DePaul Faces No. 15 Arkansas Friday in NCAA Tournament
May 16, 2018

DePaul at No. 15 Arkansas
May 18 | 4 p.m. CT
Live Stats | Live Video

DePaul vs. Wichita State/Oklahoma State
May 19 | TBA

NCAA Tournament: Fayetteville Regional
Bogle Park | Fayetteville, Ark.
Tournament Central
Game Notes: DePaul

CHICAGO – The DePaul softball team returns to the NCAA tournament for its 20th trip all-time this Friday, heading to the Fayetteville Regional to face off with No. 15 Arkansas at 4 p.m. Wichita State and Oklahoma State are joining the Blue Demons and host Razorbacks for the double-elimination regional with a trip to the Super Regional on the line.

DePaul is fresh off capturing back-to-back BIG EAST tournament titles after sweeping through Villanova and Creighton last weekend.  The Blue Demons, who also captured the BIG EAST’s regular-season title with a 15-3 mark in league play, enter the Fayetteville Regional on a five-game winning streak and hold a 35-15 record.  

The Blue Demons racked up seven All-BIG EAST selections, including two top honors as Kate Polucha was named the BIG EAST’s Freshman of the Year while Pat Moore was tabbed the conference’s Pitcher of the Year. During the BIG EAST tournament, senior Megan Leyva stepped up for the Blue Demons, driving in four runs on three hits to be named the championship’s Most Outstanding Player.

In the clutch, Leyva drove in DePaul’s game-winning run against Villanova with an RBI-single to center and powered a three-run home run in the championship game against Creighton. Joining Leyva on the All-Tournament team were Angela Scalzitti, starting pitcher Missy Zoch, and Polucha.  Scalzitti had a dominant tournament run as well as the center fielder drove in six runs on three hits, including a three-run home run against the Wildcats.

Zoch has been the ace of DePaul’s pitching staff in 2018. The sophomore tallied 16 wins in 26 appearances while posting a 2.06 ERA in 136 innings of work. The right-hander has struck out 134 batters this season and has tallied four shutouts and 14 complete games. Moore has also been effective for the Blue Demons as the left-hander carries a pitching staff best 1.90 ERA. Moore tallied a 12-5 record in 29 appearances while picking up three saves in relief. The Medford, Ore., native leads DePaul with 155 strikeouts in 121.2 innings of work where opponents are batting just .192 against her.

Arkansas enters the matchup with DePaul as the NCAA’s 13th-overall seed, carrying a 39-15 record after falling to then-ranked #12 South Carolina in the semifinals of the SEC tournament. The Razorbacks went 12-12 in conference play against the nation’s toughest conference. For the second season in a row, all 13 of the SEC’s softball programs received selections to the NCAA tournament.

As a unit, the Razorbacks carry a .283 batting average where Hannah McEwen has led Arkansas with a .345, driving in a squad-best 53 runs on 59 hits. McEwen, who earned All-SEC Second Team and SEC All-Freshman Team selections in 2018, is joined by classmate Mary Haff as a dual threat for the Razorbacks. Haff, who was named to the SEC All-Tournament, helped guide Arkansas to its first SEC tournament victory since 2001 against #19 Kentucky before downing #8 Georgia to reach the tournament semifinals.  Katie Warrick joined Haff on the SEC All-Tournament Team and carries a .339 batting average in 2018. The junior tallied 38 hits while posting a team-best .625 slugging percentage.

Arkansas’ pitching duo of Haff and Autumn Storms has combined for 38 of the team’s 39 wins this season. While the Razorback pitching staff as a whole carries a 2.27 ERA, Haff has led the group with a 1.48 ERA, tallying nine shutouts, 17 complete games, and a 26-6 record with two saves in 40 appearances. The right-hander has mowed down 226 batters in 189 innings of works where teams are hitting a mere .158 against her.

DePaul is 1-0 all-time against the Razorbacks, winning the only meeting in 1998 with a 6-2 tally.

Wichita State comes into the Fayetteville Regional with a 30-21 mark, having lost to sixth-seeded Tulsa in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference championship tournament.  WSU picked up three wins against Top 25 opponents in 2018 and is the only team in the Fayetteville Regional to have faced multiple regional participants during the regular season.  The Shockers are 3-0 against regional foes, downing Arkansas 1-0 while taking two victories against Oklahoma State with 5-3 and 9-6 wins.  

The Shockers, who are making their fourth NCAA Regional appearance in school history (1986, 2005, 2016, 2018), are led by the American Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year, Mackenzie Wright. The senior utility player has powered her way to a .377 batting average while starting all 51 games for Wichita State.  Her 61 hits in 2018 lead the Shockers. Wright went 8-for-11 in stolen base attempts on the season and scored on 36 occasions.

While Wichita State’s five-woman pitching staff totals a 3.40 ERA, junior Bailey Lange has led the Shockers with an 18-12 mark and 2.82 ERA. The left-hander has struck out 178 batters in 188.2 innings of work and has surrendered 103 runs, 76 earned, on 180 hits. Opponents are batting .244 against the South Dakota native, tallying 19 doubles, 12 triples, and nine home runs on the season.

The Shockers own the only meeting with the Blue Demons, narrowly defeating DePaul in a 6-5 result in 1993.

Oklahoma State finished with a 38-20 record prior to regional play after winning two out of its three games at the BIG 12 tournament while going 12-6 in conference play during the regular season. This year's selection marks OSU’s 21st all-time postseason appearance and third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Vanessa Shippy has been the backbone of the Cowgirls’ offense this season as the two-time All-American has boasted a .460 batting average while recording a team-high 74 hits in 161 at-bats. The senior has been named as one of 10 finalists for the 2018 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. The two-time Big 12 Player of the Year (2016, 2018) walked on 55 occasions this season and posted a .646 slugging percentage in 58 games.

OSU’s trio of starting pitchers, consisting of Emmie Robertson, Logan Simunek, and Samantha Clakley, is posting a 2.61 ERA as a unit. The group has tallied 207 strikeouts in 370.2 innings of work.  Clakley, a Second Team All-Big 12 selection, leads the Cowgirls with 16 wins and has 12 complete games in 25 starts this season.

The Cowgirls lead the all-time battle with DePaul 5-1, winning the last four meetings against the Blue Demons. OSU and DePaul last met in 2016 where the Cowgirls picked up two wins against the Blue Demons. Oklahoma State won its Feb. 13 meeting at the CenturyLink Classic in San Marcos, Texas with a 3-0 result while sweeping the season series against the Royal Blue and Scarlet with a 7-2 victory at the Michele Smith Invitational in Clearwater, Fla., on Feb. 20.

This weekend's regional winner advances to the Super Regional to face the winner of the Norman Regional that features the host No. 4 Oklahoma along with Boston, Tulsa, and Missouri.

Tickets for the NCAA Fayetteville Regional are currently on sale for the general public. Of note, there is a clear-bag policy for fans at Bogle Park. For more information, please contact the Razorback Ticket Center at 479-575-5151.

Pricing for the Fayetteville Regional
All-Session General Admission
Adult: $25
Youth: $15

Single-Day General Admission
Adult: $10
Youth: $6
Students: $5


 

 

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