No. 1 Blue Demons Face No. 2 St. John's in BIG EAST Championship Game
May 9, 2014
CHICAGO - DePaul softball will be gunning for its second-ever title in the BIG EAST Championships when it meets St. John's in the finals on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CT at the Ballpark in Rosemont. The game will be televised live on FOX Sports 1.
Already conference regular season champs, the top-seeded Blue Demons (40-9) advanced to the title game with a 9-1 win over Creighton in the semifinals today. Senior ace Kirsten Verdun was dominant, limiting the Bluejays to two hits and just one run with 12 strikeouts over six innings, while Allie Braden put together a 3-for-4 day at the plate and scored three times.
St. John's, the tournament's second seed, advanced on a 5-3 win over Georgetown in the day's second game. Senior Jackie Reed had a 4-for-4 day with a pair of homers as the Red Storm advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 1990 -- and just the second time in program history.
DePaul swept the season series, winning both games in Chicago and has won seven straight against St. John's.
Tomorrow's winner earns an automatic bid into the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The selection show for the tournament will take place on Sunday, May 11 at 9 p.m. CT.
Scouting The Red Storm
The Blue Demons have dominated the series in recent years, winning seven straight over the Red Storm. DePaul has not lost to St. John’s since April 14, 2010 and swept the team’s two meetings in Queens last season.
The Red Storm placed two on the All-BIG EAST First Team on Tuesday, including junior catcher Erin Burner and standout freshman Kaitlin Fitzgerald. Reed is the leading batsman for St. John’s, ranking second in the conference with a .411 average to go with 10 HR and 29 RBI. Burner is also power threat, sitting at .390 with 14 bombs and 40 RBI.
Sophomore Tori Free is the main hurler for SJU, sporting a 13-14 record with a 3.02 ERA. She has 128 strikeouts in 143.2 innings, but has struggled with command (109 walks). Francesca Carrullo (6-2, 3.33 ERA) and Ashley Beza (7-4, 4.18 ERA) have both seen time in the circle as well. All three struggled against the Blue Demons in this season’s meetints, as DePaul hit .400 and scored 21 runs in a pair of games on March 22-23.
In the semifinal round, St. John’s defeated third-seeded Georgetown 5-3 on the strength of Reed’s 4-for-4 day with two homers.