The DePaul softball team begins its 14th NCAA Championship as the No. 15 seed in and will face Bradley in its opening round game on Friday, May 15 at Missouri's University Field. The first game of the Columbia Regional is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., whi
CHICAGO The DePaul softball team begins its 14th NCAA Championship as the No. 15 seed in and will face Bradley in its opening round game on Friday, May 15 at Missouri’s University Field. The first game of the Columbia Regional is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., while the winner advances and plays either Missouri or Illinois on Saturday 12 p.m. The regional is a double-elimination, three-day tournament with the Championship decided on Sunday, May 17.
The winner of the Columbia Regional plays the winner of the Los Angeles Regional which features Fresno State, UNLV, Long Beach State and No. 2 UCLA. DePaul is 4-0 in Super Regional games since the NCAA went to that format in 2005.
The Blue Demons are 36-27 in NCAA Championship games while they have reached the Women’s College World Series four times, most recently in 2007.
Noting the Blue Demons (37-12)
DePaul is making its 14th NCAA Championship appearance... has gone to the NCAA Championship the last four seasons and in 10 of the last 11 seasons... the program has advanced to the Women’s College World Series (2007, 2005, 2000, 1999)... DePaul has won 20 of its last 24 games and is 12-3 in true road games this season... averages 7.55 hits per game while the opponent averages 5.41... has 370 hits this season, while 26 percent (97-of-370) 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 40 USA Today/NFCA Polls... dating back to 2008 DePaul has been ranked in the last 19 ESPN.com/USA Softball Polls.
Battling the Braves (25-26)
Bradley is makings its first ever NCAA Championship after winning the Missouri Valley Tournament Championship... finished their season by winning their last nine games... led by Janay Mitchell’s .307 average... Alycia Bachkora has a team-best 34 RBI and 10 home runs... Ashley Birdsong has a team-best 1.73 ERA and 212 Ks... DePaul and Bradley have not played since 1998 with the Blue Demons holding a 7-5 series advantage.
Fighting the Illini (29-15)
Illinois is making its third NCAA Championship, its first since 2004... finished fifth in the Big 10... Danielle Zymkowitz leads the Illini with a .408 average and is a perfect 20-for-20 on the basepath... the quartet of pitchers has combined for a 4.14 ERA while Monica Perry leads the staff with a 3.86 ERA and has 217 Ks and boasts a 24-13 record... DePaul and Illinois have met 16 times, while the Blue Demons boast a 9-6-1 series advantage... Becca Heteniak leads the Blue Demons with a .643 average, with 10 RBI and three home run... Heteniak has a career 0.71 ERA in 19.2 innings with 19 Ks... she has a perfect 4-0 record.
Taming the Missouri Tigers (45-9)
Making its 13th NCAA Championship after winning the Big 12 tournament and Regular Season titles... 6-4 in its last 10 games... three players (Shana White, Rhea Taylor and Marla Schweisberger) are all batting over .400 while the team’s .323 average ranks ninth in the nation... Taylor has a team-best 62 hits and is second on the team with a .413 average... White and Taylor have combined for 59 stolen bases, while the team is 122-142 on the basepath... pitching staff has a combined ERA of 1.31 and 311 Ks... Chelsea Thomas leads the four-women pitching staff with a 1.14 ERA in 116.2 innings of work... Stacy Delaney has thrown a team-high 118.0 innings... the series between DePaul and Missouri is knotted at six, but DePaul has won all three meetings in the NCAA Championship including two in 2007... Becca Heteniak is 1-0 against the Tigers and has allowed just four hits in six innings of work... Amber Patton is 3-for-6 against the Tigers while Jackie Tarulli-Fisher has a pair of RBI.
