Marilyn Buss hit her fifth home run of the season.
EVANSTON, ILL. - In Drake’s return to the NCAA Softball Tournament for the first time since 1994, it was timely hitting and strong pitching by 19th-ranked DePaul that carried the Blue Demons to 3-1 victory over the Bulldogs on Friday, May 16, at Sharon J. Drysdale Field on the Northwestern University campus.
The setback drops Drake to 29-25, while DePaul improved its ledger to 49-16 on the year.
The Bulldogs will now play Western Illinois at 1:30 p.m. today (Saturday, May 17). A win and Drake will play again at 4 p.m., while a loss ends the Bulldogs’ campaign.
The Blue Demons wasted little time getting their offense started as Amber Patton slapped a 1-2 offering from freshman Brynne Dordel (Chanhassen, Minn./Chaska) just inside the line in right and checked in at third with a leadoff triple in bottom of the first inning. She then came across with the first run of the contest on a wild pitch.
Dordel quickly regrouped retiring the next two batters on easy fly balls before getting Becca Heteniak swinging on strikes to end the frame.
Freshman Erin Mollohan (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) began the top of the second with a walk before sophomore Bridget Shields (Iowa City, Iowa/West) was inserted for her as a pinch runner. Shields advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Elena Leon (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) but the Bulldogs were unable to capitalize as Heteniak bounced back to retire the next two batters on strikeouts to end the threat.
Dordel was solid on the mound after the leadoff triple retiring the next eight batters en route to fanning three in that stretch.
The Blue Demons created a threat in the bottom of the fifth after Stephanie Blagaich laced a one-out double off the wall in left center. Dordel got pinch hitter Annie Demas looking on strikes before Marie Thompson deposited a Texas leaguer into left field to plate Blagaich, who was running with contact. Thompson advanced to second on the throw to the plate and came all the way around to score as a throwing error attempting to cut her down at second sailed into center.
Trailing 3-0, senior Marilyn Buss (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) came to the plate to start the top of the sixth and hammered Heteniak’s 1-1 offering deep over the wall in center field to cut the deficit to 3-1 on her fifth home run of the season.
Senior Jaci Faidley (Colfax, Iowa/Colfax-Mingo) blasted a one-out single through the middle on a full count but the Bulldogs’ threat was thwarted as Heteniak notched a strikeout and induced a pop out to end the inning.
DePaul attempted to add an insurance tally in the bottom of the sixth as Sandy Vojik registered a one-out triple to the wall in right. Dordel refused to buckle as she posted her fifth and final strikeout of the game for the second out and then got Jackie Tarulli-Fisher to pop out to Faidley on the first pitch.
Leon started the seventh off with a single up the middle but was stranded as the Heteniak notched her ninth and 10th strikeouts to finish the contest to improve to 32-6 on the campaign.
Dordel tossed one of her finer outings of the year in striking out five, while walking only one batter but fell to 19-11 with the loss.
In attendance cheering on Drake Friday was former Bulldog and 1996 Olympian Dani Tyler, who works in the Chicago area as a certified accountant.