The No. 19/19 DePaul softball team enters the BIG EAST Championship as the No. 1 seed for the second time. The Blue Demons (35-11, 18-3), who won their second regular season title since 2006, play eighth-seeded Seton Hall on Thursday at 11:30 (CST) a
CHICAGO - The No. 19/19 DePaul softball team enters the BIG EAST Championship as the No. 1 seed for the second time. The Blue Demons (35-11, 18-3), who won their second regular season title since 2006, play eighth-seeded Seton Hall on Thursday at 11:30 (CST) at Ulmer Field on the campus of the University of Louisville. The winner advances to the semifinals and plays either No. 4 Syracuse or No. 5 USF on Friday at 1:30 p.m. The semifinals and championship games will be broadcast live on CBSC with Ann Schatz and Jason Knapp handling the announcing duties.
The Blue Demons are the reigning BIG EAST Tournament Champions as they defeated USF, 4-1 last season in Louisville. The squad is 5-2 all-time at the BIG EAST Championship. Since 1992 the Blue Demons are 51-14 in conference tournaments with 10 tournament championships in four different conferences -- North Star, Mid-Continent, Conference USA and the BIG EAST.
Noting the Blue Demons
DePaul has won 18 of its last 21 games and is 12-3 in true road games this season... averages 7.67 hits per game while the opponent averages 5.61... has 353 hits this season, while 26 percent (93-of-353) have been for extra bases... dating back to last season, the Blue Demons have won 26 of its last 30 BIG EAST Conference regular-season games... DePaul has been ranked in every USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll this season... dating back to the 2007 season, the Blue Demons have been ranked in the last 39 USA Today/NFCA Polls... dating back to 2008 DePaul has been ranked in the last 18 ESPN.com/USA Softball Polls... DePaul has gone to the NCAA Championship the last three seasons and in nine of the last 10 seasons... the program has gone to a total 13 NCAA Championships while four teams have advanced to the Women’s College World Series (2007, 2005, 2000, 1999).
BIG EAST Championship
The Blue Demons are the No. 1 seed for the second time in four years... hold a 5-2 championship record... has won each of its three first round games... outscored its opponents in first round games 22-4, while two of the three games were completed before the seventh inning... DePaul’s first round game with Pittsburgh in 2008 went 11 innings which ties for the second longest championship game... two other games went 12 innings... Patton is 8-for 22 (.363) in seven BIG EAST Championship games... Jackie Tarulli-Fisher has also played in seven games while she is 6-for-21 (.285) with a pair of RBI... Amber Patton has a team-best seven RBI... Heteniak is 3-1 all-time in championship games in the circle... she averages 8.31 Ks per seven innings at the BIG EAST Championship... Heteniak was named the 2008 Championship MVP.
Capturing the Pirates (24-30-1, 10-14)
Seton Hall is the No. 8 in the Championship... returning to the tournament for the first time since 2007 when it also faced DePaul in the opening round... DePaul won that game 10-1... the Pirates have played in eight BIG EAST Championships and won the tournament twice (2005 & 2004)... 11-10 all-time in BIG EAST Championship... DePaul and Seton Hall have met nine times prior to Thursday’s game... DePaul holds a 6-3 advantage, while the two teams split their regular season doubleheader... this season Seton Hall is 5-5 in its last 10 games... led by Michelle Reed’s .328 average while Brittnay Schillizzi has a team-best 39 RBI... against the Pirates, Amber Patton has gone 13-for-29 (.448) in nine games... Becca Heteniak is 2-1 in the circle while Lauren Frankiewicz is 0-2... Heteniak owns a 0.74 ERA against the Pirates while she has allowed just eight hits in 19.0 innings of work... she has struck out 28.
