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Blue Demon Express Rolls to 16th Win in a Row
Mary Connolly's 12th home run of the season paved the way for DePaul in a 6-1 BIg EAST victory over Villanova.

Mary Connolly's 12th home run of the season paved the way for DePaul in a 6-1 BIg EAST victory over Villanova.

April 26, 2014

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CHICAGO – The Blue Demon express just keeps on rolling as DePaul won its 16th game in a row on Saturday.

In the opener of a BIG EAST Conference doubleheader at Cacciatore Stadium, the Blue Demons defeated Villanova 6-1 in posting its longest winning streak since 2011.

DePaul (34-8, 14-0 in the BIG EAST) has already clinched the conference regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the BIG EAST tournament May 9-10 in Rosemont.

Winning pitcher Kirsten Verdun (24-5) received all the support she would need in the third inning when the BIG EAST’s most dangerous hitter Mary Connolly drove a Kate Poppe delivery through the wind and over the center field fence with Gena Lenti (infield single) aboard.

The Blue Demons put the game away with four runs in the fourth. After two outs, Staci Bonezek was hit by a pitch and Gena Lenti singled to center. Verdun was intentionally walked to load the bases as Cherelle Chambers came on to run for her.

Allie Braden, who has been coming on strong as her career winds down, came through with a two-run single to center. Connolly walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Micah Fitzgerald.

Dylan Christensen was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for an RBI. Nicole Pihl’s bases-loaded walk brought home Braden.

Verdun limited Villanova to three hits over four innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Hannah Penna covered the final three innings, giving up a run on one hit with four strikeouts and one walk.

Connolly was in the circle for DePaul in game two of the doubleheader.

NOTES: The Blue Demons have not lost since March 26 at Louisville… they have won 20 of their last 22 games and have outscored opponents 61-17 in the first inning this season… in BIG EAST play, DePaul has outscored opponents 107-25… the Blue Demons are now 12-1 all-time against Villanova… Gena Lenti was 2-for-2 with two runs scored in the opener… Verdun, Braden, Connolly and Bonezek each had one hit… DePaul sent 10 batters to the plate in the fourth inning… the win was No. 1,300 in program history… DePaul’s winning streak is tied for its longest since 2011… Verdun’s win was the 96th of her career, moving her into a tie for third all-time in wins (Nicole Terpstra, 1996-99)… Christensen’s double was her 13th of the season, and she leads the Blue Demons and the BIG EAST in two-baggers… Connolly’s homer was her 12th of the season and 27th of her career… Verdun’s intentional walk was the sixth of her career, moving her into a tie for fourth all-time in school history with Linda Secka (2004-07)… on Sunday, the softball program will honor Verdun, Braden, Penna and Megan Coronado Senior Day ceremony after the game with Villanova.