#19 Notre Dame Softball 2017 Preview

Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Overall Rank: #19
Conference Rank: #2 ACC
 Notre Dame Logo
Notre Dame had their back against the wall after losing their first game to Miami (Ohio) 3-2 in the Ann Arbor Regional. However, the Fighting Irish proved to be very resilient and fought their way back to the Regional Final before falling to host Michigan 6-2. Overall, this Notre Dame program is on an upward trajectory as they made it to the ACC Conference Tournament Final before losing to Florida State and won 43 games. The 2017 schedule is loaded as Notre Dame will play five teams who went to the Women’s College World Series, including defending champion Oklahoma. With a nice group of talented veterans returning for the Fighting Irish, they should be ready to attack such a challenging schedule this season.
2016: 43-13, 13-7
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Deanna Gumpf
Key Departed Players:
Micaela Arizmendi, IF, .335 BA, 10 HR, 63 RBI
Megan Sorlie, OF, .277 BA, 0 HR, 22 RBI
Allie Rhodes, P, 160.1 IP, 3.01 ERA, 169 SO
Key Returning Players:
Karley Wester, OF, .446 BA, 3 HR, 33 RBI
Ali Wester, OF/IF .423 BA, 0 HR, 40 RBI
Melissa Rochford, OF, .398 BA, 4 HR, 40 RBI
Bailey Bigler, OF, .360 BA, 0 HR, 24 RBI
Morgan Reed, IF, .358 BA, 5 HR, 31 RBI
Kimmy Sullivan, IF/OF, .329 BA, 4 HR, 17 RBI
Caitlyn Brooks, P/UT, .335 BA, 11 HR, 55 RBI
Rachel Naslund, P, 124.0 IP, 2.94 ERA, 111 SO
Scoring runs should not be a problem this season for Notre Dame since they have plenty of depth within their everyday lineup. Karley and Ali Wester are two of the best hitters in all of college softball. They both hit well over.400 last season and are absolutely relentless on the basepaths. Karley and Ali combined for 68 stolen bases in 77 attempts in 2016. This extra aggressiveness with the running game keeps the pressure on opposing pitchers and fielders all day long. Melissa Rochford, Bailey Bigler and Morgan Reed also do a very nice job of putting the ball in play at a high level along with drawing walks. Caitlyn Brooks hit 11 homeruns and drove in 55 runs and it will be interesting to see how her offensive numbers will evolve with an increased role in the circle. Rachel Naslund should be the number one starter this season, taking over that role from Allie Collins who was the workhorse last season. Naslund came up clutch in the NCAA Tournament in an elimination game against Miami (OH), throwing a complete game three-hit shutout. This clutch pitching by Naslund is going to become even more important against this difficult schedule. If the Fighting Irish can get a few key wins early on in the season, it should give them enough confidence to contend for the ACC title and get back to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament


See All Top 44 Softball Previews