Blue vs. Syracuse Orange (30-20, 12-10)
Syracuse is the No. 4 seed in the Championship... plays No. 5 USF in the opening round... making its sixth BIG EAST Championship appearance and is 1-7 all-time in the tournament... DePaul topped Syracuse 8-0 in the opening round in 2006... DePaul and SU have met nine times with the Blue Demons holding a 7-2 series advantage and has won the last six games... the last SU win was during the 2006 regular season when it took a doubleheader 5-4 and 8-1... this season Syracuse is 4-6 in its last 10 games... led by Jamie Kelling’s .348 average while Hallie Gibbs has a team-best 35 RBI... against the Orange, Becca Heteniak is a perfect 5-0, including a combined no-hitter with Lindsey Dean at SU in 2008... Heteniak boasts a 1.17 ERA and 35 Ks in 30 innings of work against the Orange... at the plate, Heteniak is batting .385 (5-for-13) with a pair of doubles and two RBI... Amber Patton and Jackie Tarulli-Fisher have played in all nine games... Patton boasts a team-best .433 average (13-for-30) with two doubles, a triple and three RBI... Tarulli-Fisher is 10-for-27 (.370) with four doubles and seven RBI.
Battling the USF Bulls (33-21, 12-10)
USF is the No. 5 seed in the Championship... plays No. 4 Syracuse in the opening round... making its fourth BIG EAST Championship since joining the league in 2006... finished second in 2008 after DePaul won the Championship 4-1... 3-3 all-time record at the BIG EAST Championship... the two teams have met 39 times with DePaul holding a 27-12 advantage and has won the last three games... USF’s last win was 5-1 victory in Tampa in 2008... this season, the Bulls are 5-5 in their last 10 games... they use five pitchers, while Cristi Ecks leads the staff with a 1.83 ERA... Kristen Gorgon has a team-best 97 Ks and an 8-5 record... Britta Giddens leads the team with a .387 average, 33 RBI and six home runs... against Bulls, Becca Heteniak is a perfect 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA and has allowed 17 hits in 28.0 innings... she has struck out 31 Bulls... Lauren Frankiewicz is 1-1 all-time with a 3.50 ERA in 14 innings... Amber Patton leads DePaul with a .348 average (8-for-23) and two RBI.
The BIG EAST Conference
67-18 all-time since joining the BIG EAST Conference in 2006... in four years, the Blue Demons have won two regular season titles... the 2007 title came with a perfect 20-0 record... the perfect record was just the fourth since the league began sponsoring the sport in 1992... the 20 wins tied a BIG EAST record also held by Notre Dame (2001)... DePaul won its first BIG EAST Championship title in 2008 with a 4-1 victory over USF... Becca Heteniak is 33-3 all-time in the circle with a 1.05 ERA in regular-season conference games... Amber Patton’s single-season .577 average (41-for-71) is the second highest by any BIG EAST player... Janna Venice (1992) from UConn holds the record with a .600 (9-for-15)... Patton broke the conference record for hits this season with 41... the previous record was 38 which Stephanie Brown (Notre Dame) did in 2006... Patton’s 109 career hits is the second most in BIG EAST history... Patton’s career average of .443 (109-for-246) also ranks second all-time.
1,000 Wins loads of honors
DePaul Hall of Fame head Coach Eugene Lenti recorded his 1,000 career coaching victory on Mar. 30 when the Blue Demons defeated Providence 8-0... on April 25 the City of Chicago declared it Eugene Lenti Day... the decree was signed by Mayor Daley and it coincided with DePaul’s “Grand Celebration” commemorating his coaching milestone... Lenti boasts an all-time record of 1019-491-6... he is one of 12 NCAA DI coaches to reach the century mark... In 28 seasons he has taken 16 teams to the postseason while four have gone onto the Women’s College World Series since 1999... He has mentored 22 All-Americans, 17 Academic All-Americans, eight of his student-athletes have been named a conference Player of the Year and another nine have earned conference Pitcher of the Year accolades... seven have won conference Rookie of the Year titles while still another 96 of his student-athletes have been named first team All-Conference.
