On a brisk Saturday afternoon, DePaul Blue Demons softball (15-14, 2-2 Big East) split a double header against the Seton Hall Pirates (15-12-1, 2-3). The sounds of various Seton Hall lead cheers were the dominant sound of the first seven-inning outing as the Pirates commanded the first game, winning 10-5.
DePaul Freshman pitcher Missy Zoch got the start in the game for DePaul, but was pulled in the third inning after giving up 5 runs in the first two frames. DePaul struggled to get going in the beginning, not scoring until the fourth inning, but then outscored Seton Hall 5-4 from then until the end of the game. Head coach Eugine Lenti attributed this to the players being able to settle in against the pitcher.
“It was just seeing the pitcher more and that’s really all it is,” Lenti said. “And just sticking to the game plan. We’re trying to hit ground balls or fly balls or line drives up the middle, so when your focus is on the middle you have a better chance to get on. Then we just started to string some things together.”
Game two went much better for the Demons, who won 4 to 0 behind Kennedy Garcia’s dominant pitching. Garcia had a no hitter going for a good while before allowing a double in the middle of the fifth inning. That would be her only hit allowed throughout the game, as she would shut out the Pirates, while striking out five batters. After the game though, Garcia immediately began thanking her teammates.
“It helps having a defense like that behind you,” she said. “And we have two pitching coaches on staff to help us through out everything. And I’ve been in a funk so just to go out here and just have a clear mind and just reset, it was nice.”
Lenti thought that Garcia was able to get out of her funk because she was playing more to her strengths. This allowed the defense to succeed after some mental mistakes were made in the first game.
“They were hitting ground balls. You’re getting ahead of the count, you’re getting ground ball outs, you’re getting the ball hit at people. It’s an easy game, it’s her game…and the defense played great behind her. First game we had three errors, second game we had none and that’s why you can put a zero on the board,” Lenti said. “And she did a great job against their top three hitters. Their top three hitters were 10/14 the first game, that’s why you lose, and they were 0/5 in the second game. That’s the difference in the ballgame, when you can do what she did.”
This is a team sport though and the rest of the team did come up with the four runs. Lenti gave them a pep talk after the struggle of the first game, noting that they had faced a lot of diversity, but this was the time to step up.
“We talked to them about, you have to play with a greater sense of urgency,” he said. “We’re fighting for our lives here. It’s been an up and down, roller coaster type of a season…We challenged Kennedy to go out there and lead from the mound and she did a great job and then the offense responded…and it was tough for them to come back after that.”
The teams conclude the series tomorrow at noon.