DePaul softball completes weekend sweep over Butler

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DePaul Athletics/Jackson Cook

DePaul freshman Nicole Sullivan stands in the batters box during the Blue Demons’ series against Creighton

DePaul’s offense stayed red hot as it completed a three-game sweep over Butler to end the Big East regular season. 

Pitching was the theme of the series, as DePaul limited Butler to just two runs in 21 innings. The Blue Demons set the trend in the opening game.

DePaul’s Krista Dalgarn continued to prove why she’s the ace of the staff as she threw a complete game, allowing three hits in a shutout 2-0 victory.

The bats did just enough as DePaul played some small ball in the top of the fourth inning. 

Kate Polucha drew a walk with one out and Jessica Cothern laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her to second. Brooke Johnson then delivered a clutch two-out hit to left to drive in Polucha and break the deadlock.

Johnson was not done, as she belted a home run to left field for the all-important insurance run in the top of the seventh. That home run was her fifth of the season.

Dalgarn also notched her 11th win of the season.

The DePaul offense came to life in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and the Blue Demons came out on top 5-1.

Butler got things started with a run in the bottom of the first inning. The Bulldogs’ pitching kept DePaul in check up until the sixth inning where they managed to claw back and tie the game.

Cothern drew a leadoff walk and Johnson followed it up with a single to right. After a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third, Nicole Sullivan flew out to center to score pinch runner Erin Hocker.

DePaul broke the game wide open in the seventh. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Polucha lined out to center to knock in Grace Frazier. Cothern then stepped to the plate and singled down the right field line to drive in a pair. 

Cothern would come around to score the fifth and final run of the game as the very next hitter, Johnson, roped a double to right center. 

Natalie Halvorson followed Dalgarn’s gem in game one with one of her own. She threw a complete game herself, allowing just one run, scattering eight hits and striking out seven. It was her eighth win of the season.

In game three on Sunday, it was DePaul who jumped out to the early lead.

With two outs in the top of the second inning, Tori Meyer laced a double to left center and came home thanks to a single by Maranda Gutierrez. 

DePaul added to their tally in the fourth. Back-to-back singles by Johnson and Sullivan led off the inning. Both would move up to scoring position on a wild pitch. Meyer’s RBI single brought in Johnson. It seemed like the Blue Demons were primed for a big inning, but the next three batters all failed to knock in Sullivan.

DePaul may have felt they let a huge opportunity slip through their hands — Especially when Butler cut the deficit in half an inning later.

But the Blue Demons were not going to let the game slip away from them. They got the run back in the seventh. 

Angela Scalzitti singled to left and later stole second. An infield single by Polucha to short put runners on the corners. The merry-go-round kept going as Cothern singled to center to plate Scalzitti.

Halvorson pitched her second game in as many days and went five strong, allowing only one run on three hits. Dalgarn closed out the final two innings in flawless fashion, striking out four.

The three-game sweep extended DePaul’s winning streak and closed out Big East play. The Blue Demons finished 13-1 in conference and 22-9 overall.

DePaul’s next game will reignite an intracity rivalry as the Blue Demons are set to play hosts to UIC starting on May 7.