DePaul, Syracuse split doubleheader
Published: Saturday, April 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
The cold and dreary conditions at Cacciatore Stadium Wednesday, April 25, were followed up by moments of sun and blue skies.
The weather was reflective of the doubleheader that the DePaul softball team played, with the Blue Demons falling to Syracuse (35-12, 12-4 Big East) 5-3 in the second game after defeating them 3-2 in game one.
The day was highlighted off the field by over 500 kids from Chicago Public Schools coming out in celebration of Field Trip Day to cheer on the Blue Demons (28-18, 9-7 Big East). Their enthusiasm and noise was not lost on the players, who laughed and smiled after some of the loudest cheers in the first game.
The mood on the field, however, was not quite as cheerful. Both teams combined for seven errors in the two games, especially unusual for DePaul given their normal defensive prowess. The home plate umpire was also very inconsistent with his calls the entire game, on both sides, according to DePaul Head Coach Eugene Lenti.
“Every time the ump makes a call, 50 percent of the people believe he’s wrong,” said Lenti. “That’s what it was today. You just look for consistency from umpires.”
The Syracuse coaches got the worst of the exchanges with the umpires as one of them was ejected from the game for arguing an out call. The Orange hit a line drive to Bree Brown, who hesitated before flipping the ball to first to double off the runner that was on first base. That same umpire said earlier in the game that he “wouldn’t be intimidated” by the tactics of the Syracuse coaches.
As far as on field performances go, Kirsten Verdun was solid in both games on Wednesday after pitching the Blue Demons to victory on Tuesday against Illinois. The sophomore struck out 27 batters in a combined 16 innings pitched, but two home runs and five walks in the second game proved to be the difference.
“The walks are really what killed me,” Verdun said after she gave up two two-run home runs in the top of the seventh and ninth innings. “You don’t even give up the home runs if you don’t walk them and they don’t see you as much. I knew I’d be throwing both games so it’s just a matter of mental toughness.”
Verdun also admitted to being a little gassed at the end of the second game. She says she has been running more to prepare for the heavier workload, and that her legs are just as important to pitching as her arm is because of the leg drive needed.
The rest of the DePaul lineup did not help her much offensively, going 6-45 while Verdun went 2-6 and drove in a run. The Syracuse errors also helped out and nearly allowed the Blue Demons to escape game two with a win as well. The Orange mishandled a ground ball and threw it into left field when it was meant for third base. Paige Peterson never advanced past first base, however.
“She overran the base too far,” Lenti said. “We tell them to get to the base and then sit. She ran too far and couldn’t take advantage of the throwing mistake. If we do that, we win the game.”
Because of the split, DePaul failed to gain any ground on the Orange in the Big East standings with just a couple weeks left in the regular season.