Not General Patton, Just Amber’s Numbers
Heading into this week Amber Patton leads the country, DePaul and the BIG EAST Conference with a .522 average... averages 1.78 hits per game... only six strikeouts this season which makes her the 18th toughest to strikeout in the nation... her .569 on base percentage ranks sixth... 82 hits are a BIG EAST best... she need six hits to break her own school record which she set in 2008... she has 27 of DePaul’s 76 (36%) multiple hit performances... of the team’s 23 - 3+ hit games, Patton has 14 of them or 61% of them
Finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award
On April 1, Amber Patton was selected as one of the 25 finalists for the 8th Annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered the most prestigious honors in Division I women’s collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 6. The three finalists will be announced May 20th while the winner of the 2009 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2009 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
High on Heteniak
Becca Heteniak is averaging 7.43 strikeouts per seven innings of work... season-high 12 strike outs at Providence and UIC, while she fanned 11 against Seton Hall... against BIG EAST opponents she is averaging 7.23 strikeouts per outing this season... she has 196 Ks this season which ties for third in the BIG EAST... her opponents average .175 which is tops in the BIG EAST ... Heteniak won the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year in 2007 with a perfect 10-0 record while she won Pitcher of the Year accolades in 2008 after recording a 0.98 ERA in league play... 691 career strike outs ranks as the second most behind Lindsay Chouinard (2000-03)... she has 858.
Taking the Free Pass to First
Becca Heteniak has taken 36 walks this season which ranks 14th in the country and ties for most in the BIG EAST Conference... she averages 0.78 walks per game... the junior’s 42 career walks in BIG EAST games ranks third all-time... this season she was walked 26 times in league play... she has been intentionally walked four times this season... Patton leads the team with seven IBB this season.
Leaving Patton in the Record Book
This has been a historic season for Patton as her senior numbers will be all over the record book... her .522 average and .569 on base percentage both rank number one... her 81 hits heading in the Championship ties for fifth while she holds the record with 87 hits (2008)... her career average of .399 (263-for-659) and her .454 on base percentage both rank second... her career 263 hits ranks third ... her seven intentional walks (which all came this season) ranks second all-time... she currently holds the school record with 58 sacrifice hits.
Amber Patton becomes the third DePaul player in as many years to be a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award. Besides her numbers on the field, Patton represented DePaul at BIG EAST Student-Athlete Advisory Council as well as NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Conference. An active member of DePaul’s Captains Council, Patton has volunteered to make lunches for the homeless as well as raised money for breast cancer research. Vote online for Amber everyday to help her become the first DePaul player to win the Lowe’s Senior Class Award. Voting ends on May 7.
Patton BIG EAST POW x3
Senior All-American Amber Patton earned the league’s Player of the Week accolades three times this season. Her first career honor came following DePaul’s performance at the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament on Feb. 23. At the tournament, boasted a team-best .909 slugging percentage. Among her 15 hits were a double and two triples, as she scored 10 of DePaul’s 60 runs. Patton propelled the Blue Demons with six RBI while netting a team-high .696 on base percentage for the week. On the season, Patton is batting .548 (23-for-42) and is on a 14-game hitting streak dating back to the 2008 season.
For an encore, Patton was named Player of the Week on Mar. 23. Against St. John’s the senior crushed the first career home run, slapped a triple and singled in the first game of the doubleheader. Patton followed up that performance with a double and single in game two to complete the cycle for the doubleheader. Patton had a team-high four RBI through the weekend and finished with a 1.833 slugging percentage.
Her third POW came on April 20 after she proved hard to keep off the basepath, building a .615 on base percentage, aided by being intentionally walked twice during the week. In DePaul’s 6-2 win against Villanova on April 19, Patton went 3-for-4, with two runs, two RBI and a double.
Heteniak Player of the Week
Having won seven career BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week honors this season she won her first player of the week honor on Feb. 16. At the Louisville Slugger/UNLV Desert Classic, Heteniak helped the Blue Demons to wins over No. 6/5 Michigan, Southern Miss, Oregon State and Kentucky. Heteniak tallied eight hits and eight RBI for an impressive 1.000 slugging percentage. Of Heteniak’s eight hits, four were doubles and another was a home run. In the circle, Heteniak (2-1) recorded the win against Oregon State and Kentucky while she was credited with the save against No. 6/5 Michigan and Southern Miss. She struck out 16.
