St. Edward’s softball ace throws 2 no-hit games in only 8 days, builds team momentum


Lauren Slatten pitched her most recent no-hitter on April 2.

Before each home softball game this season, Lauren Michelle Slatten honors her late grandmother by writing her name in the dirt. She doesn’t touch any baselines walking onto the field. Taking her place in the pitcher’s circle, she tries to find an inner calm. As she winds up before every pitch, she says the bible verse Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Pitching a no-hitter is one of the hardest things to do in softball or baseball — and this St. Edward’s University junior pitcher has thrown two no-hitters in eight days. Most recently, Slatten had a no-hit game on April 2 against A&M-International University. Eight days earlier, she had another no-hit game against the top team in the conference, St. Mary’s University, on March 23.

“I told myself to relax, because that’s when I throw my best games,” Slatten said. “We have one of the best defenses in the conference, and I knew they would have my back.”

When Slatten transferred to St. Edward’s from the University of Texas at Austin this year, she was trusted to be the team’s top ace following several senior pitchers’ graduation last spring.

Earning five Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Week honors since the start of her Hilltopper career, Slatten is making the Division II a league of her own.

“I’m most impressed that she’s really doing a better job of pitching to specific locations, rather than trying to blow it by everybody — and she’s creating outs,” St. Edward’s Softball Head Coach Lindsay Gardner said early in the season.

Originally from the outskirts of Austin, Slatten says coming from UT-Austin to St. Edward’s has the same Small Town USA feeling as her hometown of Elgin, Texas.

She grew up playing coach-pitch baseball with the boys until a line-drive broke her nose at around age eight. After that, her grandfather encouraged her to play softball, and they would practice together in her backyard.

A former men’s fast-pitch player, her grandfather told her, “You’re going to be a great pitcher one day,” — which has remained with her for the past decade.

In fact, Gardner was Slatten’s select-ball coach during her early high-school years. Then during Slatten’s sophomore year of high-school, her family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio for her father’s job. 

At the last tournament before her senior year of high school, she was unexpectedly noticed by UT-Austin — the team she grew up following her whole life.

Excited and thankful to just be a part of her dream softball team, she was given the role of a closer — instead of a starting pitcher role like she had been accustomed to.

Having minimal playing time in the Longhorn circle made her want to become more involved as a pitcher.

Deciding to leave her dream school was a big decision, but she doesn’t regret her time at UT-Austin, as she feels it helped her grow as an adult.

“I could have sat back and dealt with it, or move forward and do more — so that’s why I came to St. Edward’s,” Slatten said.

When comparing St. Edward’s to UT-Austin, Slatten said St. Edward’s softball “doesn’t feel like you’re coming out to a job every day. It’s something that is stress-free rather than bringing more stress to you.”

Like a queen in chess, a pitcher holds all the power — so the person they need to be most in-tune with is their catcher.

“It’s really important for us to be on the same page, because when we’re on the same page, everything just works together,” junior catcher Melina Sanchez said. “And when me and Lauren are confident, then we feel it builds a confidence with the rest of the team as well … I really enjoy being her catcher, and she’s a great pitcher — so it makes my job easy.”

Slatten’s individual stats are a 12-8 win record and a current 2.15 ERA.

“My pitching experience has been nothing but great here, and I wouldn’t ask to be anywhere else,” Slatten said, emphasizing how supportive her new teammates and coaching staff are.

St. Edward’s has a team overall record of 19-18, with a 9-6 conference record. With at least a full month of softball left, the No. 3 Hilltoppers need to win as many games as possible to reach the Heartland Conference Championship.

“We’ve had some great games, and we’ve had some games where we’re still trying to learn, so I think if we try to get better every day then we’ll go as far as possible, and be ready for next year.”