TAMPA, Fla. - No. 1 seed Notre Dame (43-12) advanced to the BIG EAST Championship title game for the second-straight season with a 9-1 win against No. 4 seed DePaul (32-21) Friday at the BIG EAST Championship on the campus of USF. A two-RBI walk-off double by sophomore Cassidy Whidden in the bottom of the sixth inning secured the Irish win at the USF Softball Stadium. Notre Dame awaits the winner of No. 2 USF (41-12) and No. 3 Louisville (46-10). The BIG EAST Championship final will be aired live on ESPN2 Saturday, May 11 at 4 p.m. ET.
The Irish advance to their 11th BIG EAST Championship final since joining the league in 1996. They are 6-5 all-time in title games and last won in 2009. The team's six championships rank second to Connecticut's seven in the history of the 23-year conference tournament.
Friday's matchup featured the BIG EAST's top-two utility/pitchers in the league, BIG EAST Player of the Year Laura Winter and unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team selection Kirsten Verdun. Winter went six innings in the circle and allowed one run (earned) on four hits. Verdun went five innings, striking out five and allowing six runs (two earned) on four hits. The juniors went 1-for-2 and 2-for-3 respectively from the plate.
A 1-1 tie was broken up in the bottom of the fourth inning by a five-run outburst from the Irish. Whidden, a third team all-conference selection, drove in one of her game-high three RBI. Notre Dame added three more runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning to end the game with a 9-1 win. They were lead offensively by sophomore Katey Haus' 3-for-4 performance and one RBI.