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To Brown, Dodd and Warren: Happy Senior Day From Hannah Penna
Hannah Penna's game-winning, three-run home run led DePaul to a 5-2 BIG EAST win over Notre Dame.


Hannah Penna's game-winning, three-run home run led DePaul to a 5-2 BIG EAST win over Notre Dame.

April 28, 2013

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CHICAGO - With one mighty swing, Hannah Penna sent out a wish for the happiest of Seniors Days to Ali Warren, Bree Brown and Samantha Dodd on Sunday.

Penna's dramatic three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning gave DePaul a 5-2 BIG EAST Conference victory over Notre Dame at Cacciatore Stadium.

Trailing the whole game, DePaul (28-18, 14-5 in the BIG EAST) rallied for four runs in the sixth, and it was quite a scene as the Blue Demons gathered at home plate to mob the pinch-hitting junior.

After swinging and missing at the first two offerings from Notre Dame ace Laura Winter (23-9) with Megan Coronado on second and pinch-runner Amanda Mener on second and two outs, Penna connected on a high riseball and blasted it well beyond the left-field fence.

"I've got to be honest with you," Dodd said. "I was sitting in the dugout covering my eyes and praying to whatever softball gods are out there.

"Then, I heard the hit, stood up and saw everyone jumping six feet over our dugout fence. What a great way to end Senior Day."

With the 0-and-2 count, Penna wasn't concerned.

"Eug (DePaul coach Eugene Lenti) kept telling me to stay on top of the ball," Penna said. "I was expecting the riseball, but everyone was saying to stay off of it.

"I like high pitches. I knew it was gone when I hit it."

After dropping a doubleheader to Notre Dame (37-11, 17-2) just 24 hours earlier, this comeback win put the Blue Demons back on track in their quest to secure an NCAA tournament berth.

"It was huge," Lenti said. "This will go down as one of those Senior Days you will always remember, coming back and beating a good team like Notre Dame.

"We had a lot of good at-bats in that sixth inning, and Hannah's was the best."

Trailing 2-0, DePaul cut the deficit in half on Allie Braden's RBI triple to right in the fifth inning. Mary Connolly and winning pitcher Kirsten Verdun opened the sixth with singles. Pinch-runner Cherelle Chambers scored on Coronado's infield hit.

Brittany Boesel's sacrifice bunt moved pinch-runner Mener to third and Coronado to second. After Staci Bonezek flied out, Lenti called on Penna to pinch-hit.

"That's why we like to have Hannah up at the plate," Lenti said. "With every at-bat, she has the potential to hit it out of the park. She has quick hands and a good batting eye. That was her second big hit of the week (two-run double against Loyola on Thursday)."

Verdun went the distance in becoming a 20-game winner (20-10). The junior left-hander gave up two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and four walks.

"The seniors are supposed to lead the way on Senior Day, and in my last at-bat I tried to hit a home run to get us going but I flied out," Dodd said. "It was up the juniors and sophomores and freshmen to get the job done today.

"And you know what? We seniors could not have asked for a better Senior Day present than Hannah's home run."

The Blue Demons will drive up to Evanston on Tuesday for a 4 p.m. nonconference game against Northwestern.

NOTES: That was Penna's second home run of the season... for the third-straight game, DePaul outhit Notre Dame---this time 8-5... Coronado went 2-for-3 while Braden, Dodd, Connolly, Verdun, Paige Peterson and Penna had one hit apiece... the comeback win snapped an 11-game Fighting Irish winning streak... DePaul only left four runners on base while Notre Dame stranded 11... Verdun pitched out of numerous jams including bases loaded and one out in the sixth... Verdun also did a terrific job pitching around four Blue Demon errors, two hit batsmen and the four walks.