 11-for-18 with five runs scored. Brown had multi-hit performances in four of the five games, while chipping in three stolen bases.
Gessica Hufnagle, who often splits time at catcher, showed off the wheels against Ole Miss (Feb. 25) as she stole a pair of bases in a game for the first time in her career.
Bargar Continues To Lead:
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Brittney Bargar picked up a pair of wins over the weekend, Feb. 23-25. Bargar won against UNLV and Ole Miss in Palm Springs Tournament.
A Recap of the Tiger Invitational:
Notre Dame opened its 2007 season at the Tiger Invitational hosted by Auburn from Feb. 16-18. Notre Dame started the tournament with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over host school Auburn. Sophomore Erin Glasco came through with a single down the right-field line to drive in freshman Ashley Ellis from third for the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Irish then fell to UAB 8-0 in a five inning run-shortened game. Another memorable Irish victory would follow, as once again Notre Dame came from behind in the bottom of the seventh inning. Freshman Heather Johnson would be that game’s hero with a two-run home run that propelled Notre Dame to a 6-5 victory over Tennessee Tech. Notre Dame softball would complete its weekend by dropping its final two games to Tulsa (4-2) and Virginia Tech (2-0). Johnson for her great play would be awarded a spot on the Tiger Invitational All-Tournament team after hitting .500 (8-for-16) in the five games.
Nice Start by the Rookie:
Heather Johnson made an immediate impact in her first week in the Irish lineup. Not only did the Los Alamitos, Calif. native start all five games at third base, she also had the most hits of any player in the Tiger Invitational Tournament, with eight, on her way to hitting .500 with a home run and four RBI. Johnson tallied multi-hit performances in three of the five games.
A Solid First Week:
Brittney Bargar also had a solid first week for Notre Dame in the circle. She won both of Notre Dame’s games while pitching three complete games. For week, Bargar was 2-1 with 24 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched. The sophomore also showed impeccable control with only two walks (one intentional) on the week.
A Pair Honored on BIG EAST Honor Roll:
Notre Dame had a pair of players on honored on the BIG EAST honor roll following the first two weekends of action around the conference in sophomore pitcher Brittney Bargar and freshman third baseman Heather Johnson.
Keeping up with the Irish:
Notre Dame’s softball family and friend can keep up with the Irish one of six ways this season. First, the Notre Dame hotline (1-574-631-3000) will be updated as soon as possible following each game. Two, a game recap will be posted on Notre Dame website (www.und.com) following each contest. Three, a text alert will be send out to those fans that wish to sign-up for the Irish text alerts on the Notre Dame website. Four, live audio broadcasts will be available for Irish home games. Fifth, Notre Dame will run GameTracker for selected road games (depending on the host institution) and all homes games at Ivy Field through its athletic website. And sixth, Notre Dame softball will have a weekly notes package that will be put out by Wednesdays of most weeks.
Overview of the Irish:
The Irish returns six position starters, three pitchers and 13 monogram winners from a season ago. Notre Dame has also added three newcomers to the mix in a quest for their ninth consecutive NCAA bid.
Sophomore Brittney Bargar, after a solid freshman season, will be counted upon heavily this season to lead the pitchers. Bargar won 15 games as a freshman, while averaging better than seven strikeouts per game. Also in the rotation this season is senior Kenya Fuemmeler (1-0, 1.64 ERA), who is making the transition from the bullpen. Sophomore Christine Farrell, after missing all of last season with injuries, is making her debut in the circle for the Irish this season. Farrell will take on the role of a later inning specialist.
The infield will be have senior Carissa Jaquish (.219, 61 H, 30 RBI) and freshman Christine Lux vying for playing time at first base. Linda Kohan (.275, 49 H, 29 RBI) will move over to second base after spending time at third and first as a freshman. All-BIG EAST second team selection Katie Laing (.294, 110 H, 57 RBI) moves from second to her natural position of shortstop. Newcomer Heather Johnson will be the opening day third baseman.
The lone returning starter in the outfield is centerfielder Stephanie Brown (.343, 210 H, 42 SB). Brown was a unanimous all-BIG EAST first team selection and a second team NFCA All-American selection as a junior. Five other players will be in consideration for playing time to each side of Brown. Juniors Brittany Glynn (.200, 14 R) and Sarah Smith (.250, 32 R, 6 SB), sophomores Stephanie Mola (15 H, 3 RBI) and Beth Northway (.667, 4 SB) are joined by freshman Ashley Ellis and will all be pushing each other this year.
Senior Gessica Hufnagle (31 R, 40 H, 30 RBI) and sophomore Erin Glasco (30 H, 6 2B, 14 RBI) will split time at both catcher and as the designated player.
