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Another Top 25 Team Bites the Dust
Hannah Penna had another strong outing, limiting No. 20/17 Georgia Tech to two runs and one hit.

Hannah Penna had another strong outing, limiting No. 20/17 Georgia Tech to two runs and one hit.

Feb. 24, 2012

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CLEARWATER, Fla. - As DePaul's players walked off the Eddie Moore Complex softball field on Friday, you could almost imagine that popular Queen song playing in the background: "Another one bites the dust..."

For the second time in two weeks, the Blue Demons toppled a Top 25 program, this time with a 4-2 victory over No. 20/17 Georgia Tech.

The Sunshine State success came six days after DePaul (8-4) had beaten No. 24 Louisiana State at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas.

The architect of this latest takedown at the NFCA Leadoff Classic was none other than sophomore pitcher Hannah Penna.

She limited Georgia Tech (7-4) to one hit over five innings with the Yellow Jackets scoring on an illegal pitch and a groundout. Bree Brown finished off the final two innings allowing one hit in earning her first save.

"Hannah did a good job, and we thought she gave us the best matchup against Georgia Tech," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "One of Hannah's two walks came around to score and our error led to the other run scoring after an illegal pitch.

"Bree did well and is such a contrast to Hannah. Bree pitches more up and down with her riseball and Hannah is more east and west."

The Blue Demons erupted for all the runs they would need in the top of the third inning. With two outs, Allie Braden singled and Lynsey Ciezki reached on an error.

Samantha Dodd brought Braden home with an RBI single and then scored right after Ciezki when Kirsten Verdun smacked a double into the gap in left field.

Mary Connolly followed with an RBI hit to center that scored pinch-runner Ali Lenti, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

This was Penna's third strong outing in this early season.

She limited a hard-hitting Hawai'i team to a pair of runs in six innings of work two weeks ago, and last week limited No. 1 California to one run over five innings.

All this after appearing in three games last season going 0-0 with an 8.40 earned-run average.

"I could still do better," Penna said after giving up two runs on one hit over those five innings with five strikeouts and two walks. "Everybody said I pitched well, but I shouldn't have given up those walks, and Georgia Tech still scored two runs off me.

"I guess I should stop putting myself down most of the time. My curveball was the pitch that was working the best today."

It was a good Friday for DePaul, including an 8-0, five-inning victory over a Massachusetts team that is receiving votes in both national polls.

"That's what happens when we hit well, pitch well, run the bases well and defend well," Lenti said. "We used a bit of trickery in scoring the first run after Lynsey opened the game with a double. After manufacturing that first run, everybody loosened up.

"Offensively, we got a lot of contributions throughout the lineup. We put the ball in play with good at-bats. And Kirsten did the job in the circle keeping the ball down and the UMass hitters off-balance."

The Blue Demons face a Winthrop ballclub at noon on Saturday that upset No. 10/9 Tennessee 2-1 on Friday at the NFCA Classic.

NOTES: Staci Bonezek paced the eight-hit attack going 2-for-3... Dodd was 1-for-2 with a walk, an RBI and a run... Verdun was 1-for-4 with that two-run double... Connolly was 1-for-3 with an RBI, Braden was 1-for-2 and Katelyn Braget was 1-for-3... Ciezki was 1-for-4 with a run scored... after 12 games, Verdun tops the team in hitting at .361 and is followed by Ciezki and Dodd at .351, Bonezek (.304) and Megan Coronado (.300)... Connolly leads in home runs with three and RBIs with eight... Coronado has two homers and seven RBIs... DePaul is hitting .274 as a team and is outscoring opponents 55-31... Verdun is 5-2 with a 2.27 ERA while Brown is 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA... Penna is 1-1 with a 1.75 ERA.