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Verdun Makes the Most of Her Chance at Redemption
Verdun fires a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 1-0 victory over Minnesota at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic.

Verdun fires a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 1-0 victory over Minnesota at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic.

Feb. 9, 2013

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LAS VEGAS - There was nobody more anxious to get back into the pitching circle on Saturday afternoon than DePaul ace Kirsten Verdun.

After a rough outing earlier in the day, Verdun was her old self in leading the Blue Demons to a 1-0 victory over Minnesota at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic.

Verdun shut down the Golden Gophers on two hits and finished with 12 strikeouts.

This came 20 minutes after DePaul (3-1) had lost 8-2 to No. 18 Louisville in which Verdun had given up six unearned runs.

"I felt like I had let my team down," Verdun said. "Yes, there were errors. But I wanted to pick my teammates up and wasn't able to do that.

"When Eug (DePaul coach Eugene Lenti) came to me and asked if I was ready to pitch against Minnesota, I said `yes' so fast. I had to go out there and give back to my team."

Verdun opened the game by striking out the side in the first inning and never looked back. She finished off the gem by striking out two of the last three batters.

"I went with the exact same lineup as the Louisville game," Lenti said. "I wanted to give this group a chance to redeem themselves. Pitching and defense were the reasons we lost the first game, and they are the reasons we won the second game.

"You could see Verdun was a different pitcher against Minnesota, and we were very opportunistic with the one run. That was a good win against a Big Ten team."

The Blue Demons gave Verdun just enough support. They scored the game's only run in the bottom of the first inning when leadoff batter Allie Braden walked, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an error. DePaul's only hits were singles Verdun and Staci Bonezek.

"In the Louisville game, I was a little off with the height of my pitches," Verdun said. "I was hitting the corners, but not at the height I wanted. Louisville is a good-hitting team and will make you pay.

"The location of my pitches was better against Minnesota. My curve was working well and I was setting up hitters with my changeup.

"I really wanted to send a message. Eug is always telling us not to get complacent when we're in the starting lineup.

"I looked at this game as a chance to prove myself."

DePaul finishes up Sportco Kick-Off Classic play on Sunday with a 10 a.m. game against Texas Tech.

NOTES: Verdun and Bonezek had the only two hits for the Blue Demons against Minnesota ace Sara Moulton, one of the top pitchers in the Big Ten... after opening the season with 20 runs in two games on Friday, DePaul scored three runs in two games on Saturday... the Blue Demons are short one player as freshman Gena Lenti is playing on the women's basketball team and providing valuable depth in the backcourt... after four games, Megan Coronado is hitting .556... Verdun is batting .545 with a home run and five RBIs while Samantha Dodd is batting .417 with three doubles and five RBIs... Mary Connolly is batting .333 with a home run.