April 4, 2014
CHICAGO, Ill. – DePaul scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to erase a 2-0 deficit, ultimately claiming a 4-2 decision over the University of Notre Dame softball team on Friday at a chilly Cacciatore Stadium. The Blue Demons recorded their second late-inning comeback over the Irish in Chicago in three contests, after winning a similar 5-2 game with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on April 28, 2013 at Cacciatore Stadium.
No. 23/25 Notre Dame (22-8) closed the game with a 6-5 edge in hits, including three that went for extra bases.
Junior All-American Emilee Koerner did her part to get things going for the Notre Dame cause in the top of the first inning, lacing a two-out pitch from DePaul ace Kirsten Verdun (14-5) into the gap in left center field for her ACC-high 13th double of the season. Verdun stranded the Irish runner in scoring position with an inning-ending strikeout.
Verdun helped her own cause in the home half of the first, knocking the first pitch from senior Laura Winter (14-4) through the right side for a leadoff single. Winter bounced back, striking out Allie Braden, Mary Connolly and Dylan Christensen in order to end the frame.
Sophomore Micaela Arizmendi wasted no time in the top of the second inning, driving a 1-0 pitch from Verdun gone over the wall in right center field for her seventh home run of the season to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead. The home run was Arizmendi’s fifth in her past 10 games.
Winter kept rolling in the bottom of the second, striking out the side swinging to strand Staci Bonezek at second base after she reached on an error and stole second base. Ali Lenti swung and missed at three straight pitches to give Winter her sixth consecutive strikeout.
The Irish loaded the bases with one out in the top of the third inning, and junior Katey Haus made the most of the RBI chance with a sacrifice fly to left field, allowing freshman Karley Wester to tag and score from third base to give Notre Dame a 2-0 cushion.
Winter registered another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fourth against the Blue Demons. Christensen struck out swinging, Morgan Maize popped up to Haus in foul ground at third and Nicole Pihl grounded out to Haus at third base to hang another zero in the DePaul column.
Blue Demon (21-8) hitter Hannah Penna made Notre Dame pay for the second straight season as a pinch hitter, crushing a three-run home run to give DePaul a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Penna delivered the game-winning pinch hit home run for the Blue Demons in last season’s comeback victory at Cacciatore Stadium.
Pinch hitter Casey Africano kept Notre Dame in business in the top half of the seventh inning, lacing her first double of the season into the right field corner. A bang-bang play at first base on an infield ground ball off the bat of Wester was thrown to first in time and ended the game.