DePaul Falls to No. 9/8 Louisville
May 11, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - DePaul's postseason softball fate now rests in the hands of the selection committee for the NCAA Championship.
The Blue Demons missed out on a chance for an automatic NCAA tournament bid after Friday's 2-0 loss to No. 9/8 Louisville in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals.
The coaches and players now have a must-see TV date at 9 p.m. Sunday to view the NCAA Softball Selection Show on ESPNU and find out if they're headed to their 15th NCAA tournament in the last 16 years.
The fallback scenario materialized after Louisville (52-3) and its nine All-BIG EAST players prevailed against the Blue Demons (35-20) who had beaten the Cardinals twice earlier in the season.
"Now we're in the hands of the selection committee instead of securing a berth by winning this tournament," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "You don't know who on the committee is on your side and who isn't---who will be supporting you.
"But you're not going to win many games with just an infield slap hit and bunt single. We had some opportunities but couldn't come up with the big hit.
"Louisville bunched some hits together. That's the difference between a great team and a good one on this day."
Louisville's Kayla Soles delivered a two-out, two-run double in the top of the fourth inning that provided the BIG EAST regular-season champion with the winning margin. The Cardinals made the most of their three hits in that inning.
DePaul ace Kirsten Verdun wriggled out of a first-inning jam. Louisville's Jennifer Esteban led off with a single. After one out, Verdun and Bree Brown collided on Alicja Wolny's infield pop. With runners on first and second, third baseman Brittany Boesel then turned a ground ball into a double play.
DePaul had runners on second and third with two out, but Katelyn Braget went down swinging.
Jordan Trimble led off the second for the Cardinals with a double. Verdun left her there.
The Blue Demons had runners on first and third with two out in the third inning, but Mary Connolly struck out.
"That pickoff was a game-changing play," Lenti said. "We had a good start to the inning, and you never know what could have happened.
"Verdun did a good job, but we ran into a hot pitcher. She (Tori Collins) made the right pitches when she had to, and we weren't disciplined enough at the plate."
Collins improved to 24-1 on the season while Verdun is 26-13.
NOTES: The only other time these two BIG EAST powers have met in the conference tournament was back on May 14, 2006 when the Cardinals prevailed 2-1 in the semifinals... Verdun is now tied for second in games started for a season at DePaul... in other single-season categories, she is fourth in innings pitched and strikeouts and tied for fourth in complete games... Verdun went the distance against Louisville giving up two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and no walks... Ciezki and Dodd got the only hits for DePaul, who left five runners on base.