Verdun's Three-Hitter Leads DePaul Past Northern Illinois
May 1, 2013
CHICAGO - DePaul's winning formula on Wednesday called for a pitcher with bulldog determination backed by a superb defense.
Sprinkle in just enough offense to that concoction and you have a 2-0, nonconference victory over Northern Illinois in the season's final home game at Cacciatore Stadium.
Kirsten Verdun improved to 21-11 on the season after holding the Huskies to three hits.
"I was pitching to contact, and the defense was simply tremendous," Verdun said. "Allie Braden set the tone with the first NIU batter when she made that diving catch.
"Brittany Boesel made all the plays at third base, and there were some pretty tough chances for her. Gena Lenti did a nice job at second base, especially with that over-the-shoulder catch that took away a bloop hit. All the outfielders did just great.
"They didn't hit a ton of balls hard, but when they did, the defense came through. And our offense was just timely enough."
DePaul (29-19) got on the scoreboard in the third inning beginning with Samantha Dodd's two-out bloop single to right field. Mary Connolly followed with a fly ball that NIU right-fielder Kristyn Barrett lost in the sun. Dodd streaked in from first to score and Connolly wound up with a "Sunkist" double.
"I always tell our players if we look up at the scoreboard and the other team has zero runs and we have zero errors, there's a good chance we're going to win that game," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "Verdun pitched well and was a bulldog out there when she got into a jam.
"The defense was spectacular, and we won on pitching and defense."
The Blue Demons' quest to fortify their NCAA tournament credentials takes them to Connecticut for a BIG EAST Conference season-ending, three-game series beginning with an 11 a.m. Saturday doubleheader.
"We have to play every team like they are trying to knock us out of the NCAA tournament," Verdun said. "That's this weekend in Connecticut and next week at the BIG EAST tournament.
"This is the time of the year for everyone on the team to step it up."
NOTES: DePaul will head into the 2014 season with an intimidating record of 96-22 at Cacciatore Stadium... Bonezek went 2-for-2 against Northern Illinois with an RBI... Connolly was 2-for-3 with an RBI... Dodd went 1-for-3 with a run scored and is batting .568 over her last 10 games... Verdun, Hannah Penna and Gena Lenti each had one hit... Verdun went the distance for her seventh shutout with two strikeouts and one walk... she threw 84 pitches of which 51 were strikes... Dodd leads the regulars with a .381 batting average followed by Verdun (.363), Braden (.354), Gena Lenti (.348), Connolly (.329), Megan Coronado (.316) and Penna (.306)... Connolly tops the team in home runs with 10 and RBIs with 40.