The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

DePaul softball home opener ends in extra innings defeat to Georgetown, responds with series win

Jaydi Vasquez
DePaul freshman Morgan Rogers swings at a pitch during a game against Georgetown Sunday, March 10, at Cacciatore Stadium in Lincoln Park. The Blue Demons won both games in a double-header Sunday after dropping the home opener on Saturday.

DePaul softball’s hopes for a successful home opener and start to its Big East campaign were dampened as it suffered a 6-3 defeat in extra innings against Georgetown at Wish Field  Saturday, March 9. 

The Blue Demons’ pitching staff faced challenges as they allowed 10 hits, three earned runs and a solo home run during Saturday afternoon’s defeat. The team used all three pitchers in the first game of a three-game series.

“It’s going to make tomorrow harder,” DePaul head coach Traci Adix-Zins said of the impact of using all three pitchers in game one. “It just makes it harder, but I’m very confident in our team and in our staff as a whole. I think that was the hardest part about today. It was just disappointing because that wasn’t us.”

DePaul’s hopes for a smooth start in the first inning were dashed as sophomore pitcher Bella Nigey walked the lead-off batter. Following the lead-off walk, a sacrifice bunt set the stage for Hoyas’ sophomore third baseman Dayanara Campos to hit an RBI double into left-center field, giving Georgetown a 1-0 lead.

Following the setback, Nigey regained her focus and successfully struck out the next two batters, bringing the inning to a close on a stronger note.

In a tightly contested pitchers’ duel between Nigey and the Hoyas junior pitcher Kayla Dunne, the two conference rivals battled through the first five innings, with only one run crossing the plate. However, in the sixth inning, the Hoyas extended its lead to 2-0 courtesy of a solo home run by freshman Hollie Pardini to deep left-center field.

Nigey had been performing well, not allowing a hit since the first inning and recording a career-high seven strikeouts, but the top of the fifth proved her toughest challenge. She allowed three hits and two earned runs before being replaced by graduate senior Brenna Smith.

In the bottom half of the fifth inning, the Blue Demons’ offense came alive, producing four hits and three runs to even the score at three.

Johnson opened the scoring with a line-drive RBI single up the middle, bringing in the first run. Shortly after, freshman designated hitter Brooke Cwick’s two-run RBI single, just out of reach of graduate senior Camryn Wincher at first base, tied the game.

“It was really electric,” Cwick said of hitting the game-tying RBI in the fifth inning. “I wasn’t thinking about it too much, but once I got to second (base), I was able to look at the dugout and see them going crazy. That really set the tone I think.”

As both teams entered extra innings, the Hoyas wasted no time, swiftly scoring three runs in the top half of the inning. The momentum started with freshman shortstop Emily Strittmatter’s lead-off double, paving the way for Campos’s crucial RBI double. An error by junior right fielder Addison Talbot then allowed Campos to score. Shortly after, Dunn delivered an RBI single, extending Georgetown’s lead to 6-3.

Smith was charged with the loss on the mound, surrendering four hits and three earned runs in just 2.2 innings of work, with all three runs occurring in the eighth inning.

“I definitely think that they started making better contact with the ball,” Smith said of the Hoyas’ adjustments offensively. “I felt true to my defense and true to myself. Something that I’ll come out with tomorrow and spin the ball better. We have a lot of room to continue to grow.”

DePaul graduate Brenna Smith throws a pitch in a game against Georgetown Sunday, March 10, at Cacciatore Stadium in Lincoln Park. (Photo by Jaydi Vasquez)

Adix-Zins emphasized the team’s need to respond well to position themselves for success.

“We need to play with some grit,” Adix-Zins said. “We need to play with some tenacity and determination of ‘this is our house’ and we’re going to protect it no matter what at all costs.”

DePaul’s grit showed as they took both Sunday games against Georgetown 6-1 and 5-4 respectively, winning the series 2-1. They head to UConn for a weekend series against the Huskies, with the first game set for March 15 at 2 p.m.

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