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"Bulldog" Verdun Shuts Down Pittsburgh
Kirsten Verdun fired a three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in DePaul's 1-0 BIG EAST win over Pittsburgh.

Kirsten Verdun fired a three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in DePaul's 1-0 BIG EAST win over Pittsburgh.

April 15, 2012

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CHICAGO - There was very little wiggle room for Kirsten Verdun on Sunday.

It turned out DePaul scored just enough for its sophomore ace in a 1-0 BIG EAST Conference victory over Pittsburgh at Cacciatore Stadium.

Verdun (17-6) made the most of the lone tally, limiting Pittsburgh (23-19, 6-8 in BIG EAST) to three hits while striking out 10.

"She was a bulldog out there," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "She was upset after striking out looking, and that seemed to light a fire under her.

"The biggest difference between how we played yesterday (doubleheader split) and today was Verdun."

Mary Connolly led off the third inning with a double down the left-field line. Pinch-runner Amanda Mener went to third on Katelyn Braget's sacrifice bunt and came around to score on catcher Holly Stevens' throwing error.

"The biggest thing for me was coming into today's game with a different mindset and game plan from when I pitched on Saturday," Verdun said. "It helps that I can throw five different pitches, and I was switching up what I threw from the day before.

"Coach Lenti told me that in a 1-0 game I just have to keep putting up zeroes. I have confidence my team will come through with some runs."

Verdun said she remembered looking at the third strike.

"I felt like I was letting my team down offensively," Verdun said. "I had to make up for it with my pitching.

"After that strikeout, it was like: `That's it---no more. You are not going to score.'"

Pitt had two runners on with two out in the fifth when Verdun induced an inning-ending ground out. She retired the final seven batters in order, four by strikeout.

"We're still not where we should be in terms of our capability," Lenti said. "Our offense wasn't scoring runs all weekend. With the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning, we had a strikeout and a fly out.

"There's not much I can say. We are 38 games into the season, and it's up to the players to figure things out."

The Blue Demons hope to get their attack untracked Wednesday in a BIG EAST doubleheader at Connecticut.

NOTES: The Blue Demons have won seven of their last eight games... Connolly had two of DePaul's five hits on Sunday, extending her hitting streak to six games... Verdun had a walk which extended her streak of reaching base to 12 games... Allie Braden, Samantha Dodd (double) and Staci Bonezek had the other three hits... Verdun had just one walk to go along with the 10 strikeouts... on the season, Verdun is 17-6 with a 1.58 ERA... opponents are hitting just .212 against her... in BIG EAST games, Verdun is 6-0 with a 0.51 ERA and conference foes are hitting .174 against her... Verdun leads the Blue Demons in batting at .366 and is also tops in home runs with eight and RBIs with 33... Dodd is hitting .354 and Braden .322... Connolly is batting .313 and has five homers and 26 RBIs... Lynsey Ciezki is hitting .293 and leads the team with 26 runs... Ciezki's sacrifice hit in the fifth inning was the 37th in her career, fifth all-time in DePaul softball history.