DePauw University Softball splits with Number 8 Illinois Wesleyan

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After falling to Illinois Wesleyan University by three runs in the first game, the Tigers rallied against the currently eighth ranked Titans in the second game, beating them 4-2. The victory gave them a great confidence boost moving back into conference season, which showed in their game against Ohio Wesleyan University.

The Tigers moved to 18-11 on the season after the Illinois Wesleyan game, while the Titan’s fell to 24-6.

In the first game, the Tigers got off to a quick start—scoring twice in the first inning.

“I would say the strongest part of our game was definitely our offense. We had runners on base all game and really put the pressure on them to make big plays,” junior Sammi Bell said, one of the players who scored.

In the first game, however, the defense wasn’t able to contain the Illinois Wesleyan offense—who put up seven runs.

“Our defense wasn’t perfect by any means on Tuesday,” Bell said.

The Tigers had eight hits in the first game in comparison to IWU’s nine.

In the second game, the Tiger’s defense picked up the slack, limiting the Titans to only two runs.

Of the second game, senior Jennifer Ridge said: “The strongest part of our game was defense and pitching. These two aspects of our game are fundamental to success. Our pitchers hit their spots and they shut down their offense. Not only did we shut them down offensively, but we were able to support our excellent defense with a strong offensive performance.”

Starting pitcher senior Kahla Nolan picked up her ninth victory of the season with the win, her sixth straight.

In addition to the pitching, the fielding was strong as well.

“We can count on our players to make the routine and many great plays,” said junior Linsey Button.

Similar to the first game, the Tigers started off hot in the first inning, scoring three times. The highlight, a two-run homer by first-year Alli Dennie.

Ridge, along with the rest of the team, were obviously excited about defeating such a high-ranked team.

“We kept our composure in times of adversity. It was an amazing experience to beat a top ranked team. It really demonstrates this team's potential,” Ridge said.

While Bell agreed with Ridge, she added, “beating Illinois Wesleyan showed us how far we’ve come and how talented of a team we are when we play our game. So with that territory comes higher standards that we have for our play from here on out. There is no reason why we shouldn’t beat the best teams.”

The emotion of the game and the elation of winning led to an interesting bus ride home.

“Once we got on the bus we just started joking around about everything funny that had happened and was said during the game… the whole bus was dying with laughter for a solid 30 minutes after the game,” Bell said.

The Tigers demonstrated how far they’ve come Wednesday when they swept Ohio Wesleyan University 5-0 and then 4-2. This moved them into first place of the NCAC, setting them up for a successful tournament run.

The Tigers will hope to hold on to that spot when they face Allegheny College at 1 p.m. at DePauw on Saturday.