Blue Demons Fall in Regional Final to No. 15 Kentucky
May 18, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. - DePaul softball prevailed with its back to the wall in three straight elimination games to reach an NCAA Tournament Regional Final for the eighth time in program history, but fell 10-1 to hosting Kentucky on Sunday at John Cropp Stadium.
DePaul's top three hitters -- Kirsten Verdun, Allie Braden and Mary Connolly -- went a combined 5-for-9 at the plate with a run and RBI as the Blue Demons closed their season at 44-11.
After a 10-inning thriller resulted in a 2-1 win during the first game of the afternoon, the wheels came off during a six-run rally by UK in the second.
Kentucky got on the board right away on an inside-the-park homer by speedy Sylver Samuel to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
In the second, a two-out error and a fluky hit off the third base bag helped open the floodgates as UK mounted a six-run rally. The big blow came on a three-run double by Christian Stokes, which just missed clearing the left field fence.
After two, the Wildcats led 7-0 with just one of the runs coming earned against Verdun.
DePaul's senior ace ripped a two-out double to start the next inning and an error by UK's second baseman made it first and third. Connolly then knocked a single to left to make it a 7-1 game.
UK added three more in the third and the game ended just six outs later for the Blue Demons, who were victims of the mercy rule for the first time this season.
DePaul finishes its season with its most wins since 2008, as well as BIG EAST regular season and tournament championships. The Blue Demons lost on Friday to start the tournament, but beat Ohio on Saturday before knocking off back-to-back ranked teams -- No. 25 James Madison and No. 15 Kentucky -- to reach the regional final.
Notes: DePaul is 45-37 all-time in NCAA play... The Blue Demons are 12-15 all-time against the NCAA regional host school... The Blue Demons had never faced UK in postseason play prior to today's split... Verdun finishes her season with 33 wins, tying her for the most in a single season in DePaul history (33)... Penna worked her second walk of the day in the fourth after entering the day with zero free passes all year... DePaul's top three hitters -- Verdun, Braden and Connolly -- combined to record all five of the team's hits...