DePaul Advances over Illinois

Playing in Saturday's first elimination game was not where the DePaul softball team wanted to be, but after being upset by Bradley 1-0 on Friday, the Demons knew they had a mountain to climb to win the Columbia (Mo.) Regional. That climb was to begin with a game against their downstate rival, Illinois.

The game between the state rivals turned out to be a pitchers duel between DePaul's Becca Heteniak and Illinois' Monica Perry, well that was until the sixth inning. Pitcher Becca Heteniak led off the fifth inning with a single and she was followed by Simone Ashkar getting hit by a pitch. With the Demons up 2-0 already, Brittney Yniquez stepped up to the plate and hit a three-run home run to give the Demons a 5-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning.

DePaul, the designated visiting team, got first cracks against the Illini hurler, who earlier in the morning pitched against Missouri. Coach Eugene Lenti surprised everybody by starting Jackie Tarulli-Fisher in the leadoff position instead of the usual Amber Patton, who batted second.

The first two Demon hitters, Tarulli-Fisher and Patton, couldn't muster anything against Perry, bringing up the pitcher, Heteniak. Heteniak accounted for DePaul's lone hit through the first three innings, when she dropped a single into right field. Unfortunately, Simone Ashkar left her stranded there, as she flied out in the next at bat.

After mowing down the side in the first, Heteniak struck out two in the bottom of the second, despite allowing a single, but that didn't come back to do any damage, as the next batter grounded out.

Both pitchers went through easy 1-2-3 innings in the third frame. The Demons looked to have something brewing when Ashkar knocked a single to center with one out. Sarah Shizas was brought in to pinch-run for Ashkar, but after she was caught stealing, designated player Lauren Frankiewicz struck out to end the side. After Hope Howell started the Illini fourth off with a single, Heteniak was able to get two quick outs before walking Kelley Wendel, putting the first runner in scoring position for either team. Fortunately for DePaul, Jamie Adishian lined out to left field to end the scoring threat.

Things were looking good for the Demons in the fifth when they put two runners on base after Alex Morocco reached on an error and Tara Voss was hit by a pitch. The Demons were able to strike first when Shea Warren's double scored Morocco and Tarulli-Fisher's groundout to third scored Voss. Patton grounded out to end the inning stranding Warren on third. But going into the bottom of the fifth, it was 2-0 Demons.

After getting two quick outs, Heteniak allowed Ashley Conrad to reach on an infield single. That was for naught though after Danielle Zymkowitz lined out to center to end the fifth inning.

Heteniak set Illinois down in order in their half of the sixth, leaving the Illini with three outs to make up the deficit.

Tarulli-Fisher then dealt a blow in the seventh with her 11th home run of the season.

The Demons look to avenge yesterday's loss to Bradley at 6:30 tonight.

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