CHICAGO- The DePaul softball team will head to Southern Illinois March 13-14 to compete in the Saluki Round Robin Tournament in Carbondale, Illinois. The round robin formatted tournament, which will be played at the Charlotte West Stadium, will feature five teams including Blue Demon (2-8) opponents Kansas, Illinois State, Tennessee Tech and Southern Illinois.
Head coach Eugene Lenti has put together one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation. His team has faced five, top-ten teams in their first ten games, including No. 1 UCLA. “I am excited about the potential of this team,” Lenti said. “We are ready to earn some much-needed wins. We need to build some confidence and momentum heading into a tough KIA Klassic and Conference USA season.”
At the plate, senior Christina Douglas has belted three homeruns, boasting a .704 slugging percentage and a .371 batting average. Douglas has been flawless in the field, recording a 1.000 fielding percentage. All-American Saskia Roberson is not far behind Douglas in total homeruns, tallying one of her own, and has a Demon-best .379 batting average.
Senior captain Sarah Martz is handling the brunt of the pitching duties, throwing 39 of the 63 innings pitched. Martz (2-4) has posted a 2.87 ERA and has struck out 35 batters, including 11 in her 7-0 shutout victory over UMass two weeks ago. The Blue Demons pitching staff has allowed a C-USA low 24 walks and is second behind Charlotte in fewest hits given up, allowing only 89 hits in 278 at bats.
(Saturday, March 13th 12:00 p.m.)
The Jayhawks are lead by power hitting sophomores Destiny Frankenstein and Serena Settlemier. Frankenstein leads the team with a .321 batting average and 17 hits. Settlemier leads the team with seven homeruns, 12 RBI’s and has blasted a .868 slugging percentage. On the mound the pitching staff has posted a 2.02 ERA. Senior Kara Pierce leads off the mound posting 67 strikeouts and holding her batters to a .183 batting average. This is the fifth time the Blue Demons and Jayhawks have met with the series ties at two a piece. DePaul won the last meeting 9-1 in 1989.
Illinois State, 9-8
(Saturday, March 13th 6:00 p.m.)
The Redbirds are coming off a mid week split at Illinois on Wednesday afternoon. Illinois State is lead by senior Emily Krueger. Krueger has blasted a .708 slugging percentage sending four long balls over the fence and has tallied 11 RBI’s. This is the twentieth time the Blue Demons and Redbirds have met. DePaul leads the series 10-9 and won their last meeting in 2002 3-0.
Tennessee Tech, 11-7
(Sunday, March 14 10:00 a.m.)
Tennessee Tech posted a 4-3 record at the Speedline Tournament last weekend, including a 10-0 victory over UNLV. The Golden Eagles pitching staff is posting a 1.60 ERA. Senior pitcher Lori Bayless leads the staff tallying 49 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched and a 1.04 ERA. This is the third the Blue Demons and Tennessee have met. DePaul defeated the Golden Eagles twice in the NCAA Play-in game in 1995, 2-0.
Southern Illinois, 13-6
(Sunday, March 14 2:00 p.m.)
Tournament host Southern Illinois is off to one of its best starts in recent history, 13-6. Last week the Salukis won the Kay Brechtelsbauer Southern Classic with a perfect 4-0 record. Southern Illinois is led by last weeks Missouri Valley Conference player of the week, Katie Jordan. Jordan has tallied 13 RBI’s on 13 hits. The Saluki pitching staff has boosted a 1.03 ERA and has held batters to a 1.57 batting average. This is the fourth time the Blue Demons and Salukis have meet with DePaul holding a 2-1 advantage in the series. The Blue Demons won the last meeting between the Salukis in 1993, 2-0.
Last Time Out
DePaul went 1-4 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic at Columbus, Ga. two weeks ago. The Blue Demons posted a 7-0 victory over Massachusetts. Sarah Douglas belted a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to widen the gap. Sarah Martz (2-3) recorded the shutout win, striking out 11 batters and scattering four hits.
DePaul dropped out of the Top-25 the week of Feburary 23rd. The Blue Demons opened the season ranked No. 14 by the ESPN/USA Softball poll and No. 12 by the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll.
The Blue Demons will compete in some of the nation’s best tournaments. DePaul is slated to participate in UNLV Classic, NFCA Classic, Saluki Round Robin, and KIA Klassic. They will see eight ranked opponents in 15 scheduled contests. They will also play the United States Olympic Team at the KIA Klassic in Fullerton, California on March 18th.
Two-time All-American Sarah Martz has been named to the ASA/USA Softball initial watch list for the third annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Martz finished the 2003 season ranked 12th in the nation with a .448 batting average and 22nd in runs per game, averaging 0.89. Martz also posted a 15-1 pitching record and a 1.24 ERA. She has been slated as the preseason Conference USA player of the year.
The Blue Demons have been slated to finish second in C-USA behind unranked USF. Sarah Martz is the preseason favorite for C-USA Player of Year while Saskia Roberson is picked to be on the All-Conference Roster.
Filling the Void
2003 saw the exit of five exceptional seniors, All-American’s Lindsay Chouinard and Liz Bouck, Gina Ramacci Laura Vision and Katy Kukman. Chouinard, Bouck and Ramacci have been drafted into the National Pro Fastpitch league (NPF). The 2004 season team faces the challenges of replacing Chouinard’s arm, Bouck and Ramacci’s defense and Bouck’s speed. Senior Sarah Martz will be asked to fill the shoes of Chouinard along with incoming pitchers Leslie Scott, Tracie Adiz and Katie Sheaks. Sophomore Sara Polensky will position herself behind the plate, filling the vacancy left by Ramacci. Sophomore Sarah Bandauski and junior Jenny Doezie will fill the void left by Bouck.
Returning to Wish
The Blue Demons will open the season at Wish Field with a doubleheader on April 3rd against C-USA opponent Houston, the first pitch is scheduled for noon.
DePaul return 10 players including two All-Americans, senior Sarah Martz and junior Saskia Roberson. The Blue Demons also return senior twin sisters Sarah and Christina Douglas; juniors, Ashley Parker, Jenny Doezie, and Dana Kenney; sophomores, Jamie Lachenberg, Sara Polensky, and Sara Bandauski.
The Blue Demons welcome nine newcomers this season; infielders Erin McGovern, Jessica Evans, Kara Amundson and Cara Santori, pitchers; Leslie Scott, Tracie Adix, and Katie Sheaks, and outfielders, Kathleen Goss and Linda Secka. Kathleen Goss activated this season after serving as the Blue Demons manager for two seasons. Leslie Scott comes transferred from the University of Washington this season, she has three years of eligibility left.