Feb. 8, 2018
DePaul vs. IUPUI
Feb. 9 | 11:30 a.m.DePaul vs. Wright State
Feb. 9 | 2:00 p.m.DePaul vs. Eastern Kentucky
Feb. 10 | 9:00 a.m.DePaul vs. Wright State
Feb. 10 | 11:30 a.m.DePaul vs. Northern Colorado
Feb. 11 | 10:00 a.m.
Dome at the Ballpark | Rosemont, Ill.
Game Notes: DePaul
CHICAGO – DePaul head softball coach Eugene Lenti leads the Blue Demons into the 2018 season on Friday as the Chicago-based team heads just west of the downtown region to Rosemont where it will compete in the Total Control Sports Invitational at the Dome at the Ballpark.
During the three-day tournament hosted by Loyola Chicago, DePaul will open the season against IUPUI and Wright State on Friday and battle with Eastern Kentucky and Wright State, again, on Saturday before closing out the five-game weekend with a 10 a.m. contest on Sunday against Northern Colorado.
Despite the loss of four seniors, including All-BIG EAST First Team selections Nicole Pihl and Micah Fitzgerald and BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player Dylan Christensen, DePaul returns a strong lineup, including 2017 First Team selections Jessica Cothern and Missy Zoch, that posted a 29-23 mark while capturing the BIG EAST tournament championship. Last season, sophomore Cothern ranked second on the team during BIG EAST play in batting average (.452) and tied for first with 28 hits. Sophomore pitcher Zoch posted six victories during her rookie season, ranking third in the league in ERA (2.59) and strikeouts (60).
The 2018 season also sees the addition of four freshmen, including Pearl Barroso, Maranda Gutierrez, Pat Moore, and Kate Polucha, to the Blue Demons’ 21 player roster. Youth and underclassmen dominate the 2018 lineup for DePaul that will make an immediate contribution on the diamond.
IUPUI returns 11 of its 17 players from the 2017 squad that went 23-31 on the season, posting an 11-6 record in Summit League play. While the Jaguars are without their top four hitters from the 2017 team, including Roni Patterson, Tayloer Chitwood, Maggie Good, and Alyssa Matson, they do return McKenzie Loge and Maddy Griffin. Head coach Elisabeth Beirne will debut four new pitchers in 2018, receiving transfers Haley Ginger, Amanda Melzoni, Dezirae Leonard, and Megan Overton in the center circle. The Jaguars open their 2018 season against Fort Wayne on Friday at 9 a.m. before facing off with the Blue Demons at 11:30 a.m. DePaul leads the head-to-head series with IUPUI 5-1, winning the last five meetings with Jaguars. The Blue Demons won the last meeting with IUPUI in 1999, 3-0.
Wright State kicks off its 2018 season against the Blue Demons Friday at 2 p.m. before meeting Loyola Chicago later in the afternoon. The Raiders are a youthful squad in 2018 that welcomes eight freshmen to their program while returning seven of their 19 players from the 2017 season that finished with a 21-31 record and 14-10 showing in Horizon League play. Wright State is led by senior outfielder Honnah Susor. The Oregon, Ohio native led the Raiders at the plate in 2017 with a .377 batting average, driving in 15 runs on 61 hits including 10 doubles, eight triples, and one home run. Ally Russell and Ashley Sharp will guide the Raiders in the center circle in 2018. DePaul and Wright State will battle again on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on day two of the Total Control Sports Invitational. The Blue Demons have dominated the all-time series with Raiders, winning all 12 meetings. DePaul last faced Wright State in 2003, picking up an 8-0 win.
Eastern Kentucky returns three of its starters and top hurler from 2017 where the Colonels went 27-31, carrying an 11-9 mark in Ohio Valley play. Paige Murphy returns for her junior season after carrying a .394 batting average through 41 games in 2017. Murphy is the top returning slugger for the Colonels tallying 25 RBIs on 43 hits, including eight doubles, two triples, and five home runs. Sophomore Mollie Paulick looks to once again lead EKU in the center circle in 2018. Last season, Paulick captured 13 wins while posting a 2.63 ERA. The right-hander struck out 137 batters in 162.1 innings of work. Eastern Kentucky and DePaul have only met one other time. The Blue Demons won their only other meeting 6-2 at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic in 2010.
This season, Northern Colorado looks to bounce back from a 20-35 mark in 2017. To do so, the Bears will immediately rely on their top three returning sluggers Jordyn Wiatrak, Kaley Garcia, and Rachel Johnson. This trio combined for 106 hits in 2017 that drove in 75 of the Bears’ 179 runs. Junior Valerie Vidal will lead Northern Colorado’s pitching staff. The Bears look to senior leaders Johnson, Garcia, Kelly Kleis, Chandler Elsner, and Lauren Paige while welcoming three freshmen to the 2018 squad. Sunday’s game is the second-ever contest between Northern Colorado and DePaul. The two met last season at the New Mexico State tournament on Feb. 18 where the Blue Demons pulled out the 6-4 victory.
•Coach Lenti heads into his 37th season as a head coach where he has tallied 1,292 career wins. That mark places him fifth all-time in NCAA history and fourth all-time among active coaches.
•DePaul softball has won 1,388 games dating back to its first season in 1977.
•Lenti’s squad plays its first 31 games on the road in 2018.
•The Blue Demons’ first home game at Cacciatore Stadium will take place on March 30 when they host Villanova in doubleheader action.
•DePaul was tabbed to finish second in the BIG EAST’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
•Five seniors, including Haydn Christensen, Kennedy Garcia, Sabrina Kuchta, Kayla Landwehrmier, and Megan Leyva, toe the field for their final season in a Blue Demon uniform.