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Life on the Road Not Kind to DePaul
Katelyn Braget drove in the lone Blue Demon run in Sunday's 2-1 BIG EAST loss to Notre Dame.

Katelyn Braget drove in the lone Blue Demon run in Sunday's 2-1 BIG EAST loss to Notre Dame.

April 22, 2012

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. - After a rough road swing, DePaul is ready for a return to Cacciatore Stadium.

A 2-1 BIG EAST Conference loss to Notre Dame on Sunday left DePaul with a 1-4 record on visits to Connecticut and the Fighting Irish in the last week. The Blue Demons lost the nightcap of a mid-week doubleheader to the Huskies and all three games at Notre Dame.

"Kirsten Verdun started out slowly on the mound but settled down and did a good job," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "She pitched well enough to win the game."

DePaul (26-17, 8-6 in the BIG EAST) ran into a hot pitcher over the weekend.

Notre Dame ace Laura Winter opened the series with a no-hitter in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader.

She wasn't charged with a run in her 6.2 innings of work in the nightcap as the Fighting Irish prevailed 4-3. The run on Sunday was the only one Winter was charged with in 20.2 innings.

On Sunday, Notre Dame (26-12, 8-3) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Alexa Maldonado slashed a one-out double to center field and scored on Amy Buntin's double to left. Buntin came around to score on a passed ball and a throwing error.

"We keep shooting ourselves in the foot," Lenti said. "After Ali Warren had the passed ball, she tried to get the runner out at third and threw it away. That's how Notre Dame got the winning run.

"If not for that, it could've been a 1-1 game and your whole approach changes. We would have done things differently in a tie game."

The Blue Demons got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth when Verdun reached on an infield single and took second on a throwing error. After Lynsey Ciezki popped out, Mary Connolly's infield single send Verdun to third.

Katelyn Braget brought Verdun home with an RBI single to left. But one run wasn't going to be enough in the series finale.

In the last four games, DePaul has been outhit .266-.233 and outscored 14-7.

"We told our players that our team is going as far as the offense will carry us," Lenti said. "You're not going to win many games hitting .233---no matter who you are playing.

"We did outhit Notre Dame for the second-straight game, but we didn't outscore them."

The Blue Demons are home for a nonconference game against Illinois on Tuesday and a BIG EAST doubleheader against Syracuse on Wednesday.

"It's time to find a way to win because our season is slowly slipping away," Lenti said. "Our players need to keep working hard while understanding and executing the game plan.

"We need to get back to playing DePaul softball."

NOTES: In an effort to jump-start the offense, Lenti inserted top slugger Verdun into the leadoff spot of the batting order for Saturday's second game and also on Sunday... Verdun responded going 3-for-7 at the top of the order with an RBI and a run... she leads the team with an on-base percentage of .449 and it also tops in batting average (.362), home runs (nine), RBIs (35) and hits (46)... Braget was 2-for-3 with an RBI on Sunday and Connolly was also 2-for-3... Verdun, Ciezki, Allie Braden and Warren had one hit apiece... Verdun pitched six innings and gave up one earned run on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks... on the season, Samantha Dodd is hitting .360 and Connolly .310 with five homers and 27 RBIs... Braden is batting .301, Ciezki .273 with a team-high 26 runs and Braget .268 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs... Verdun is 18-10 with a 1.78 ERA.