DePaul Athletics/Steve Woltmann
Coming off a rain-shortened split with Villanova, DePaul was back in action Tuesday evening when they took on Illinois State. Both teams entered the game atop their conferences but it would be the Redbirds who came out on top, 7-2.
Illinois State got on the board early in the bottom of the second inning. With runners on second and third, Mack Leonard doubled to center to drive in two. Kaili Chval followed it up with an RBI single to center to score Leonard.
Redbirds’ starting pitcher Morgan Day was cruising and flirting with a no-hitter entering the fourth. But DePaul’s Kate Polucha led off the inning with a solo home run to end the no-hit bid and the shutout.
The Blue Demons crawled back into the game during the top of the sixth. Angela Scalzitti singled to left but made it all the way to third base on a bobble from the left fielder and the ensuing throw getting away from the second baseman. Polucha then picked up her second RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to one.
The game got out of hand for the visitors as Illinois State put up a four-spot in the bottom of the sixth. Krista Dalgarn, who came in relief of the starter Natalie Halvorson, kept DePaul in the game up until that point but was greeted with back-to-back homers from Spenser Strandgard and Brandi LaFountaine.
The wheels continued to fall off for DePaul as an error allowed Chloe Jefferson to reach second base. Reili Gardner doubled to right center to score pinch-runner Madi Bylak. Leonard then picked up her second RBI of the game with a hit to right field to drive in Gardner.
Day allowed an infield single with two outs in the seventh inning but got Nicole Sullivan to striked out for the final out of the inning.
The DePaul bats were stymied throughout the game by Day who threw a complete game allowing only two runs on three hits while striking out 15.
Polucha was the offensive hero for the Blue Demons as she accounted for both of DePaul’s runs. Halvorson took the loss to drop her record to 5-4 on the season.
DePaul’s record falls to 16-9 overall but remains 7-1 in the Big East conference. Their next game is back at Cacciatore Stadium as they are set for a weekend series against Creighton.