March 29, 2013
CHICAGO - The University of Pittsburgh softball team (14-14, 3-2) recorded a spilt with DePaul (17-13, 4-1) on Friday afternoon at Cacciatore Stadium by winning game one 2-0 and dropping game two by a score of 7-2.
Game One: Pitt 2, DePaul 0
Pitt scored two runs in the top of the first inning and Alexa Larkin shut down the DePaul offense as the Panthers won the opening contest of the series by a score of 2-0.
With one out in the first inning, Ashlee Sills earned a walk and then stole second base to move into scoring position. Two batters later, Carissa Throckmorton doubled her home with a shot to left center field. The next batter was Kaila Balatgek, and her double down the left field line plated Throckmorton. It was Balatgek's fourth double in her last 11 at bats.
That would be plenty of run support for Larkin (7-5), who didn't allow a Blue Demon past second base the entire game. DePaul entered the contest with the fourth highest batting average in the Big East, but the sophomore southpaw limited the Blue Demons to just two hits the entire game. Larkin is now 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA in Big East action this season.
Game Two: DePaul 7, Pitt 2
DePaul returned the favor to Pitt by scoring two runs in the first inning of the second game. The Blue Demons got consecutive hits from their five and six hitters with runners in scoring position to jump in front 2-0 after one inning.
The Panthers were threatening in third inning after Kathryn Duran led off with a double and then reached third on a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt by Carly Thea. Nirschl then walked, but was caught stealing for the second out, and Ashlee Sills grounded out to end the inning.
DePaul added three runs on three hits in the bottom of the third inning and left two runners on base. The Blue Demons were helped out by two Pitt errors in the frame. They led 5-0 after three.
Once again, the Panthers had an opportunity to get themselves back into the game in the fourth, but were unable to capitalize on a bases loaded opportunity. Holly Stevens led off the inning with her second hit of the game. Savannah King and Taylor Henry would then be issued back-to-back two out walks, but DePaul pitcher Hannah Penna got a strikeout to end the threat.
The Panthers scored their first run in the top of the fifth inning. Carly Thea led off with a ground-rule double to right center, and would eventually score on a passed ball. However, after Nirschl walked, Penna retired Sills, Stevens and Throckmorton in a row to end the inning.
DePaul stretched its lead to 7-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning on a two-run homer by Mary Connolly.
After Thea hit her second double of the game in the top of the seventh, she scored when Sills reached first on a fielding error by the DePaul first baseman. However, the deficit would be too much to overcome for Pitt as the Panthers fell 7-2.
Pitt and DePaul will play the finale of the three game series tomorrow at 11 a.m. CST (12 p.m. EST). The Panthers look for their first ever series victory against the Blue Demons. Live stats are available by clicking here, and fans can receive in-game updates by following @PittSoftball on Twitter.