DePaul women’s softball knocks off Notre Dame 4-2

It was just like the DePaul softball senior day in 2013. Laura Winter was the pitcher for Notre Dame, Hannah Penna was the batter for DePaul, coming off the bench to pinch hit. In both years there were two Blue Demons on base in the bottom of the sixth inning with Notre Dame leading.

And, just like last year, Hannah Penna delivered a three-run home run to give the Blue Demons the lead and the eventual win.

“I just came in, knew what my team needed and did my best,” Penna said.

Her home run was part of a four-run sixth inning that would be enough for the Blue Demons to knock off No. 25 Notre Dame in a one-game set Friday afternoon at Cacciatore Stadium.

“This is our biggest win of the year,” Head Coach Eugene Lenti said, “We’ve had some signature wins over the year but this is obviously the biggest.”

The Fighting Irish were the ones to get on the board first. In the top of the second inning, first baseman Micaela Arizmendi launched a leadoff home run over the centerfield wall to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. It was Arizmendi’s seventh home run of the year, tying her for the team lead.

Notre Dame would strike again in the top of the third inning. A single and a double to lead off the inning from Megan Sorlie and Karley Wester respectively put two runners in scoring position with no outs. The Demons would get Sorlie out on a fielders choice the next batter but a walk to Emilee Koerner loaded up the bases for Katey Haus. Haus sent a fly ball to left field that was deep enough to score Wester from third base, giving the Irish a 2-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Laura Winter was cruising from the pitcher’s circle. She had seven strikeouts through the first three innings, giving up only one hit and a walk in that time. She would finish with nine strikeouts on the day.

The Blue Demons started to see the ball better in the fourth inning. Leading off, Dylan Christensen pulled a rocket down the right field line, smacking against the wall of McCabe hall. Unfortunately for DePaul, it was a few feet foul and Christensen would end up striking out.

In the bottom of the fifth, catcher Staci Bonezek lead off the inning with a double to the right field gap. Ali Lenti bunted her over to third in the next at bat but neither Megan Coronado or Kristen Verdun were able to bring her home, keeping the Blue Demons scoreless going into the sixth inning.

After sending the Irish down in order in the top of the sixth, DePaul started heating up offensively in the bottom half. Allie Braden and Mary Connolly each lead off the inning with a single. Christensen popped out to the second baseman in the next at bat and a slowly hit grounder from Morgan Maize was field by Winter, but her throw to third was too high and got away from Haus, giving Braden the chance to come home on the error. The lead was now cut in half, Notre Dame up 2-1.

The next batter was Hannah Penna, pinch hitting for Nicole Pihl. On the first pitch, Penna drove an opposite field line drive to the right-centerfield fence, where it hit the top and bounced over for the home run. It was her second home run of the year and DePaul gained the lead, 4-2.

Verdun would take care of the Irish in the top of the seventh, clinching the victory for DePaul 4-2 over Notre Dame.

After the game, Head Coach Eugene Lenti said that Penna “made him look like a genius.”

“Hannah has had good success against (Winter) in the past and that was always going to be in the back of my mind,” he said. “Hannah was going to come in at some point in the game and that was the perfect point.”

With this win, DePaul improved to 21-8 overall while Notre Dame fell to 22-8. The Irish travel to North Carolina Wednesday for a two-game set with the Tar Heels while the Blue Demons get no rest as they start a three-game series with Big East opponent Seton Hall Saturday, playing a double-header Saturday and finishing up the series on Sunday.