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Dodd Doubles Down While Verdun and Connolly Power Up in Las Vegas
Kirsten Verdun hit a three-run home run and had four RBIs in DePaul's season-opening 11-0 victory over UCF.

Kirsten Verdun hit a three-run home run and had four RBIs in DePaul's season-opening 11-0 victory over UCF.

Feb. 8, 2013

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LAS VEGAS - Samantha Dodd knew exactly how to get DePaul off to a flying start.

The senior outfielder's pair of doubles and three RBIs in her first two at-bats of the 2013 season launched the Blue Demons onto an 11-0, five-inning, run-rule victory over UCF Friday at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic.

Dodd finished with three hits, three RBIs, two runs, sparked her team to a 5-0 lead and set the stage for some fourth-inning fireworks.

After Allie Braden's leadoff single and Dodd's single---her third consecutive hit---Kirsten Verdun blasted a three-run home run over the left-field fence. Mary Connolly made it back-to-back blasts with a home run to left for a 9-0 lead.

"It felt good getting off to such a fast start and I just wanted to stay aggressive," Dodd said. "After the first couple of runs, we wanted to keep the momentum going. I was glad to be the catalyst this time around.

"The fourth inning was fun. I love my big-time power girls Kirsten and Mary. It's great to see them hit the ball as far as they can."

Braden (two hits, four runs) had opened the 2013 season with a walk and scored on Dodd's double to left field. Verdun (home run, single, four RBIs) followed with a run-scoring single to left. Connolly doubled, but both Blue Demons were left on base.

An inning later, Dodd's two-base hit down the left field line brought in Brittany Boesel (single) and Braden (fielder's choice, stolen base).

"The big one was Sam's second double," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "It was a two-out situation and she did a great job getting the bat on the ball.

"The fast start is very important. Allie Braden got on base and stole right away. Sam didn't waste any time bringing her in. Then Kirsten brings Sam home. We want to jump on a team right away and put it behind the eight-ball.

"We executed the hit-and-run well, had quality at-bats and hit the long ball with Kirsten and Mary. We scored in every inning and in a lot of different ways."

Staci Bonezek manufactured a run by herself in the third. After a one-out walk, Bonezek stole second and third before scoring on a catcher's errant throw. DePaul scored twice more in the fifth inning on Amanda Mener's RBI single and an unearned run.

The Blue Demons' offensive outburst might have been their way of celebrating the chance to play softball outdoors.

"Before the game, we were talking about how practicing indoors was getting a little old," Dodd said. "All of us were so excited to get on the field and do something.

"A lot of teams in nice-weather places take it for granted about playing outside."

DePaul faces UNLV at 8 p.m. Friday in game two of the Sportco Kick-Off Classic.

NOTES: The 13-hit attack was paced by Dodd (three hits) and two hits each from Verdun, Connolly, Braden and Megan Coronado... Boesel and Mener each had one hit... Verdun had four RBIs and Dodd drove in three while Connolly and Mener had one apiece... it was Mener's first collegiate RBI... freshman Cherelle Chambers scored her first collegiate run... Coronado was 2-for-2 in her return from last year's season-ending injury... lead-off hitter Braden scored four times, Dodd twice and Verdun, Connolly, Boesel, Chambers and Bonezek each crossed the plate once... Verdun was the winning pitcher after going five innings and giving up five hits with three strikeouts and no walks.