Softball Travels to the NFCA Leadoff Classic
NFCA LEADOFF CLASSIC
CHICAGO The DePaul softball team hits the road for the third time this season, traveling to Columbus, Georgia for the NFCA Leadoff Classic, March 29-Feb. 2. The Blue Demons, who are ranked 17 in both the USA Today/NFCA and the ESPN.com/USA Softball polls face Massachusetts, No. 2/3 Texas A&M, Winthrop, Iowa, UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Tech during the three-day tournament.
The Blue Demons are making their eighth appearance at the NFCA Leadoff Classic and were the tournament’s runner-up in 1999. In 2007, DePaul went 2-3 at the classic, defeating Florida and Lehigh, but dropped games to Georgia Tech, UMass and Baylor. After leading the Blue Demons in 2007 with a .747 slugging percentage and five RBI, current DePaul senior Marcy Wilus was named to the NFCA All-Tournament Team
This season, DePaul (7-4) has five players averaging better then .300 with juniors Amber Patton and Jackie Tarulli-Fisher leading the charge. Patton paces the squad with a .375 average, while Tarulli-Fisher boasts nine RBI and three home runs.
With the offense getting it done at the plate, the Blue Demon pitching staff of Lindsey Dean, Becca Heteniak and Lauren Frankiewicz has dominated in the circle averaging 5.9 k’s per game. Frankiewicz leads the team with 34 strikeouts in 32.1 innings of work, while Heteniak has sent 23 batters back to the dugout.
The 2008 NFCA Leadoff Classic field includes 21 schools, seven of which are ranked. The Blue Demons start the tournament on Friday with contests against Massachusetts and No. 2/3 Texas A&M at 12:30 and 3 p.m., (CST) respectively.
UMass (4-6) leads the overall series with DePaul 3-2, including a 9-2 victory at last season’s NFCA Lead Off Classic. Ranked No. 2 in the USA Today/NFCA Poll, Texas A&M (18-2) is the highest ranked team participating this weekend. However as history goes, the Blue Demons have won both the previous meetings with the Aggies, including a 10-5 victory in 2004.
Saturday sees DePaul face Winthrop and Iowa. The Blue Demons' 12:30 p.m. game with Winthrop (6-5) marks the first time the two teams have squared off. On the other hand, Iowa (8-2) holds a 7-1 series advantage over DePaul but; the two teams have not played since the 2001 season.
The Classic comes to a close on Sunday, when the Blue Demons take on UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Tech. DePaul leads the series with UCSB 1-0, while Georgia Tech is 4-1 all-time against the Blue Demons.
All of the tournament games can be viewed live on GameTracker, while UMass and Texas A&M will broadcast the games live on the internet.