May 9, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. - BIG EAST Softball Pitcher of the Year Kirsten Verdun recorded 12 strikeouts and held Creighton to two hits as DePaul defeated the Bluejays 9-1 in six innings in the day's first BIG EAST Championship Semifinal. The top-seeded Blue Demons will make their third trip to the league final and will face the winner of No. 2 St. John's and No. 3 Georgetown, set to play this afternoon.
Verdun struck out the first four batters she faced and did not allow a hit until the top of the fourth inning, by which point the Blue Demons had built a 6-0 lead. DePaul (40-9) scored two in the first, with Verdun crossing the plate first off a Dylan Christensen (BIG EAST Rookie of the Year) sacrifice fly and Allie Braden, who reached on a single, touched home plate off a Creighton (29-24) error.
The Blue Demons tacked on four runs in the third inning with Braden getting on base with another single before recording a run off a Christensen single. Megan Coronado, Cherelle Chambers and Morgan Maize all recorded scores in the bottom of the third.
Creighton's Blair Lowe knocked a single to break up Verdun's bid for a no-hitter at the top of the fourth before Alexis Cantu, one of three All-BIG EAST First Team players for the Bluejays, doubled to right center at the top of the fourth, sending Lowe home for what would be CU's lone score of the game.
Verdun exacted revenge in the next inning, mowing down Creighton on three consecutive strikeouts, with both teams ending the fifth without adding any runs.
Ahead 6-1 in the bottom of the sixth, DePaul scored the game's final three runs to force an early finish, with Micah Fitzgerald providing the game-ending RBI on a fielder's choice.
DePaul finished 8-of-22 from the plate against arguably the league's No. 2 pitcher in Creighton's Becca Changstrom. Changstrom recorded four strikeouts but struggled with her control, walking seven with all nine runs credited to her. The Bluejays were 2-of-19 from the plate, stranding one runner.
The Blue Demons will be making their third trip to the BIG EAST Championship final after advancing in 2008 and 2009. DePaul is 1-1 with the league trophy on the line, defeating USF 4-1 in the first appearance before falling to Notre Dame 1-0 the year following. The Blue Demons went 2-0 against St. John's and 3-0 against Georgetown during the regular season.