The Blue Demons will take on some of softball’s elite this weekend at the NFCA Classic. DePaul opens the tournament on Friday with North Carolina at 11:00 a.m. and No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette at 1:30 p.m.
CHICAGO – The DePaul Blue Demons will be among the elite in college softball this weekend as they travel to Columbus, Georgia to compete in the 10th annual National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Leadoff Classic. Twenty-four teams will compete for the tournament title including NCAA College World Series participants Florida State, LSU, Michigan and Oklahoma. Twenty of the squads qualified for regional play in 2004.
The Blue Demons (4-6) will open pool play on Friday, facing North Carolina and No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette; games are scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (CST) respectively. DePaul will close out pool play on Saturday, facing San Diego State at 9:00 a.m. (CST). At the conclusion of pool play, the tournament will be divided into championship and consolation brackets, those games will be played on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.
DePaul opens the tournament with North Carolina, a team that they have not faced since the 2001 season. The Blue Demons won the 2001 meeting 4-1, and hold a 2-1 series advantage. The Tarheels (12-2) offense is led by freshman Casey Testa and junior Jaclyn Holden. Testa leads the team with a .483 batting average and four home runs. Holden not far behind the freshman is batting .474 and has notched a team high 11 RBI.
No. 6 Louisiana Lafayette is also a powerhouse at the plate. The Ragin Cajuns have four players batting over .400 with Lacey Bertucci leading the team with five home runs and 16 RBI. Defensively, the Ragin’ Cajuns pitching staff has given up only 41 hits and holds a collective 0.91 ERA in 84.1 innings. The Blue Demons last met LA-Lafayette in 2004, the Rajin Cajuns won 10-3 and are 7-0 in the all-time series.
DePaul will try to avenge an earlier loss on Saturday, facing San Diego State at 9:00 a.m. The Blue Demons fell to the Aztecs, 4-0 two weeks ago at the Stanford Invitational.
The Blue Demons are making their sixth appearance at the NFCA Classic and hold a 14-15 record at the classic. DePaul’s highest finish came in 1999 when they fell in the championship game to Louisiana-Lafayette, 2-1.
Other Dugout Fact Sheet
North Carolina (12-2)
Friday, February 25 – 12:00 p.m. (EST)
All-Time Series: 2-0
Last Time Out: W, 4-1 (2001)
No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette (12-1)
Friday, February 25– 2:30 p.m. (EST)
All-Time Series: 0-2
Last Time Out: L, 10-3 (2004)
San Diego State (10-2)
Saturday, February 26 – 10:00 a.m. (EST)
Last Time Out: L, 4-0 (Feb. 12, 2005)
Other Tournament Participants
The other 20-teams participating in the tournament include, No. 7 Alabama, Cal State Northridge, Creighton, Florida Atlantic, No. 21 Florida State, No. 25 Fresno State, No. 16 Georgia, No. 17 Georgia Tech, Lehigh, No. 10 LSU, UMass, No. 8 Michigan, Michigan State, No. 17 Nebraska, No. 13 Oklahoma, No. 18 Oregon, Seton Hall, South Carolina, Southern Illinois and Texas State. The Blue Demons are 28-32 all-time against those 20 teams.
Last Time Out
The Blue Demons finished the Stanford Tournament (February 11-13) 1-4. DePaul defeated Cal Poly, 5-1 in first day of competition; but suffered a pair of one-run losses to Long Beach State and Kentucky, and were shutout by No. 4 Stanford and San Diego State.
DePaul is 2-2 this season when playing on Friday and are 2-0 in the second game of the day.
The Blue Demons will open the home portion of their schedule at Wish Field on Saturday, April 2nd. The Blue Demons will welcome Charlotte for the final time to Wish Field. The 49ers will move to the Atlantic 10 Conference and the Blue Demons will move to the BIG EAST in 2005. DePaul will play their final season on Wish Field before the field is closed for improvements and will be renamed Cacciatore Stadium. The stadium will feature covered dugouts, enhanced batting cages and bullpen areas, permanent seating and a working pressbox.
Preseason Conference USA Honors
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, who finished the 2004 season with the 46th best batting average in the country (.393) and the 40th highest slugging percentage, is the league’s only returning All-American.
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.
DePaul enters its final season in Conference USA and was tabbed to finish the regular season in fourth behind the favorite Louisville, Houston and USF. The Blue Demons have won three regular season titles (2001, 2002, 2003) and three consecutive Tournament Titles (2002, 2003, 2004).
The Blue Demons will participate in some of the nation’s best tournaments, the Clearwater Invitational, the Stanford Invitational, the NFCA Lead Off Classic and the KIA KLASSIC. The Blue Demons finished the Clearwater Invitational in fifth place after downing No. 4 Oklahoma 4-1 on February 6th.
The Blue Demons have five new faces in the dugout, freshmen Katie Hanson (Oregon, Ill.), Allie Mulligan (Chicago, Ill.), Marcy Wilus (Lyons, Ill.) and Sandy Vojik (Riverside, Ill.). Megan Huitink a sophomore transfer from the University of Illinois also joins DePaul this season. The five new faces add power, speed and versatility to Blue Demon line-up.