Six-Run Second Propels Softball Past New Mexico State, 8-1
March 2, 2014
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The only thing that could stop Blue Demon bats this weekend was the rain. DePaul softball scored two runs in the first and exploded for six more in the second, coasting to an 8-1 win on Sunday against New Mexico State to cap tournament play at the UNLV Eller Media Stadium Classic.
Heavy downpours on Friday suspended the team's first game of the weekend and forced contests against Weber State and UNLV to be cancelled. But when the weather finally cooperated, the Blue Demons dominated -- plating 30 runs total over a three-game span.
Mary Connolly continued to terrorize opposing pitching on Sunday, finishing a team-best 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. On the weekend, the junior slugger hit .875 (7-for-8) and knocked in seven runs.
In the circle, Kirsten Verdun tossed her second complete game of the weekend to improve to 9-2. The senior southpaw fanned 12 Aggies and allowed five hits in her ninth complete game of the season.
DePaul got on the board first as NMSU started the game sloppy, allowing Verdun to reach and come around to score on two separate errors. Connolly then crossed the plate on a two-out double by Maize to make it 2-0.
In the second, Staci Bonezek got things started with a double to left center. Allie Braden followed with a single and Dylan Christensen walked to load the bases with no outs. Up next, Coronado singled through the left side on a 1-0 pitch to move each runner up a base and force an Aggie pitching change.
Following the first out of the inning, Micah Fitzgerald connected for a two-run single to left to make it 5-0. With runners on second and third -- and still just one out -- Connolly strode to the plate next and launched her fifth home run of the season to score three more Blue Demons.
That was plenty of offense for Verdun, as DePaul's senior ace allowed just one run in the NMSU third. Aside from that blip, Verdun surrendered just two hits in her other six frames.
The Blue Demons will be idle next weekend before capping tournament play with one more trip out West for the Cal State Fullerton Titan Classic on March 14-15. DePaul will see UNLV, Texas Tech, Canisius and the hosts at the two-day event.
Notes: DePaul has out-scored its opponents 24-11 in the first inning and holds a 10-1 record when scoring the first run of the game... the Blue Demons have now won 10 of their past 11 games... Nicole Pihl has reached base in 11 straight games... Connolly capped a ridiculously hot weekend with a combined 7-for-8 line (.875) at the plate, including a walk, homer and seven RBI... DePaul hit .385 (30-for-78) and scored 30 runs as a team over the weekend... Maize is now riding a team-best six game hitting streak... it was the Blue Demons' most productive three games at the plate since April 6-7, 2013 when DePaul scored 42 times in three games at Syracuse...