Dodd Delivers in the Clutch Against No. 24/24 USF
April 20, 2013
CHICAGO - There was an expression of single-minded clarity spread across Samantha Dodd's face in the bottom of the eighth inning on Saturday.
Just put the ball in play. And Dodd delivered with a ringing single to left field that brought Bree Brown home with the winning run in a 2-1 BIG EAST Conference victory over No. 24/24 USF.
Brown led off the eighth against Bulls ace Sara Nevins with an infield single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Gena Lenti reached on a fielder's choice and alertly advanced to second as Brown took third.
After Allie Braden was intentionally walked, Dodd did her thing.
"I didn't want to over-swing---just make contact and put the ball in play," Dodd said. "There's always pressure in those situations. It was important for me to stay calm, catch my breath and then do my job."
Staci Bonezek ended a scoreless tie in the sixth inning with a solo shot over the right-field fence---her sixth home run of the year.
But USF (36-13, 14-2 in the BIG EAST) tied it in the top of the seventh on Kaitlyn Santo's RBI single to center field for the only run off winning pitcher Kirsten Verdun (16-8).
"That's the game of softball," Dodd said. "We've done the same thing, making a comeback in the seventh inning. You can't let that get you down."
After dropping the opener of Saturday's doubleheader 3-0, it was critical for the Blue Demons to salvage a split as they improved to 24-15, 11-2.
"I knew it would be tough today," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "The recent bad weather cancelled two of our games, and we hadn't played in 11 days.
"Bree got us off to a good start in the eighth inning, and Gena did a great job putting the ball in play. After Allie's walk, Sam did what seniors are supposed to do. She came through in the clutch to help us get a big win."
Verdun gave up just three hits over eight innings against one of the top power-hitting teams in the conference.
"Kirsten did a great job," Dodd said. "She was hitting her spots and had a lot of confidence in her changeup. She held USF down and let her defense make the plays.
"Winning the second game was huge. It evened the series, and now we've got to come out tomorrow and put the ball in play hard."
First pitch in the decisive game of the series is at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
NOTES: Pitching ruled the day as USF was limited to nine hits in the doubleheader and DePaul had eight... Dodd had three of her team's hits on the day and one of the two RBIs... Verdun went the distance, giving up one run on three hits with six strikeouts and six walks... Verdun is the top hitter among the regulars at .349 and is followed by Mary Connolly (.345), Braden (.339), Dodd (.331) and Paige Peterson (.304)... Connolly leads in the power numbers with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs... Braden is tops in hits with 43 and doubles with nine... Braden and Dodd have each scored 31 runs.