Verdun, Warren Lead DePaul to Fifth in a Row
Kirsten Verdun came within five outs of a no-hitter Wednesday in DePaul's 6-1 win over Illinois State.

April 11, 2012

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NORMAL, Ill. - Kirsten Verdun and Ali Warren really had a good time Wednesday in Redbird country.

Verdun flirted with a no-hitter and Warren smashed her first home run of the season in DePaul's 6-1 victory over Illinois State---the Blue Demons' fifth win in a row.

"I actually screamed as I ran around the bases," Warren said. "I hit home runs in practice all the time, and it was frustrating not being able to hit one in a game.

"Illinois State's pitcher (Megan Warner) had been working inside, so that's where I was looking. The first pitch was an inside strike. The next pitch, I turned on it and drove it over the fence in left field.

"Assistant coach Samantha Findlay has been working with me a lot on my swing, and we finally figured it out. I'm using my legs more and putting my front foot down in time.

"The rest is---home run!"

Verdun (15-6) retired the leadoff Redbird batter in the sixth inning and was five outs away from the no-hitter when junior outfielder Jhavon Hamilton stepped into the batter's box.

"Jhavon is one of my best friends, and we play together on the same summer team," Verdun said. "Earlier in the game I kept throwing a lot of changeups at her because I know she's not very good at hitting them.

"She gave me a dirty look."

But when Verdun tried to sneak a curveball by her, Hamilton slashed a clean single to center field.

"We talked about her breaking up the no-hitter afterwards," Verdun said. "She said: `Yeah, but you still won the game.'"

DePaul (23-12) came out swinging, scoring four runs in the first inning. Samantha Dodd and Verdun had one-out singles and Mary Connolly ripped an RBI double to right field.

With two outs, Paige Peterson came through with a two-run single to left. This came 24 hours after her home run and triple in Tuesday's 6-1 win over Northern Illinois.

After a walk to Bree Brown, Warren's RBI single scored Peterson.

Warren hit her homer in the fifth, and doubles by Verdun and Katelyn Braget in the seventh made it 6-1.

"Verdun pitched great, and scoring those runs early took the pressure off," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "We had contributions from all over with four different players getting RBIs, six different players scoring and seven different players getting hits.

"It was good to see Ali Warren finally join the home run club. She is seeing the ball better, and this is something we've known she was capable of all year long.

"In recent years, we have struggled when we've come down here to play ISU. The way we were in control of the game today says a lot about our team."

The Blue Demons return to BIG EAST Conference action this weekend beginning with a noon doubleheader on Saturday against Pittsburgh at Cacciatore Stadium.

NOTES: In her last seven games, Verdun is 6-1 with a 0.76 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 46 innings... opponents have batted just .150 against her... Verdun was 3-for-4 against ISU with a double and a run scored... Warren was 2-for-2 with the home run, two RBIs, one run and a walk... Peterson was 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run... Allie Braden was 2-for-3... Connolly was 1-for-4 with a double, RBI and a run... Braget was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI... Dodd was 1-for-4 with a run while pinch-runner Amanda Mener scored a run... Verdun went the distance allowing one run on two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks... Verdun has overtaken Dodd for the team lead in batting average at .387 while Dodd is hitting .375... Verdun also leads the team in home runs with eight, RBIs with 33 and hits with 41... Braden is batting .321 and Connolly .304 with 24 RBIs... Ciezki (.280) is tops on the team in runs with 24... Braget has seven home runs and 21 RBIs... Verdun leads the team in wins with 15 and sports a 1.71 ERA... Bree Brown is 5-3 with a 2.69 ERA and Hannah Penna is 3-2 with a 2.94 ERA... Verdun has a nine-game hitting streak and has reached base nine games in a row.



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