DePaul Falls to Bradley in Opening Game
COLUMBIA, Mo. Bradley won its first ever NCAA Tournament game and sent 15th seeded DePaul to the loser's bracket with a 1-0 win Friday at the Columbia Regional at Missouri’s University Field. The Blue Demons (37-13) will play the loser of Missouri and Illinois on Saturday 4 p.m.
The Braves (26-26) struck first in the top of the second. After DePaul starter Becca Heteniak (24-8) retired the first two batters, Julie Sherman reached on an infield single and stole second to put herself in scoring position for Bradley’s number eight hitter Anne Creighton. Creighton sent an RBI single to center which gave the Braves its final 1-0 margin of victory.
DePaul put itself in a position to tie the game in the fourth and again in the seventh but it was unable to manufacture a run as four runners were left on the basepath, three were on third.
The Blue Demons left a pair of runners stranded in scoring position in the fourth. With two outs, Jackie Tarulli-Fisher was hit by a pitch and Heteniak drew a walk. Blue Demon pinch runner Sarah Shizas entered the game to run for Tarulli-Fisher and reached third when Bradley catcher Jacqueline Vitale threw the ball into center attempting to get Shizas on Heteniak’s ball four. Both runners were stranded when Frankiewicz was called out on strikes.
Blue Demon head coach Eugene Lenti went to his bench in the fifth as Simone Ashkar, Katelyn Braget, Samantha Morgan and Marla Mathews all pinch hit in the frame. Ashkar singled to right while Braget and Morgan both sacrificed to move pinch runner Tara Voss into scoring position. Mathews struck out and left the Blue Demons with just six outs to even the score.
Heteniak led off the seventh with a single up the middle, but was out at second on Shea Warren’s fielder’s choice. Warren moved to second a sacrifice and stole third with Annie Demas at the plate. Demas struck out and left the tying run 60 feet from home.
Ashley Birdsong (20-10) earned the complete game win. She gave up just three hits, while she struck out eight.
Heteniak suffered the loss as she allowed four hits, struck out five and walked a pair.
The Blue Demons will have to wait until tomorrow to find out their opponent as the Missouri/Illinois game was suspended in the first inning due to severe weather in the Columbia area. DePaul plays the loser of the Missouri/Illinois game.