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Verdun and Connolly Send DePaul Past North Carolina State
Mary Connolly hit her fourth home run of the season in the Blue Demons' 1-0 win over North Carolina State.

Mary Connolly hit her fourth home run of the season in the Blue Demons' 1-0 win over North Carolina State.

March 14, 2013

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FULLERTON, Calif. - You might say DePaul performed quite a tightrope act Thursday night at the Judi Garman Classic.

The stellar pitching of ace Kirsten Verdun and Mary Connolly's solo home run paved the way to a 1-0 victory over North Carolina State.

"We played great defense with three double plays, Kirsten pitched really well and Mary hit the big home run," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "It was tight right to the very end."

A walk followed by a pair of wild pitches put a Wolfpack runner on third base with one out in the bottom of the seventh.

"I just had to bear down," Verdun said. "I was able to strike out the last two batters.

"My changeup was working well to keep their hitters off-balance. And all game, they had trouble with my curveball."

North Carolina State (11-9-1) had the bases loaded with just one out in the bottom of the fifth inning. That's when DePaul first baseman Megan Coronado snared a line drive off the bat of Kirsty Grant and fired the ball to shortstop Allie Braden to double off Lana Van Dyken.

"I was trying to pitch to contact and hoping for a popup or ground ball," said Verdun (9-4). "Megan caught the line drive and doubled the girl off of second."

Connolly's solo shot in the top of the fourth was the difference in this game as the Blue Demons improved to 13-9.

"I was glad to help out the team," said Connolly as her blast over the left-field fence was her team-leading fourth home run of the season. "Everyone was playing such great defense. As the designated player, my only job is to hit.

"It was a 2-0 count, and I was ready for it. I was looking for something in the strike zone and in a place where I could hit it. Luckily, the pitch was right where I wanted it.

"We had trouble stringing hits together, and I knew the one run would be a big one."

Nobody appreciated the long ball more than the winning pitcher.

"Soon as she hit it, I was like, yea!" Verdun said. "It was a no-doubter. Anytime you score, the pitcher has to go out there and make sure the other team doesn't come back and score."

DePaul takes on Judi Garman Classic host Cal State Fullerton at 9:30 p.m. Friday at Anderson Field.

NOTES: Verdun went the distance giving up five hits with six strikeouts and four walks... it was her third shutout of the season... Samantha Dodd was 2-for-2 while Allie Braden, Connolly, and Paige Peterson each had one hit... Connolly had the game's lone RBI and run scored... DePaul has won eight of its last 10 games.