March 27, 2013
CHICAGO – Coming off a series victory against St. John’s, the University of Pittsburgh softball team (13-13, 2-1) opens its Big East road schedule with a three-games series against DePaul (16-12, 3-0) this Friday and Saturday at Cacciatore Stadium.
The Panthers and the Blue Demons will play a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 2 p.m. EST (1 p.m. CST), and will conclude the series on Saturday at Noon EST, (11 a.m. CST). Fans can follow live stats for the entire weekend by clicking here, and can also receive in-game updates via Twitter by following @PittSoftball.
PANTHERS TAKE 2-OF-3 FROM THE RED STORM:
After dropping the first of three games to St. John’s, the Panthers rallied to win the final two games for the series victory.
In game two, Alexa Larkin tallied a career-high 13 strikeouts, while Kaila Balatgek scored the game-tying run in the seventh and had the game-winning RBI in the eighth, giving Pitt a 3-2 victory. It was the Panthers first extra inning victory of the season.
In the rubber game, Pitt jumped out in front 3-0 courtesy of three solo homers in the bottom of the second inning all coming from freshmen. Kathryn Duran hit her second HR of the season, while Carmelena Moffa had the first four-bagger of her career. Tori Nirschl then went yard for her team-high eighth homer of the season. Pitt would increase its lead to 6-0, and went on to clinch the series with a 6-3 victory.
STEVENS INCHING CLOSER TO THE RECORD:
Senior captain Holly Stevens was 2-for-3 in the opening game against SJU with a home run and three RBI. She enters this weekend with 116 career runs batted in, and needs just four RBI to tie and five to break Samantha Card’s record of 120 set from 2006-09. Stevens is also the all-time home runs leader at Pitt with 33 and counting.
The Blue Demons are paced by All-American Kristin Verdun. A dual threat, Verdun is the ace of the pitching staff with an 11-6 record with a 2.19 ERA. At the plate she is batting .337 with four home runs and a team-high 18 RBI.
Teammate Allie Braden paces the offense as she owns the fifth highest batting average in the Big East at .404. She leads the team in at bats (89), hits (36), runs (25), doubles (9), triples (2) total bases (55), slugging percentage (.618) and on base percentage (.491).
The Panthers look to win a three-game series against DePaul for the first time in program history. The Blue Demons own a 12-2 series advantage.
After this weekend, Pitt will play a mid-week doubleheader at Robert Morris on April 3rd, and will then host perennial national-power USF the weekend of April 6-7. The Bulls are coming off a College World Series appearance in 2012.