Sandy Vojik has come up with clutch hits in the postseason for DePaul, and Saturday morning was no exception as the junior drove in all three runs, including a fifth-inning home run, as the Blue Demons eliminated Arizona State 3-1 from the Women’s College World Series.
Vojik’s fifth-inning, two-run home run proved to be the deciding runs in giving the Blue Devils their first WCWS win since 1999. DePaul has lost four straight contests in the tournament heading into today.
“The kids overcame a lot. Obviously, it was a great game today, and you saw what DePaul softball is all about,” Blue Demon head coach Eugene Lenti said. “We always talk about history at DePaul, and this team has made some tremendous history and it is still going to make some more.”
For Vojik, the home run was her 13th of the season and third of the postseason. She homered in the opening game of the Norman Super Regional as DePaul took a 1-0 series on Oklahoma en route to the sweep.
The home run broke open a four-inning stalemate between DePaul starter Tracie Adix and ASU hurler Katie Burkhart. Jessica Evans led off the frame being hit on the top of the hand by a pitch. Pinch-runner Stephanie Blagaich stole second, and then Vojik deposited a high outside offering over the fence in left field for the 2-0 Blue Demon lead.
“She had pitched me the same my first two at-bats, so I knew they were going to come up high today and I could not lay off of it today,” Vojik said. “She had some pretty nasty stuff, and I think I just took a better approach. (The pitch) was just the right height and I put a good swing on it.”
After surrendering three runs in Thursday’s opening-round loss to Washington, Adix made the lead hold up as she allowed a run on five hits with three strikeouts and a walk in moving to 22-3 on the year.
“That was the Tracie Adix that is an all-American that you saw today,” Lenti added.
Burkhart fell to 35-13 on the year as she surrendered three runs, two earned, on six hits with nine strikeouts.
“It just was not a very good performance,” Burkhart said. “I tried to hold it to a 0-0 game until our team could get some runs. It just didn’t work out that way today.”
Vojik provided her teammate with some insurance in the seventh as Shea Warren reached on a two-out bunt single. She then stole second and advanced to third as ASU catcher Kristen Miller’s throw sailed into center field. Vojik then laced a single up the middle to score Warren and give DePaul the 3-0 lead.
“You saw today what Sandy (Vojik) has been doing all year,” Lenti added. “You see the experience of Sandy playing in the WCWS as a freshman – the calm and composed Sandy at the plate, and knowing when to take the right approach to the ball.”
The Sun Devils got in the scoring column for the first time in the tournament in the bottom of the seventh. Michelle Smith led off with a double to the fence in left. Following a Kaycee Gamez ground-out that advanced her to third, Smith scored as Rhiannon Baca delivered a single down the line in right field.
“I think we had a lot more quality at-bats than in the first game,” ASU head coach Clint Myers said. “If you look at it, they hit one ball hard. That was it. I believed we actually swung it better than they did. It’s not about how many hits you hit; it is about how many runs you score. I thought the kids did a much better job with their mental approach. I am very proud of them.”
Arizona State ends its season at 54-17. DePaul (47-12) returns to action Saturday night at 6 p.m. CDT, taking on Arizona in a showdown to see who will challenge Washington Sunday.
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