Two-For-One Gambit Almost Pays Off
April 18, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - Kirsten Verdun's bid to win both games of a doubleheader came up just a little short on Wednesday.
After cruising in the opener, Verdun and the Blue Demons were upended 5-3 by Connecticut in the BIG EAST Conference nightcap.
Verdun had limited the Huskies to two hits and teamed with Hannah Penna for a three-hitter during a 6-0 victory earlier in the day.
"Verdun (18-7) has been the hot pitcher, and we have the most confidence in her," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "We're going to ride that. Every game now is a must-win situation.
"She had 11 strikeouts in the first game and we had a good lead, so we put Hannah in for the last inning. Verdun won 40 games in high school, and all of our pitchers have been in that situation before where they threw in back-to-back games."
Lenti realized he was giving the UConn batters plenty of looks at his ace.
After DePaul (26-14, 8-3 in BIG EAST) had taken a 1-0 lead when Samantha Dodd scored on an error in the second inning, Connecticut (19-18, 8-6) went on the attack.
Huskies' star Amy Vaughan cracked a two-run double to center field in the third inning, advancing to third on the throw. Brittany Duclos followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Vaughan for a 3-1 Connecticut lead.
An inning later, Verdun led off with a solo home run over the fence in center field.
Back came the Huskies in the sixth inning when a dropped third strike, a bunt single and a base hit led to a pair of insurance runs.
"Those two runs really hurt," Lenti said. "We didn't do the little things. We didn't make a bunch of errors or anything, but we also did not make plays on defense. Kirsten definitely pitched well enough to win. We just didn't back her up."
Mary Connolly, Katelyn Braget and Dodd led off the seventh inning with consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs. Paige Peterson grounded out to third, driving home Connolly and advancing the tying runs to second and third.
"In the first game, Verdun was awesome on the mound and we took advantage of our opportunities," Lenti said. "Everyone did everything well and we had good defense and great pitching."
The Blue Demons continue their critical five-game, BIG EAST road trip with a three-game series this weekend at Notre Dame. The series opens with a Saturday doubleheader, and first pitch is set for 11 a.m.
NOTES: Braget was 2-for-3 in the nightcap while Verdun, Connolly, Dodd and Peterson each had one hit... Peterson and Verdun had one RBI each while Verdun, Connolly and Dodd scored one run apiece... Dodd went 3-for-4 in the doubleheader with two RBIs, two runs, two stolen bases... Braget was 3-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored... Peterson was 2-for-6 with three RBIs and Verdun was 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs... Verdun has reached base in 14 consecutive games and Connolly in 11 straight... Dodd has a three-game hitting streak... Verdun's 11 strikeouts in the first game tied a season high and it was the fourth game she has recorded double digits in punch-outs... the 6-0 decision was Verdun's seventh overall shutout of the season... Verdun leads DePaul with nine home runs and 34 RBIs and is tied with Dodd for the lead in batting average at .368... Verdun and Dodd are also tied with 43 hits apiece... Lynsey Ciezki tops the team in runs with 26 and Dodd has 25... Connolly is hitting .308 with five homers and 26 RBIs... Braget has seven home runs and 25 RBIs... in the circle, Verdun is 18-7 with a 1.64 ERA... Bree Brown is 5-4 with a 2.80 ERA... Penna is 3-2 with a 3.27 ERA.