Notre Dame in early season tournaments:
Notre Dame began what is now the collegiate softball tradition of early-season tournament action in 1990 when it took part in a Chicago, Ill., tournament. Since that trip, Notre Dame has visited 32 different areas of the country and participated in several elite tournaments. Notre Dame’s all-time record in early-season tournament action is 190-141 (.574) and its most frequent sites visited have been South Florida (seven times), Columbus, Ga. (six times) and Cal State Fullerton (five times). This season, Notre Dame will visit Auburn, Ala. (first time), Palm Springs, Calif. (third time), Jacksonville, Fla. (first time), Long Beach, Calif. (first time) and Cal State Fullerton once again.
Preseason Choice for Third in the BIG EAST:
The Irish were selected to finish third in the BIG EAST Conference for the 2007 season, in a vote by the leagues coaches. The Irish received a first-place vote and totaled 104 points to finish behind front-runner Louisville and South Florida. Notre Dame along with Louisville and USF were all selected for the 2006 NCAA Softball Championships.
Notre Dame will feature three captains this season for only the third time. The Irish captains will be seniors Stephanie Brown and Kenya Fuemmeler and junior Katie Laing. The only other Notre Dame teams to have a trio of captains are the 2003 squad (Alexis Madrid, Andria Bledsoe and Andrea Loman) and the 2002 team (Kas Hoag, Jenny Kriech and Jarrah Myers).
Season Schedule will be a Challenge:
The 2007 season will prove to be a challenge for the Irish, as the team will face several teams ranked in the top 25, or just out of the national rankings.
According to the preseason rankings, the Irish will face (NFCA rankings first, followed by USA Softball) No. 3/3 UCLA, No. 4/4 Northwestern, No. 5/5 Northwestern, No. 10/10 California, No. 11/13 Michigan, No. 16/16 Oklahoma, No. 19/17 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 20/21 Louisville, No. 21/20 Fresno State, No. 22/23 South Florida, No. 24/RV Auburn, In addition, Notre Dame will face Call State Fullerton, DePaul and Virginia Tech- all teams who received at least one vote in the preseason national rankings.
The Irish defeated two ranked teams during the 2006 season (No. 10 Arizona State and No. 18 Louisville) and have totaled 15 ranked team victories during Gumpf’s tenure.
Notre Dame will bring back its entire coaching staff from the 2006 season in head coach Deanna Gumpf, assistant coaches Kris Ganeff and Lizzy Lemire and volunteer assistant coach Dawn Austin.
Gumpf In Her Sixth Season:
Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf is in her sixth season at the helm of the Notre Dame softball program. The Irish coach is 228-102 in her coaching career and has taken the Irish to five consecutive NCAA postseason berths.
Gumpf won her 200th career game in Notre Dame’s 14-4 victory over Pittsburgh on April 9 of the 2006 season.
At the start of the season, Gumpf career’s record of 219-90 (.708) was a single percentage better than former Irish head coach Liz Miller 377-156 (.707). She is also ahead of the first ever softball coach at Notre Dame, Brian Boulac 135-90-2 (.597).
A Generous Donation:
Notre Dame softball’s bid for a new facility took a huge step forward this offseason thanks to the generous donation by Linda and Paul Demo. The Demo’s pledged three million dollars for the building of the Melissa Cook Stadium. Cook, a former Irish softball player, was one of four people that were killed in March 2002 when a massive section of scaffolding fell from the John Hancock Center onto her car in downtown Chicago. The families of those who died and were injured reached a settlement in early 2006 with the skyscrapers owners and other companies named in the lawsuit. The Demo’s, the mother and stepfather of Melissa Cook, devoted much of their portion of the settlement to Notre Dame for the upcoming $4.8 million facility. The stadium will be built on the southeast corner of the Notre Dame campus near Eck Baseball Stadium and will hold 1,500 Irish softball fans.
On the Small Screen:
Notre Dame will make one scheduled appearance on the small screen this season as its first game of a the doubleheader against South Florida, April 22 at noon, will be shown by CSTV.
Milestones on the Horizon:
o Senior Stephanie Brown, after the fifth week of the 2007 season, is fifth (141) in runs scored at Notre Dame. Brown is also tied for ninth on the all-time hits list with 232, only one behind Andrea Loman (2000-03) for eighth. Further, Brown is eighth on the all-time home runs list (18) only three behind Mallorie Lenn for seventh. Brown is also among the all-time leaders in walks (65-sixth) and stolen bases (47-fifth).
o Junior Katie Laing is only three behind the top-10 with her 35 career doubles.
o Senior Gessica Hufnagle is tied for fourth in fielding percentage .981.
Notre Dame continues its homestand with five more games at Ivy Field next week. The Irish will welcome in Toledo (March 28-6 p.m.), Pittsburgh (March 31-noon-doubleheader) and Syracuse (April 1-noon-doubleheader).