Heteniak Pitcher of the Week x2
Becca Heteniak has been named Pitcher of the Week seven times in her career while she won the award twice this sesaon. She picked up her first award on Mar. 30 after picking up two of the Blue Demon’s three. In complete games at Illinois and Connecticut, the junior boasted a 0.50 ERA, including a 5-0 shutout over the Huskies on March 28. On the week, Heteniak struck out 11 while opposing batters averaged just .184 against her.
Heteniak threw three complete games to pick up the weekly honor on April 26. Heteniak held opposing batters to a measly .164 batting average, while she allowed just one hit in the Blue Demons’ 4-0 shutout of Syracuse on April 25. In 19 innings of work, the junior allowed just three runs while she struck out 18 and gave up 10 hits.
New Assist Leader
With three assists at Illinois, Amber Patton became the school’s all-time assists leader. Patton has 543 assists.
RBI and HRs, Keep them coming
Jackie Tarulli-Fisher enters this week with 145 RBI which ranks fifth all-time. Missy Nowak (1992-95) holds the school record with 180 career RBI... she needs four more to tie Kristina Luna’s 149 career RBI... 33 career long balls which ranks second all-time.
Stepping Off the Bag
Jackie Tarulli-Fisher leads the BIG EAST with four pick offs while she has 13 would be base stealers.
Drafted by the Chicago Bandits
DePaul All-American Amber Patton was selected in the fourth round of the National Pro Fastpitch Senior Draft by the Chicago Bandits last week. The senior has yet to sign a contract with the Chicago based team and will not until the DePaul season has concluded therefore preserving her amateur status.
The Chicago Bandits have been home to former Blue Demon greats, Liz Bouck (Jagielski), Lindsay Chouinard and Tracie Adix, while head Coach Eugene Lenti coached the franchise in its inaugural season in 2005.
Judi Garman Notes
The DePaul softball measured itself against the nation’s best last week at the Judi Garman Classic hosted by Cal St. Fullerton, Mar. 12-15. The Blue Demons defeated Fullerton and No. 24/20 Fresno State while they dropped games to No. 9/8 Oklahoma, No. 6/11 Arizona State and New Mexico. DePaul was led by Jackie Tarulli-Fisher’s bat. The senior registered four RBI and a .563 slugging percentage. Both Becca Heteniak and Lindsey Dean went 1-1 on the weekend. Dean struck out a career-high seven in DePaul’s win over Fresno State.
Rain in Georgia
The Blue Demons suffered weather cancellations and losses to Penn State and UMass. DePaul traveled to the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Georgia Feb. 27-Mar. 1. The Blue Demons were two-hit and dropped a 4-1 game to Penn State on Friday, while UMass topped DePaul 2-0 on Saturday. DePaul’s games with Georgia, Louisiana-Lafayette, LSU and Nebraska were canceled due to inclement weather.
DePaul went 5-1 at the Florida Gulf Coach Tournament and picked up two wins over Michigan State, Fairfield, Bethune-Cookman and split a pair of games with tournament host Florida Gulf Coast. The Blue Demons outscored their opponents 60-15 in the weekend tournament, while as a team they collected a .401 batting average. Amber Patton led DePaul with 15 hits for an unbelievable .682 batting average and a team-high .909 slugging percentage. Patton was responsible for 26% of the Blue Demons scoring. The senior third baseman scored 10 of DePaul’s 60 runs while she knocked in six runs. Jackie Tarulli-Fisher provided DePaul with 13 RBI. In the circle, Lindsey Dean improved to 5-0 on the season and picked up wins over Florida Gulf Coast, Michigan State and Fairfield. She struck out 11 and walked just two batters.
The Blue Demons started the season 4-1, defeating No. 6/5 Michigan 5-3, , Oregon State, 7-6, Southern Miss 8-5 and Kentucky 5-1 at the Louisville Slugger/UNLV Desert Classic. DePaul lone loss of the weekend came against Portland State 7-1 in the final game of the tournament. Pitchers Becca Heteniak and Lindsay Dean each picked up a pair of wins, while Heteniak added two saves. Heteniak did however suffer the loss against Portland State. At the plate Annie Demas and Heteniak made some noise. Demas knocked three double and a trio of RBI. Heteniak was a monster at the plate and recorded eight RBI on seven hits. Of those seven hits, four were doubles and one was a home run.