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Late Rally Not Quite Enough in 4-2 Loss to Northwestern
Samantha Dodd went 3-for-4 Tuesday at Northwestern and is hitting nearly .600 in her last nine games.

Samantha Dodd went 3-for-4 Tuesday at Northwestern and is hitting nearly .600 in her last nine games.

April 30, 2013

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EVANSTON, Ill. – In a battle of bubble teams, DePaul came out on the short end Tuesday.

Clawing for a berth in the NCAA tournament along with the Blue Demons, Northwestern was able to hang on for a 4-2 nonconference victory.

Down 4-1 in the top of the seventh inning, DePaul (28-19) came within a base hit of tying it up. Allie Braden and Samantha Dodd got the rally going with one-out singles and Kirsten Verdun drew a two-out walk.

Hannah Penna, who hit the game-winning home run in Sunday’s win over Notre Dame, came through with an RBI single to left field. Looking for the game-tying hit, Megan Coronado went down swinging.

But that’s exactly who the Blue Demons wanted up at the plate. Coronado was 2-for-4 against winning pitcher Amy Letourneau (20-10) with a solo home run.

“Leaving 10 runners on base and letting their No. 9 batter beat you is not the formula for winning,” said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti as Olivia Duehr delivered a key two-run double in the fourth inning against DePaul ace Kirsten Verdun (20-11).

“There’s not enough focus on the mound in that situation. You don’t want to get beat by the bottom of their order.

“Our defense did the job and made some great plays. We had runners on base and our No. 2-3-4-5 hitters all had chances to drive in runs. Only Hannah had an RBI.”

Northwestern (29-18) jumped in front with Letourneau’s solo home run in the first inning. Coronado matched that with her solo shot in the fourth. Duehr delivered the decisive hit with two outs in the fourth.

“We didn’t have enough quality at-bats with runners on base,” Lenti said. “But give their pitcher credit. She did a good job of jamming us and got a lot of easy popups.”

Both softball programs are living on the edge in regards to the NCAA tournament field. DePaul could lock up an automatic bid by winning the BIG EAST Championship tournament, but that won’t be easy against the likes of No. 9/9 Louisville, No. 23/25 USF and Notre Dame.

The Blue Demons will look to bounce back on Wednesday when Northern Illinois (20-28) visits Cacciatore Stadium for a nonconference game with first pitch at 4 p.m.

NOTES: Wednesday’s matchup will be the final home game for DePaul… the Blue Demons came into the week with an NCAA RPI rating of 40 while Northwestern was 45… Dodd was 3-for-4 against Letourneau while Coronado was 2-for-4 with the home run… Braden went 2-for-4 and Penna had the final hit in DePaul’s eight-hit attack… in the last nine games, Dodd is batting nearly .600… the bottom of the Blue Demon batting order had a rough day, striking out seven times… Verdun pitched six innings and gave up four runs on nine hits with six strikeouts and no walks.