USF softball takes on top-seeded DePaul
USF's softball team, coming off a wild, nine-inning comeback win against Syracuse, faces top-seeded DePaul at noon today in the semifinals of the Big East tournament at Louisville. The game will be televised on CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV), with live stats and live blogging at Bigeast.org.
Facing DePaul will likely mean facing two-time Big East pitcher of the year Becca Heteniak, who went 12-2 with a 1.17 ERA in conference play. Heteniak pitched a complete-game four-hit shutout in Thursday's win against Seton Hall, but has pitched on back-to-back days regularly this season.
The next challenge is leadoff hitter Amber Patton, who set a Big East record with 41 hits this season while leading the league with a .577 average. Patton accounted for DePaul's only run Thursday, tripling to lead off the sixth inning and scoring on an RBI single.
Freshman Candace Howell will get the start today against the Blue Demons -- she pitched 1.2 innings of one-hit scoreless relief in Thursday's win against Syracuse and has given up just one run in her last seven appearances, though none has been longer than 2.1 innings.
USF entered the week ranked No. 48 in the NCAA's RPI ratings -- a win against DePaul (RPI 18) would help the Bulls' chances at an at-large berth for NCAA regionals. DePaul (18), Louisville (15) and Notre Dame (28) are probably safe bets to make the NCAA field after reaching the Big East semifinals. USF is rated slightly higher at No. 44 in WarrenNolan.com's rankings.
We'll post updates on today's game this afternoon ...