DePaul Aces Latest Test in Hawai'i
HONOLULU - Once again, it was DePaul that held the ace in the hole.
Becca Heteniak didn't need much support Saturday night as she fired a two-hitter in the Blue Demons' 2-0 victory over Loyola Marymount at the Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament.
The fourth win in a row sends DePaul (11-7) into Sunday's 3 p.m. title game against host Hawai'i(17-9).
After scoring 19 runs in the first four games of the tournament, DePaul could only come up with a pair against the Lions.
That proved to be enough for a winning hand when matched up with the ace.
"Becca pitched one of her best games of the season," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "Loyola Marymount never had a runner past second base. She had this game under control the whole time."
Heteniak (6-5) was never threatened while striking out 10 and walking two. She lowered her earned-run average to 1.67.
DePaul scored in the bottom of the third inning when Tara Voss reached on a fielder's choice, advanced to second on Alex Morocco's single and scored on Heteniak's RBI single to right field.
Heteniak held the Lions in check until her teammates pushed across an insurance run in the sixth.
Once again, the irrepressible Morocco was stirring up trouble for the opposition. The junior from River Forest led off with a single and scored on a clutch two-out double by Shea Warren.
"Alex is in a good spot right now offensively," said Lenti about his center-fielder who is batting .538 in the tournament. "She is putting her bat on the ball and making things happen.
"Shea had a really big hit for us. She has been hitting the ball real well, and even her outs are hard hit. We've moved her up to the five-spot in our batting order."
The Blue Demons will need to amp up their attack on Sunday against a Hawai'i offense that is batting .307 as a team and has hit 52 home runs this season. The Rainbows have 160 RBI and have outscored their opponents 180-88. Kelly Majam leads the team with a .390 batting average and nine home runs.
Bree Brown did a masterful job in a 6-2 victory over Hawai'i earlier on Saturday, giving up just four hits while racking up 13 strikeouts.
It will be Heteniak's turn to face this potent lineup on Sunday.
"Hawai'i has already seen Bree, so we'll go with Becca in the championship game," Lenti said. "The way she's pitching, Becca deserves a chance to be out there."
NOTES: DePaul's pitchers had a total of 23 strikeouts in the two games on Saturday... heading into the title game, the Blue Demons are averaging more than five runs a game for the tournament... Morocco's .538 batting average in Hawai'i leads DePaul while freshman Samantha Dodd is batting .500... Warren is hitting .455 on the island with a home run, four RBI and four runs while Sean Plese is hitting .375 with three runs... Marla Mathews is batting .375 for the tournament with a home run and two RBI and Voss is batting .333 with two home runs, six RBI and five runs... Morocco now leads the Blue Demons in hitting at .390 along with a team-high 16 hits while Voss is batting .366 and leads the team in runs with 11 and is tied for the lead in home runs with three... Warren is hitting .323 followed by Heteniak (.289), Simone Ashkar (.286, team-high 11 RBI), Mathews (.286, three homers) and Plese (.278)... DePaul will be going after its second five-game winning streak on Sunday.