Blue Demons Walk-Off, Sweep Seton Hall with 4-3 Win
April 6, 2014
CHICAGO – Mary Connolly hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to center field in the bottom of the seventh to lead DePaul softball to a 4-3 win and series sweep against Seton Hall on Sunday at Cacciatore Stadium.
The Blue Demons (24-8, 7-0 BIG EAST) won for the 11th consecutive time against the Pirates despite trailing going into their final at-bat. Seton Hall fell to 9-24 and 3-3 in conference play.
“I’ve been saying all season that we’re capable of coming back in any game,” said head coach Eugene Lenti. “We had been in this situation before and rallied to win. It’s a potent lineup one-through-nine and a talented bench. This is the deepest team DePaul has ever had and it showed today.”
In a back-and-forth game, DePaul led 2-1 until a fifth inning rally by the Pirates made it a 3-2 game going into the final inning. The Blue Demon comeback began with a one out bunt single by Gena Lenti and continued with an infield hit by Megan Coronado. Kirsten Verdun then walked to load the bases before a game-tying fielder’s choice by Allie Braden brought in Lenti.
“I had been hitting to the outfield, and this time I focused on hitting a line drive or a ground ball,” said Braden. “Eug always says if you hit it on the ground to the shortstop or second baseman that our runner on third will score, and that’s what happened.”
With one out, Connolly then connected on a 2-1 pitch to send a high-arcing fly ball to center field. The ball was caught cleanly, but Coronado was able to tag and scamper home before Sara Haefeli’s throw from the outfield.
“I went up there looking to hit it on the ground towards second base like Allie did or deep in the outfield,” said Connolly. “I got a good pitch and drove it to center field. Every at-bat before me had worked hard and gotten the job done. Allie came through right before I came to bat. Their great at-bats got me to the plate, and I couldn’t do any less for the team.”
Verdun did her part in the circle, going the distance and striking out a season-high 13 against Seton Hall batters while allowing seven hits. DePaul’s senior ace improved to 16-5 on the season. Seton Hall’s Jen Metzger (4-5) was tagged with the hard luck loss.
Braden led DePaul with a 2-for-4 day at the plate and brought around the tying run late, while the Blue Demons collected seven hits total.
DePaul got on the board in the first inning via a lead-off homer by Verdun, her third of the season, and an RBI single by Dylan Christensen. The longball by Verdun moved her into second all-time at DePaul in home runs (35), as she passed former Blue Demon slugger and current director of operations Jackie Tarulli-Fisher.
The Blue Demons return to action on Wednesday, playing Illinois State in a mid-week non-conference road trip. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. CT.
Notes: The win was the 100th in program history at Cacciatore Stadium… it was just the second time the Blue Demons have won when trailing after six (2-5)… DePaul has defeated Seton Hall 11 straight times in the series and haven’t lost to the Pirates since April 4, 2009… the Blue Demons are now on a six-game win streak… DePaul now leads its opposition 45-16 in the first inning of games this season… the Blue Demons have out-scored BIG EAST competition 59-5 in seven games… Verdun's 13 strikeouts were a season-high... Verdun set several milestones in the games, passing director of operations Jackie Tarulli-Fisher for second all-time in home runs at DePaul with her 35th career blast… Verdun also moved into second all-time in games started at DePaul (127), passing Becca Heteniak (126, 2007-10)… Connolly is riding a team-high seven-game hitting streak and is batting .571 in BIG EAST games (12-for-21)… Braden has reached base in 11 straight games…