SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team heads to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take part in the program’s 27th NCAA Regional, and the 24th consecutive NCAA postseason. The Fighting Irish will head to the home of the Arkansas Razorbacks for the first time in postseason history, and just the first time since the 2001 season, head coach Deanna Gumpf’s last season as an assistant coach at Notre Dame. The format is a four-team double elimination tournament, with the winner advancing to face the winner of the NCAA Stillwater Regional.
Along with the Irish, the Oregon Ducks and the Harvard Crimson will also be participating in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional. Against these opponents, Notre Dame is a combined 5-8, splitting six games with Arkansas, and going 2-5 against the Ducks. Notre Dame and Harvard have not met on the softball diamond.
First up, the Irish will take on Oregon at 5 p.m. (ET) Friday evening on ESPN 2. Against the Ducks, the Irish are 2-5, with all seven games being held on a neutral site. It’ll be the fourth time in the Gumpf-era that the Irish matchup with Oregon, with the last being in February of 2020 at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif.
Unlike the series with Oregon, Notre Dame and Arkansas have only met on each other’s home fields. The Irish played in Fayetteville twice in 2000, and twice more in 2001. The last meetings came in a doubleheader at Melissa Cook Stadium in 2017, with the teams splitting the two-game set.
The Irish are led by a quintet of All-ACC honorees. First team selections include first baseman Karina Gaskins and third baseman Joley Mitchell. Lexi Orozco earned second team honors, Carlli Kloss picked up third team and Defensive Player of the Year honors with Mickey Winchell earning ACC All-Freshman accolades.
Mitchell leads the team with a .383 average, hitting 10 home runs, driving in 40 and stealing a team-best 15 bases. Kloss adds a .352 average with a team-high 41 runs scored and 20 extra-base hits. She adds 14 doubles, three triples and three home runs to go with 23 RBI. Orozco and Gaskins are equal with 14 home runs on the season. Orozco has 44 RBI, followed by Gaskins at 40. Gaskins has drawn an equal number of walks during the 2023 season, tying her own record for second-most in a single season in program history.
Payton Tidd anchors the pitching staff, throwing in 147.2 of 304 innings this season. The graduate student is 15-10 in 29 appearances…