Softball Kicks off 2005 Season
The Blue Demons finished the 04’ season 30-31-1, however their record was not indicative of their success on the field. DePaul won the C-USA Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time in 11 years.
Head Coach Eugene Lenti is entering his 24th season at the helm of the Blue Demon program looks forward to this season team. “This team will definitely return DePaul to its place as a Top-25 powerhouse,” Lenti said. “We look at last year was an aberration. Even with all of last year’s struggles we still ended up as C-USA tournament champions and made a solid showing at the NCAA Tournament.”
The Blue Demons will be led by two-time All-American and 2005 Preseason C-USA Player of the Year, Saskia Roberson. Roberson is the league’s top returning home run (13) and RBI (55) threat from a year ago and brings a lofty .340 career average into her final campaign with the Blue Demons. Roberson finished the 2004 season with the 46th best batting average in the country (.393) and the 40th highest slugging percentage.
2005 also returns All- C-USA sophomore Linda Secka and All-Freshman selection Jessica Evans. Secka will run the outfield in center, while Evans will get the call at short. Secka finished the 04’ season with the 18th highest conference batting average (.349) and led the Blue Demons with four triples. Evans whose season ended prematurely with a shoulder injury had the fifth best team batting average (.300).
The Blue Demons open play on Friday afternoon with No. 14 Tennessee, the team that ended DePaul’s 2004 season with a 4-0 win in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Regional in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Tennessee, who led the nation with a .978 fielding percentage in 2004, returns nine starters including pitching ace, sophomore All-American Monica Abbott. Abbott broke the NCAA freshman strikeout record, sending 582 batters back to the dugout in 352 innings pitched.
DePaul will face Garner Webb for the first time in school history on Friday. The Bulldogs returned two starters from a team that finished sixth in the Atlantic Sun Conference a year ago. Garner-Webb is led by senior pitcher Stacie Reichert, who struck out 213 batters in 254 innings.
The Blue Demons will close out pool play on Saturday facing Florida A&M and Central Florida. Florida A&M returns nine starters including first team All-Mid Eastern Atlantic Conference, Daniella Brown and Delia McMillan. Brown finished the season with a team high 26 RBI while McMillan led the team with a .310 batting average.
DePaul will face one of the NCAA’s best hitters in Central Florida’s Stephanie Best. Best finished her junior season with the seventh best batting average (.442) and third best slugging percentage (.840) in the NCAA. The Knights finished the 2004 season second in the Atlantic Sun Conference. This is the first time in school history that DePaul and UCF will face one another.
Following pool play the Blue Demons will enter Championship play and face either Appalachian State, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Louisville or Oklahoma on Sunday. The Blue Demons have been successful against all five teams carrying a 20-14 record, including a 16-8 record against Louisville. Championship play is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. (CST) on Sunday.
Since 1985, the Blue Demons are 11-9 in season openers, including 5-2 since 1998.
The Other Dugouts
Other Tournament Participants
Preseason Conference USA Honors
2004 All C-USA recipient sophomore Linda Secka joined Roberson on the preseason honor list in the outfield. Secka played centerfield and finished the 2004 season with the 18th highest conference batting average (.349) and led the Blue Demons with four triples.