Tara Oltman and Renae Sinkler from the Creighton softball team were named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Associations All-Midwest Region team. Creighton in at Missouri to play the Tigers tonight at 6:30 central. Here is the scouting report on host Missouri, and fellow opponents Illinois and DePaul.
For the 14th time in school history, and fifth time in the last six years, the Missouri Tigers softball team has been selected to participate in the 64-team NCAA Tournament, beginning with the NCAA Regionals this weekend. The University of Missouri was selected as one of 16 regional hosts, marking the third time since 2005 that Columbia will serve as host of first round action. The Tigers have been selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four years under head coach Ehren Earleywine. Joining the Tigers this year are Illinois, DePaul and Creighton. Illinois and DePaul participated in the Columbia Regional last season. Mizzou took home the title last year.}
Illinois enters the Regional as the No. 2 seed after posting an impressive 43-6 record during the regular season. They have the fifth-best team batting average in the country (.329), average 7.02 runs per game, the seventh most in all of NCAA and have the third best winning percentage in the nation (.878).
Three of Illinois’ starters are hitting over .400 this season, contributing to that impressively high team batting average. Danielle Zymkowitz, Meredith Hackett and Hope Howell have each hit over .400 this year, with Zymkowitz leading the way at .421. Zymkowitz has also stolen 35-of-36 bases this year. Hackett’s average stands at .418, and she’s blasted a team-high 15 home runs this season and has driven in 55 runs. Her slugging percentage stands at .816, while she gets on base at a .514 mark. Howell has posted a .416 average this year with six homers and 38 driven in.
Monica Perry gets most of the action in the circle, as she’s made 28 starts this season. Her record is 23-5, her ERA stands at 2.30, and she’s completed 13 games this year. Opponents hit .228 off her, and she’s registered 163 strikeouts while allowing 60 walks. Pepper Gay, a freshman, has started 17 times this year while appearing in 28 games. Gay is 16-1 on the year with a 1.53 ERA. In 105.0 innings pitched she has 105 strikeouts and 49 walks. Opponents are batting .222 off her this season.
The DePaul Blue Demons had a 38-16 finish while going 18-3 in Big East play to tie for first place during the regular season sent DePaul to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season and 13th time in the last 14 years.
The offense has posted a .285 team batting average this season, while six of their regulars are hitting over .300. Leading the way is Sean Plese, whose .356 average tops the team. Tara Voss is the top offensive player for the Blue Demons, as she comes into the regional with a .325 batting average, nine home runs, 33 RBI, a .401 on base percentage and a .556 slugging percentage. Voss’ nine home runs lead all DePaul hitters.
The Blue Demon pitching staff is far and away their strong point, as their three pitchers have combined for a 2.07 ERA while limiting hitters to a miniscule .198 batting average. Becca Heteniak is the ace whose record stands at 20-10 with a 1.77 ERA in 31 appearances this season. In 177.2 innings she’s struck out 204 hitters while walking only 57. The other main Blue Demon pitcher is Bree Brown, who has put together a 2.43 ERA to go with her 16-5 record while also appearing 31 times. In 149.2 innings, Brown has recorded 186 strikeouts with only 47 walks. Brown and Heteniak have combined to throw 34 complete games this season.