CHICAGO – The Blue Demons would bend, but refused to break as they extended their lead in the Big East after sweeping the Georgetown Hoyas on Saturday afternoon. In game one, four players recorded multi-hit games, led by designated player, freshman Nicole Pihl, who nabbed three hits in the contest.
DePaul jumped on the board after a 5-pitch half inning from junior Mary Connolly, with Pihl’s first hit of the day – a single up the middle which scored two. Senior Allie Braden and Freshman Dylan Christensen would continue to do the heavy lifting for the DePaul offense, creating a 5-1 lead heading into the 5th inning.
That lead would be short lived after a 2-run blast from Georgetown’s Megan Hyson cut the deficit to two. Things would thicken even more for DePaul as another Hoya homerun, as well as a few defensive miscues in the 7th knotting the score at 6. The fireworks wouldn’t last long as DePaul quickly put runners in scoring position to start the bottom half of the frame. Junior catcher Staci Bonezek would take matters into her own hands, singling home pinch runner Freshman Micah Fitzgerald to walk-off with a victory. Pitcher Mary Connolly received a no-decision after hurling six innings, while giving up two earned runs and striking out four. Offensively, Allie Braden stayed hot, making it 14 straight contests that she has reached base safely.
Game two of the twin bill would prove be less eventful due to starting pitcher, senior Kirsten Verdun, who threw a complete game shutout.
With the shutout, Verdun is now 20-5 on the year, with a sub-1.7 earned runner average, among the top 3 in the conference.
Connolly showed why she’s the Big East’s best hitter when she deposited a fastball over the center field fence for her 10th homerun of the year, giving the blue demons an early 2-0 lead. Three errors throughout the game would prove costly for the Hoyas as their offense staggered throughout game two. Braden would single in the 3rd, extending her on-base-safely streak to 15 games.
“We knew this was a big weekend for us,” Head Coach Eugene Lenti said. “The Hoyas have beaten some good teams around the country and we understood what we had to do. Focus was vital for us. I was happy to see the ladies bounce back from a sub-par defensive performance in game one.”
The Blue Demons take on Georgetown to conclude the series Sunday. The contest is set to begin at noon.
Slideshow: Photos by Tara Gresens.