Tigers sweep Wittenberg, but drop from national ranking
Senior Jen Kosinski slides into home during the teams first game against Wittenberg Wednesday afternoon. The team won the game 4-3 and took the nightcap 5-3, tieing them for second in the North Coast Athletic Conference. The team improved to 22-8 overall. Emily Green / TDP
DePauw Softball swept the Tigers of Wittenberg University on April 17 by a score of 4-3 in the opener and then 5-4 in the nightcap.
DePauw improved to 22-8 on the season (6-4 in conference play) and jumped to second place in the NCAC behind Allegheny. The Tigers lost their national ranking after dropping four NCAC contests in splits against Hiram, Ohio Wesleyan, Wooster and Denison.
DePauw struck first in the opening game when junior Amy Hallett singled and was advanced a base after a bunt from senior Jen Kosinski. Junior Kate Hendrickson singled home Hallett to provide DePauw with the first run of the game. Wittenberg tied the game in the sixth after a series of DePauw errors and passed balls.
Wittenberg struck again in the eighth after Carly Cribbs' hit a two-run triple to give Wittenberg a 3-1 lead. DePauw answered in the bottom of the inning when Hendrickson's single scored pinch runner junior Samantha Szyska and an RBI from junior Emily Dieckmann.
The game remained tied into extra innings before DePauw scored the game winner in the 10th after Dieckmann slapped a single into right field that drove in the tiebreaker-base-runner Kosinski. The walk-off single added another high point this season for Dieckmann, who attributed her recent performances to strong team practices.
"We all have such a fire to do well this season and we have a lot of high expectations for ourselves," Dieckman said. "But we do a good job of staying focused and continuing to work our butts off at practice."
Freshman Kahla Nolan improved to 7-1 after 2.1 innings of relief. Nolan has played a key role over the course of the season in providing the team with elite relief pitching to back the solid starting efforts.
Wittenberg opened the second game with two runs in the first inning, but DePauw quickly answered with a three-run counterattack. The Tigers took a 3-2 lead after a bases clearing triple from senior Haley Buchanan that scored senior Rachel Macbeth, Hallett, and Kosinski.
The Tigers followed up with runs in the second and third innings - one of which was a Dieckmann leadoff homerun - to build a 5-2 lead that held through the fifth. Wittenberg would score runs in the sixth and seventh innings but would not be able to reduce DePauw's lead any further, giving the Tigers the win and the doubleheader sweep.
Nolan improved to 8-1 with the win and exited the doubleheader with a 2-0 record. Emily Bichler also pitched her second save of the season to top off the doubleheader with excellent all-around pitching.
DePauw Softball will travel to NCAC conference-leading Allegheny on Saturday, April 21. The doubleheader will feature the currently ranked top-two teams in NCAC season play and will be crucial games if the Tigers wish to finish the season in the running for regular-season conference champions.
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