DePaul softball sweeps UConn to extend winning streak to seven games

DePaul+junior+Gabby+O%27Riley+hits+the+ball+during+the+Blue+Demons+first+series+in+February.

DePaul Athletics/Steve Woltmann

DePaul junior Gabby O’Riley hits the ball during the Blue Demons first series in February.

Coming off a 7-5 win against Loyola University-Chicago, DePaul looked to continue its winning ways as it took on UConn at Cacciatore Stadium.

The Blue Demons carried a four-game winning streak heading into Friday’s doubleheader against the Huskies. They extended that streak and took both games.

In game one, DePaul broke through the stalemate in the third inning. With two outs, Jessica Cothern doubled to right-center field. Brooke Johnson singled to left field to drive in pinch runner Julyana Gomez. Maranda Gutierrez then delivered the highlight of the inning with a two-run blast to left-center field to give DePaul a 3-0 lead.

The Huskies got their lone run in the top of the fifth inning. After a bunt single by Hollis Wivell, Emily Piergustavo doubled to center to drive her in. Like DePaul, UConn did its damage with two outs.

The Blue Demons, however, answered back in their half of the inning. With runners on second and third, Gutierrez split the gap in right-center field to drive them in. Gutierrez had herself a game as she went 2-for-3, knocking in four of DePaul’s five runs.

Natalie Halvorson pitched four innings of one-run baseball with four strikeouts and no walks to improve her record to 4-3. Krista Dalgarn pitched the final two innings for DePaul, setting down the side in order in both frames.

DePaul had its work cut out for them in game two of the doubleheader as UConn put up a four spot in the top of the third inning.

Aziah James singled to center to knock in Reese Guevarra and took second in the process. With runners on first and third, Briana Marcelino hit a three-run home run to right-center to give UConn a 4-0 lead.

With runners on first and second, Johnson grounded out to third but Marcelino threw the ball away, allowing Kate Polucha to score on the error. An intentional walk to Gutierrez loaded the bases for DePaul with nobody out. It seemed like the Blue Demons were going to waste a golden opportunity but Nicole Sullivan drew a walk with two outs to score Cothern and cut the lead in half.

DePaul put up a four spot of their own in the bottom of the fourth. Polucha tripled with one out in the inning. Cothern followed up with an RBI double down the right field line to score Polucha. Johnson hit a rocket past the shortstop that went all the way to the wall to easily drive in pinch runner Audrey Tumbarello.

The Blue Demons weren’t done, as Gutierrez delivered another RBI double to drive in Johnson. Gabby O’Riley capped off the inning with a floating single over the head of the second baseman to drive in Gutierrez and give DePaul an insurance run.

Gomez picked up the win, throwing 4 ⅔ innings of one-hit, shut-out softball as DePaul won 6-4. 

DePaul completed the series sweep on Saturday, but like game two, it required the Blue Demons to play a bit of catch-up.

The Huskies got out to an early lead as they scored in the top of the first inning. WIth the bases loaded, Sami Barnett was hit by a pitch to knock in Aziah James.

DePaul erased that deficit and took the lead in the second. After a Gutierrez double, O’Riley homered to straight-away left field to give DePaul a 2-1 lead.

Angela Scalzitti’s solo home run in the third inning increased the lead before UConn answered with a solo home run of their own off the bat of Devon Casazza.

But the Blue Demons would have the final say. With two outs and runners on first and second in the fourth, Polucha rolled one to the right side. She beat the throw to first and in a heads-up play, Skylor Hilger managed to score all the way from second base. DePaul were up 4-2 and it would prove to be the final score as well. 

Dalgarn improved her record to 8-1. She threw 3 ⅓ innings, giving up only three hits and no runs.

Gutierrez had herself a standout series for DePaul as she finished the weekend going 5-for-7 with five RBIs.

With the three-game sweep, DePaul’s winning streak stands at seven. They improved their record to 14-7 and are a perfect 6-0 in Big East play. Following a few days off, DePaul returns to action on March 7 when it will host Northern Illinois.