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Special Delivery: Heteniak BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week



CHICAGO - Riding a five-game winning streak, DePaul's softball team received more good news on Monday afternoon when ace Becca Heteniak was named the BIG EAST Conference Pitcher of the Week while catcher Simone Ashkar made the Weekly Honor Roll.

Heteniak went 3-0 at the Kickin' Chicken Classic in Conway, S.C. over the weekend, not allowing an earned run while striking out 29 in 21 innings.

The two-time, BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year pitched a one-hitter against Canisius and came within two outs of a no-hitter against Jacksonville, settling for a one-hitter.

"This feels great after the start I had in Texas" Heteniak said about opening the season 0-3 at the Time Warner Cable Invitational Feb. 12-14 at Austin, Texas. "I was trying too hard in Texas and using too much of my body. In South Carolina, I used my wrist a lot more and had the best snaps of the season.

"It's a great honor that a conference as good as the BIG EAST would recognize me this early in the season."

Heteniak, a senior, was quick to share the credit with her junior battery mate.

"Simone was really good at framing the pitches," Heteniak said. "Eug and Cat (DePaul coach Eugene Lenti and pitching coach Cat Osterman) call the pitches, but when your catcher is framing it real well, you get a lot more calls."

After DePaul (6-4) went 1-4 in Texas, Heteniak and the rest of the Blue Demon pitching staff worked for nearly two weeks on better control and pitch sequence.

"There were a lot less walks in South Carolina," Heteniak said. "We focused on setting up the hitters and putting them away early."

Ashkar helped ignite DePaul's offense, batting .333 at the Kickin' Chicken Classic with one home run and a team-high six RBI.

The Blue Demons defeated Canisius twice with Ashkar getting a pair of RBI in each game, and she drove in two more in the victory over Jacksonville.

"It feels great," Ashkar said. "We all came together as a team and bounced back strong from two weeks ago."

Ashkar was the team's top clutch hitter in South Carolina.

"A lot of that was because of the people batting in front of me getting on base," she said. "I had opportunities to knock them in. That's my job."

Lenti may have found the steady run producer he has been looking for since Texas.

"Becoming our RBI hitter, that would be nice," said Ashkar, who leads the team with eight RBI. "A lot of us are just starting to come into our own. There are still roles to be filled on our team.

"Hopefully for me, this will just keep escalating from here."