Feb. 10, 2014
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Six BIG EAST softball teams headed to warmer climates this weekend as the 2014 season got under way across the league. In the season’s inaugural edition of BIG EAST weekly softball awards, Seton Hall’s Meredith Henze was named Player of the Week, while DePaul’s Kirsten Verdun earned Pitcher of the Week accolades. Additionally, five earned spots on the honor roll.
BIG EAST Player of the Week
Meredith Henze, Sr., 3B, Seton Hall
Henze led the Pirates in nearly every offensive category through four games at the Campbell University Hampton Inn Stampede Tournament in Buies Creek, N.C. The senior third baseman batted .556, with an on-base percentage of .636 to go with a league-leading slugging percentage of 1.667. She tallied a team-high six RBI, scored five runs and belted three home runs to tie for the BIG EAST season lead. Henze’s batting averaging was tied for highest among BIG EAST players in the opening weekend of play, with a minimum of six plate appearances.
BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week
Kirsten Verdun, Sr., LHP, DePaul
Verdun made three appearances in the circle at the Felsberg Memorial hosted by FIU in Miami, Fla., and went 3-0. The senior pitched back-to-back three-hitters against Jacksonville and the host Panthers, boasting a 0.64 earned run average while striking out 28 and walking just three through 22 innings of work. All three of Verdun’s appearances were complete games, including an eight-inning showing against FIU to claim the championship crown. It marked her 75th career win.
BIG EAST Honor Roll
Staci Bonezek, Jr., INF/C, DePaul
Bonezek tied with Henze for the highest BA last week with a .556 average. She knocked in a pair of runs and recorded two multiple-hit games to go along with three walks and three stolen bases.
Becca Changstrom, Sr., RHP, Creighton
Liz Dike, Jr., INF, Creighton
Changstrom went 2-1 and added a save over 20.2 innings of work in Tempe, showing a 2.03 ERA. She struck out 22, including six in an upset win over No. 24 Cal and six against Western Michigan, which was a complete game shutout.
Dike batted .333 against a solid group of opponents at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Her weekend was highlighted by going 2-for-4 at the plate against nationally ranked Cal (No. 24) as the Bluejays earned the upset win thanks in part to Dike’s three RBI.
Lauren O’Leary, Jr., Jr., RHP, Georgetown
O’Leary made a pair of starts in the circle in Ft. Myers, Fla., including GU’s season-opening win over Liberty in which she threw a complete game and recorded seven strikeouts. On the weekend, she recorded a 1.62 ERA over 13 innings of work.
Jackie Reed, Sr., 1B, St. John’s
Reed batted .400 at the FAU Kick-Off Classic, knocking in a pair of home runs. The senior went 2-for-4 in a 6-3 win over Ohio State, and 2-for-3 against the host Owls in a 3-2 win.