Blue Demons Top Western Illinois, Advance to Regional Final
EVANSTON, Ill. The No. 19/21 DePaul softball team used 13 hits in its 6-0 victory over Western Illinois in the losers bracket final at the NCAA Evanston Regional, Saturday at Northwestern's Sharon J. Drysdale Field. The Blue Demons (50-17) advance to the Regional Final and play Northwestern on Sunday at noon.
Jackie Tarulli-Fisher led the Blue Demon's offensive charge with a 3-for-4 effort and a pair of RBI. Sean Plese, Sandy Vojik and Marcy Wilus each finished the afternoon with a two hits. DePaul's 13 hits ties the school record for hits in a NCAA Championship game.
The Blue Demons got on the board in the first inning. With two outs, Vojik and Tarulli-Fisher roped back-to-back doubles to give DePaul its first run of the ballgame.
DePaul continued to produce in the top of the third. Amber Patton reached on an error and Plese laid down a beautiful bunt to put the first two runners on base for the Blue Demons. Both runners moved on a wild pitch and with ducks on the pond, Vojik dropped a RBI double into shallow left center to give DePaul a 2-0 advantage.
DePaul loaded the bases for designated player Lauren Frankiewicz, who drilled a shot at WIU shortstop, Lauren Furgala. With two outs and the bases juiced in the third, Furgala made a hasty throw which sailed past her first baseman and allowed two more Blue Demon runs to score.
DePaul starter Becca Heteniak retired her first seven batters, three of them with strikeouts before walking a pair of Westerwinds with one out in the third frame. Heteniak got the next two batters to pop and ground out, respectively to end Western Illinois’ scoring threat.
With the Blue Demons doing their best offensive work with two outs, Patton followed suit and reached on a bunt single. The hit was Patton’s 82nd of the season which ties DePaul’s single-season hit record. The Blue Demons would leave two runners stranded as Vojik flied out to left to end the inning.
Up four runs, Tarulli-Fisher sent a sky-high fly ball over the left field fence to give the Blue Demons a 5-0 advantage in the fifth. The long ball was the eighth of the season for Tarulli-Fisher, who leads DePaul with 40 RBI.
The Blue Demons tacked on their final run in the fifth on Marie Thompson’s pinch hit, RBI single to left field.
Up six runs in the sixth, Lindsey Dean entered the circle for DePaul. Dean scattered two hits, struck out two and walked one to close out the game for the Blue Demons
Heteniak picked up the win and improved to 33-7 on the season. In five innings of work the sophomore All-American allowed just one hit, struck out six and walked three.
Courtney Jacobson (4-9) suffered the complete game loss for the Westerwinds (15-33). She struck out one and walked one, while only three of the Blue Demons six runs were earned.
Coming out of the losers bracket, the Blue Demons must defeat Northwestern twice to advance to the Super Regional. The Wildcats sent DePaul to the losers bracket with 6-0 victory earlier today. This season the Blue Demons and Northwestern have split their two meetings; each winning at their respective fields.