Softball Begins 2008 Season at the Red & Black Showcase
Red and Black Showcase
ATHENS, Ga. - The weather in Athens, Georgia calls for sunny and 60 degrees when the DePaul softball team takes the field for the first time this weekend at the Red & Black Showcase, hosted by the University of Georgia. The Blue Demons throw the first pitch of the season on Friday against Marshall at 11 a.m. (CST) and finish the day with a 3 p.m. game with Georgia. Saturday sees DePaul tangle with the College of Charleston and Bulldogs, before closing out the tournament on Sunday with rematches against Marshall and the College of Charleston.
Coming off a 47-13 season in 2007, DePaul begins 2008 ranked No. 10 in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll, while they are ranked No. 8 in the ESPN.com/USA poll. The preseason saw sophomore All-American pitcher Becca Heteniak and senior utility player Sandy Vojik named to the ASA Softball Top 50 Watch List. Earlier this week, Vojik was named a Preseason first team All-American by ESPN.com.
Heteniak is one of nine sophomores to appear on the watch list as she finished her freshman campaign with the 12th best ERA (1.20) in the country. She was named an All-American after holding batters to an unprecedented .145 average and struck out 180 in 157.0 innings of work. Following a perfect 10-0 BIG EAST Conference record in the circle Heteniak was named the league's Rookie of the Year.
Vojik is set to patrol right field and the middle infield during her senior season. She brings a career .304 batting average and recorded a team-best 55 hits during her junior season. A two-time all-conference player Vojik has tallied 18 home runs and 77 RBI in her previous three season.
The Blue Demons have won their last two opening games, while they are 14-10 since 1985. DePaul has only played the College of Charleston once, while this weekend marks the first time the Blue Demons have played either Georgia or Marshall. DePaul shut out the Cougars in 2002, with an a 8-0 victory.
Marshall steps to the plate after it finished 2007 with a 32-26 record, however the Thundering Herd, have won their last five opening games. Marshall is led by senior utility player Rachel Folden, who batted .408 with 14 home runs and 47 RBI during her junior campaign. Folden along with senior infielder Samantha Rodriguez were named to the Conference USA All-Preseason Team.
The Blue Demons and Bulldogs tangle first on Friday with a rematch at 24 hours later on Saturday at 3 p.m. Georgia, a 2007 NCAA Championship participant return just seven players and welcome 11 new members to its roster. The Bulldogs, who are receiving votes in both polls are led by junior Kristin Schnake. The junior was third on the team in 2007 with a .266 batting average and had nine stolen bases.
The Cougars are a young squad have no seniors on their roster. Junior utility player Kristie Shifflett finished 2007 with the second best batting average (.333) while recording 47 RBI and 10 doubles.
The Blue Demons hit the road again next weekend, traveling to Houston, Texas for the Crowne Plaza Classic. DePaul squares off with host, Houston, Texas A&M-CC and Army Feb. 15-17.
Red & Black Showcase Schedule
Saturday, Feb. 9
Sunday, Feb. 10