DePaul Wins Big East Softball Championship

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 20/23 DePaul softball team wrapped up the school's first BIG EAST Conference Championship with a 4-1 victory over USF in the championship game at the University of Louisville's Ulmer Stadium. With the win the Blue Demons earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Demons improve to 48-16 behind the arm of right-handed pitcher Becca Heteniak. Heteniak was named the Championship's Most Valuable Player, while Amber Patton, Jackie Tarulli-Fisher and Alex Morocco were named to the all-tournament team.

Locked in a pitchers duel, Heteniak and USF's Courtney Mosch combined for four and a half scoreless innings before the Blue Demons were able to post a run in the bottom of the fourth.

Sandy Vojik and Heteniak led off the fourth with singles to prompt a USF pitching change. BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, Capri Catalano entered the ballgame, but Tarulli-Fisher had her number and laced a RBI single through the right side to score a sprinting Vojik from second.

The Bulls threatened in the top of the sixth. Aya Nakajima led off the frame with single, but Heteniak, with the help of her defense, would retire the next two batters with foul flyouts. With two outs, Brita Giddons sent a high fly ball to left field, but it was misjudged by Blue Demon left fielder Stephanie Blagaich which placed runners at first and third. USF would leave both runners stranded as the next batter grounded out to end the threat.

Getting out of the top of the inning energized the Blue Demons as they added three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Tarulli-Fisher singled before Lauren Frankiewicz was hit by a pitch and Blagaich drew a four pitch walk to load the bases for pinch hitter Marie Thompson. Thompson battled to a 2-2 count before she roped a two RBI single into the gap in right center to give DePaul a 3-0 advantage.

Still in the sixth, Shea Warren reached on a perfectly placed bunt single and with the bases loaded; Amber Patton was hit by a pitch for the Blue Demons fourth run of the ballgame.

Down to their last three outs, the Bulls made things interesting as Alison Savarese reached on Heteniak's first walk of the ballgame. Savarese would come around to score on Nakajima's RBI single. USF would leave two more runners stranded as Heteniak got the final batter to ground out.

With the victory, Heteniak improves to 31-6 as she logged her 28th complete game of the season. The sophomore All-American struck out nine, walked one and allowed five hits.

Mosch (17-8) took the loss for the Bulls. The pitching duo of Mosch and Catalano struck out five, walked two and scattered eight hits.

The Blue Demons await the NCAA Championship selection show on Sunday, May 11. The selection show will be aired live on ESNPU at 9 p.m. (CST).

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