14th NCAA Tournament... 36-27 all-time at the NCAA Championship play... reached the Regional finals eight times, while they have advanced to the Super Regional twice (2005, 07) ... playing at Missouri for the first time... last two seasons stayed in the state of Illinois (Carbondale Regional 07 and Evanston Regional 08) for the Regionals... 11-4 all-time in opening round games... last first round loss was to Notre Dame in 2004 in Ann Arbor, Michigan... are 10-10 when facing the Regional host school... went 1-2 against Northwestern in 2009 in Evanston... Becca Heteniak is 4-2 in NCAA Championship games... her two losses were to Northwestern in 2008... in 13 NCAA games (eight in 2007, five in 2008) Amber Patton is batting a team-high .400 with 16 hits... Jackie Tarulli-Fisher has a team-best eight RBI with a pair of home runs.
BIG EAST Championship
The Blue Demons were the No. 1 seed for the second time in four years... hold a 7-3 championship record... has won each of its four first round games... outscored its opponents in first round games 23-4, while two of the four 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 11-for-32 (.343) in 10 BIG EAST Championship games... Jackie Tarulli-Fisher has also played in10 games while she is 8-for-27 (.296) with a four RBI... Heteniak is 5-2 all-time in championship games... she has tallied career-high 14 Ks twice at the Championship... Heteniak tallied 14 in DePaul’s opening round games in 2008 (vs. Pittsburgh 11 innings) and in 2009 (vs. Seton Hall 7 innings)... Jackie Tarulli-Fisher, Patton and Heteniak were all named to the All-Tournament team in 2009.
The BIG EAST Conference
69-19 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) this season 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.
Finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award
On May 6, Amber Patton was selected as one of the 10 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. 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. Patton is the first BIG EAST Player to reach the top 10, while DePaul’s Lindsay Chouinard (2000-03) made the list in 2003.
All Conference Accolades
Junior Becca Heteniak picked up her third consecutive major award in 2009... Heteniak won her second straight Pitcher of the Year Award after holding league batters to a stingy .160 average... Heteniak was named to the first team as a pitcher and utility player... Heteniak boasts a 23-6 record and leads DePaul with 47 RBI... Amber Patton picked up her four All-Conference accolade... she earned first team as junior and senior while she was a second-team selection as a freshman and sophomore... Tara Voss and Jackie Tarulli-Fisher both earned third team honors for the second time in their career... DePaul coaches, Eugene Lenti, Liz Jagielski, Cat Osterman and Sam Findlay were honored as the Coaching Staff of the Year... the coaching staff also picked up the honor in 2007... since 2006 when DePaul has won the Pitcher of the Year three times (2007, 08, 09)... Tracie Adix (2004-07) won the award in 2007.
DePaul softball players, Amber Patton and Becca Heteniak were named first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District and will now appear on the national ballot and are eligible to be Academic All-Americans... they are the program’s 28th and 29th all-district selections while 17 have gone on to be named Academic All-Americans... Heteniak is a junior majoring in mathematics and boasts a 3.69 GPA... Patton is majoring in marketing and has a 3.38 GPA.
High on Heteniak
Becca Heteniak won her second consecutive BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year Award this season... she is averaging 7.72 strikeouts per seven innings of work... tied a career- high with 14 Ks against Seton Hall in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship... she also had 14 strikeouts at the 2008 Championship in DePaul’s 11-inning 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh... she has 219 Ks this season... her opponents average .171 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... 714 career strike outs ranks as the second most behind Lindsay Chouinard (2000-03)... she has 858.
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
Taking the Free Pass to First
Becca Heteniak has taken 38 walks (0.78 per game) this season which ranks 13th in the country and is the most in the BIG EAST Conference... she averages 0.78 walks per game... the junior’s 42 career walks in BIG EAST regular season 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 Offensive Record Book
This has been a historic season for Patton as her senior numbers will be all over the record book... her .509 average and .554 on base percentage both rank number one... her 85 hits heading in the NCAAs ranks second while she holds the record with 87 hits (2008)... her career average of .398 (266-for-669) and her .452 on base percentage both rank second... her career 266 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.
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 147 RBI which ranks fifth all-time. Missy Nowak (1992-95) holds the school record with 180 career RBI... she needs two more to tie Kristina Luna’s 149 career RBI... her 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.
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 seventh 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.
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.