DePaul returns home, picks up pair of wins over Providence


Lucas Paredes

The Blue Demons celebrate together after securing the team’s first home win of the season after defeating Providence 15-6 on Friday. DePaul won the series 2-1 and improves to 11-18 on the season.

After six weeks of playing on the road across the country, DePaul softball made its long awaited return to Cacciatore Stadium. Opening day was spoiled on Tuesday, March 28, in a 20-1 loss to Northwestern, but a couple of run-filled games of strong defense and offense together allowed DePaul to finished 2-1. 

The Blue Demons took the field for a weekend series against Providence on Friday and early on things seemed to mimic Tuesday’s loss. 

Freshman pitcher Bella Nigey took the circle for her 17th appearance with a 4.18 ERA, leading the team with 45 strikeouts; but her stint was cut short. Nigey walked the first batter of the game and as the inning progressed she was up to her third base on balls.

She only made it through one out into the second inning before head coach Tracie Adix-Zins pulled her for transfer Brenna Smith. 

DePaul sophomore pitcher Katey Pierce winds up for the delivery during Sunday’s 12-1 loss to Providence. (Erin Henze)

The Purdue graduate came in and retired 10-straight batters, holding the Friars to two runs in her three innings of work. 

“As a whole the win was exciting,” Smith said. “Every single girl on the team showed up today and I couldn’t have done it without Anna behind the plate. She worked he butt off and my defense was solid, and they showed up on offense.” 

It wasn’t until the bottom of the second inning where DePaul took the first lead of the game and broke things open. 

Sophomore catcher Anna Wohlers, who leads the team in hits and home runs, had two hits in the game and crossed home plate three times in the win. 

DePaul totaled 18 hits in the game and scored 15 runs. It was the team’s biggest offensive performance of the season, with hits and runs in the game. 

Junior outfielder Nicole Sullivan capped off the game with a two-run homer. With DePaul leading by more than eight in the bottom in the fourth after scoring 12 runs, the Friars had no answer. 

Recording the final out of the game, senior Grace Frazier threw out a Providence runner at home plate to complete the game in the top of the fifth, as the game ended early due to DePaul’s hefty lead. 

“I mean you can’t ask for more,” Adix-Zins said. “I just think we needed to find our groove and coming into this weekend it was just continue to compete every pitch, every inning, and every out. 

The results weren’t the same in the first of Sunday’s doubleheader. After Saturday’s game was postponed due to weather, the Blue Demons and Friars elected to play two. 

Nigey took the circle and made it through the first inning before Smith came in for relief. Providence scored two in each of the first two innings taking a 4-0 lead. The Friars would end up putting a run in every inning. 

Providence had a season-high as a team with 18 hits and scored 12 runs in five innings. DePaul only managed one run in the second inning as the offense fell flat, leaving 10 runners on base in the game. 

Like the first game, game one of the doubleheader ended early in the fifth inning, as Providence led by more than eight runs and DePaul had no answer to cut into the lead. The Demons fell 12-1 in the first game.

After splitting the first two games of the series, the two teams came in with virtually the same record and played it out in the final game of the series. 

DePaul maintained control throughout the game, but both teams exchanged innings of scoring. Sophomore pitcher Katy Pierce had three shutout innings as the Demons led 1-0 to begin the fourth. 

Wohlers and senior first baseman Brooke Johnson took command early. Wohlers went 2-4 on the day and was the first to cross home plate. 

“It starts with the start of the week and just what happens during practice,” Wohlers said. “Just take everything seriously and bring it here.” 

Johnson added her fifth home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth to DePaul a  7-3 lead. The Friars knocked on the door a couple times throughout the rest of the game. 

Junior Nicole Sullivan gave the Demons the sixth inning insurance run of the game on a solo homer. Setting up Smith for the potential save opportunity. 

Smith held down the Providence offense in the bottom of the seventh, striking out the final two batters of the game getting the 9-5 win. 

DePaul improved to 2-2 at Cacciatore Stadium, with an overall record of 11-18 and 3-6 in Big East Play. 

“They have to trust themselves and play the game of softball,” Adix-Zins said. “I think that’s one of the messages I’ve been trying to get across to them, is just understand that you guys can do it.”