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USL Hold Off DePaul For 1999 Leadoff Classic Title


COLUMBUS, GA - With five top 10 teams among the 12 nationally-ranked teams competing in the 1999 NFCA Leadoff Classic, few people would have predicted the Gold Bracket Championship Game would come down to 11th-ranked DePaul and unranked Southwestern Louisiana.

Tiffany Clark doubled home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning and tournament most valuable player Melissa Coronado scattered seven hits as Southwestern Louisiana defeated DePaul 2-1 to win the 1999 NFCA Leadoff Classic Sunday at South Commons Stadium in Columbus.

DePaul (9-3) struck first as Julie Luna singled with two outs in the top of the first inning. Pinch-runner Tatum Allen stole second and scored on a single by Toni Campbell to give the Blue Demons an early 1-0 lead. The run was the first allowed by Coronado in the classic.

USL (11-1) answered in a hurry as Jael Dugas led off with a single to center. A fielding error put runners on second and third, and Dugas scored the tying run when Clark grounded out to second.

Southwestern Louisiana threatened in the second and third innings, but left two runners on base in each inning. The Lady Cajuns broke the tie in the fifth inning when Jerie Alexander reached on an error for the second time in the game. Clark followed with a double to left-center field to put USL ahead 2-1. Clark, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, drove in both USL runs.

DePaul threatened in the top of the sixth as Luna led off with a single for her second hit of the game. One out later, Campbell doubled down the left field line to put runners on second and third. Dana Jackusz walked to load the bases with one out, but Coronado pitched out of the jam with a strikeout and a fly out to left field.

DePaul had one last chance in the top of the seventh as Shavaughne Desecki led off the inning with a double to left center. Kim Dunlap, who tossed a shutout in USLís semifinal victory over Oklahoma, replaced Coronado on the mound. After a ground out moved Desecki to third, Dunlap retired the nexttwo batters on a strikeout and a ground out to preserve the win and record her first save of the season. Dunlap was also named to the All-Tournament Team.

Southwestern Louisiana, which was the 37th-highest vote-getter in the NFCA/USA Today Preseason Poll, defeated four top 25 teams in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The Lady Cajuns advanced to the championship game with a 4-0 victory Sunday over Oklahoma, which was tied with DePaul for 11th in the preseason poll. Jana Mower drove in three runs with a double and sacrifice fly and Kim Dunlap pitched a seven-hitter.

DePaul took advantage of gusty winds, converting seven Washington errors into six unearned runs for a 6-2 semifinal victory Sunday over the No. 4 Huskies. Nicole Terpstra allowed five runs in six and two-thirds innings for the victory, her third of the classic.>

The performance of the day may have come in the consolation championship of the Gold Bracket. Stanfordís Marcy Crouch retired all 15 batters she faced to lead the Cardinal to an 8-0 victory over South Carolina. Crouchís perfect game was the first in the four-year history of the NFCA Leadoff Classic.

Amanda Scott tossed a four-hitter as Fresno State defeated Arizona State 4-0 in the Silver Bracket Championship Game. Colorado State struck for four runs in the top of the seventh to give the Rams a 5-2 victory over Southern Illinois in the consolation championship of the Silver Bracket. Danielle Henderson recorded 14 strikeouts and Mandy Galas went 3-for-3 to lead Massachusetts to a 2-1 victory over Central Michigan in the Bronze Bracket Championship Game. Megan Biddle scattered eight hits and helped her own cause with a run-scoring single as Connecticut defeated Hofstra 2-1 in the consolation championship of the Bronze Bracket.