Blue Demons Eliminated from the NCAA Tournament
EVANSTON, Ill. The No. 19/21 DePaul softball team was eliminated from the NCAA Evanston Regional with a 3-2 loss to No. 11/11 Northwestern at Sharon J. Drysdale Field on Sunday. The Blue Demons finish the season 51-18, while the Wildcats improve to 40-14 and advance to the NCAA Super Regional.
The Blue Demons out hit the Wildcats six to four, but left eight runners stranded compared to Northwestern's two. Amber Patton led the Blue Demons with a 2-for-4 effort, while Sean Plese, Sandy Vojik, Stephanie Blagaich and Alex Morocco all recorded hits in the loss.
DePaul starter Becca Heteniak retired the first nine batters she faced in game two, but Jordan Wheeler halted the streak in the top of the fourth with a single to right field. With a runner on, it was dj vu for Tammy Williams, who gave Northwestern a 2-0 lead with a home run to left center. Williams also knocked two-run home run in game one.
Plese, who already had a hit in the ballgame, reached on an error to begin the Blue Demon fourth. Plese moved to second on Vojik’s groundout and then to third on a pass ball. Jackie Tarulli-Fisher and Heteniak joined Plese on the basepath with a walk and a hit by a pitch, but the next two batters would pop out to shortstop to leave the bases juiced and the Wildcats with a 2-0 advantage.
Northwestern added an insurance run in the fifth on Wheeler’s RBI double to left center.
DePaul had some fun in the bottom of fifth and pulled within one on Vojik’s two-RBI double down the left field line. Blagaich started the Blue Demon rally with a single to shallow right center and Patton dumped an infield single to put runners on with two outs. Vojik’s double was her 10th of the season.
With the Blue Demon bats doing their work, Heteniak heated up and struck out the Northwestern side to head to the bottom of the sixth, down by just one run.
DePaul could not produce a run in the sixth after Lauren Frankiewicz reached on an error at shortstop with one out. The next two batters battled, but could not get it done as they both grounded out.
Heteniak continued her strikeout brigade and struck out two of the last three batters she faced. The sophomore All-American finished the contest with eight strikeouts. Heteniak walked one and allowed just four hits in her 30th complete game of the season. She finished her sophomore campaign with 33-8 record. Her 33 wins tied the school record for wins in a single-season, while her 315 Ks and 48 appearances are the new school records.
Refusing to let the season come to a close, DePaul’s number nine hitter Morocco led off the seventh with a single to shallow left center and Patton followed with a single that moved Morocco to third.
Still with one out in the seventh, Vojik lined a shot down the right field line, but it landed six inches foul for an exciting strike two. Vojik grounded into a fielder's choice for the second out of the inning.
Down the final strike, Northwestern's starter Lauren Delaney would get the last Blue Demon batter to strike out. Delaney (37-9) struck out four and walked one in her complete game performance.
Today's game marked the final one for Blue Demon seniors Katie Hanson, Marcy Wilus and Vojik. The trio made two trips to Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series and won a BIG EAST Conference regular season and tournament title.