#22 Irish Ready For Two At UCF Thursday
March 12, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
NOTRE DAME SPORTS RELEASE
March 12, 2014
ORLANDO, Fla. - The University of Notre Dame softball team resumes its Spring Break game schedule with a non-conference doubleheader on Thursday. The Irish begin the day against FIU at 1 p.m. (ET), and will close against UCF at 6 p.m., with both games taking place at the UCF Softball Complex.
IRISH SLAP HITS
• Notre Dame won its first ever Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) series last weekend in Atlanta against Georgia Tech. The Irish shut out the Yellow Jackets 3-0 in game one, and bounced back from a 7-3 loss in the second contest to take the series with a 12-0 win on Sunday.
• The series victory ensured Notre Dame of at least a split in its opening conference series for the 24th time in 26 seasons. The Irish have not lost a league opening series since the 1998 campaign.
• Senior Laura Winter claimed the first Notre Dame ACC Pitcher of the Week citation in program history when the league honors were announced on Monday. Winter was a perfect 2-0 on the weekend at Georgia Tech, scattering five hits over 12 innings with no runs allowed, striking out 19 batters. She added a .571 batting average and three RBI, including her first home run of the season, to help pace the Irish offense.
• Winter became the Notre Dame program leader in career strikeouts in Sunday's series finale, surpassing two-time All-American Terri Kobata's (`96) previous mark of 907 career punch-outs. Winter has struck out 909 batters in 793.2 innings in her Irish career, an average of 8.02 strikeouts per game.
• After not playing in the Saturday doubleheader at Georgia Tech, sophomore first baseman Micaela Arizmendi made a triumphant return to the Notre Dame lineup on Sunday. Facing a 2-2 count with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the second inning, Arizmendi uncorked a grand slam over the right field wall to extend the Irish lead to 6-0. Arizmendi tied junior third baseman Katey Haus for the team lead with 19 RBI following the home run.
• Junior All-American outfielder Emilee Koerner extended her current consecutive on-base streak to 10 games, including hits in eight straight contests, during the Georgia Tech series. Senior Laura Winter has reached base safely in each of her last six games played.
• The Irish held position at number 22 in this week's ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, and dropped back one slot to 22 in the USA TODAY/NFCA Top 25 poll.
First ACC Challenge Cleared
The Irish outscored the Yellow Jackets 18-7 during the three-game set, including a 12-0 triumph in Sunday's series finale. Notre Dame also held the edge in hits (25-16), extra base hits (9-7), total bases (40-28) and slugging percentage (.513-.406).
2014 Irish Continue Hot Start
The legendary 2001 Irish won 18 of their first 21 showings on the way to setting single-season program records for both wins (54) and fewest team losses (7) that year.
Still Setting The ACC Hitting Pace
Along with the top spots in average, hits, doubles (46), sacrifice hits (22) and sacrifice flies (9), Notre Dame opened the week ranked second among conference teams in RBI (114), triples (4) and total bases (281).
All She Wrote After The 4th
Notre Dame has posted identical 11-0 marks when holding the lead after both the fifth and sixth innings, respectively.
New ND Career Strikeout Leader
Winter has registered 909 strikeouts in 793.2 innings pitched in parts of four seasons at Notre Dame, and her 8.02 strikeouts per game clip is the third-best in program history for pitchers who have thrown at least 150 innings. Kobata remains the all-time Notre Dame leader in the metric, after posting a 10.07 strikeouts per game average (907 strikeouts in 630.1 career innings).
Leadoff Hits = More Opportunities
The Irish are batting a torrid .431 (53-for-123) as a team to begin a frame, with 17 doubles and four home runs to go with an on-base percentage of .470. Six Notre Dame players that have made at least eight leadoff plate appearances have posted averages of .360 or higher in the top spot of an inning.
Junior All-American Emilee Koerner, who has been the primary Irish leadoff hitter, has logged 14 total hits to begin an inning in 30 at-bats (.467 average), including four doubles, four home runs and two walks drawn.
Freshman outfielder Karley Wester leads all Irish players with a .714 leadoff batting average (5-for-7).
Mic' Does The Damage
With the bases loaded and two outs, Arizmendi blasted a 2-2 pitch that traveled deep over the right field fence at Mewborn Field for a grand slam that broke the game open at 6-0.
The Irish improved to 4-1 over the last two seasons when Arizmendi has homered, and the Huntington Beach, Calif. native has now hit at least one solo, two-run, three-run and grand slam home run in her collegiate career.
The Race To Six Runs Equals W's
Notre Dame is a perfect 11-0 when scoring at least six runs in a game, and has posted a cumulative 89-23 aggregate run count in those contests. The Irish have scored nine or more runs on seven different occasions out of their 17 wins.
Irish In The ACC
The 2-1 series win over the Yellow Jackets not only gave Notre Dame its first series victory in the ACC, but it improved the Irish to 107-23 (. 823) all-time against the current league membership.
Midweek First For 2014
Notre Dame was 7-2 in midweek contests last season, including a perfect 4-0 in BIG EAST Conference non-weekend games.
Irish Against The Opposition