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Blue Demons Celebrate Another "Senior Day"
Lynsey Ciezki's RBI single launched a six-run outburst in DePaul 6-0 win over USF at the BIG EAST Championship.

Lynsey Ciezki's RBI single launched a six-run outburst in DePaul 6-0 win over USF at the BIG EAST Championship.

May 10, 2012

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Blue Demons celebrated "Senior Day" all over again at their BIG EAST Championship opener.

Lynsey Ciezki and Katelyn Braget sparked a six-run outburst in Thursday's 6-0 victory over USF at Melissa Cook Stadium.

DePaul (35-19) advances to the BIG EAST tournament semifinals at 3 p.m. Friday against Louisville (51-3), which defeated Connecticut 8-0 in five innings on Thursday.

"It was awesome pulling off the first upset of the tournament," said Ciezki of fifth-seeded DePaul's triumph over No. 4 seed USF (45-11). "She (USF ace Sara Nevins) had been pitching me away the first two times when I got walks. The third time, I got my legs into the swing, the hands flowed through and there was good extension."

Ciezki's RBI single drove in the first run in DePaul's six-run fifth inning that began with Paige Peterson's double to right field. Until then, the Blue Demons' lone hit was Braget's base hit in the fourth.

After Samantha Dodd reached on an error and Kirsten Verdun on a fielder's choice, All-BIG EAST Third Team selection Mary Connolly ripped a two-out, two-run single to center field and gave way to pinch-runner Staci Bonezek.

Braget re-enacted Connolly's clutch stroke with her own two-run single to center and culminated the outburst by scoring on a wild pitch.

That was the sweetest crooked number DePaul coach Eugene Lenti has seen in quite a while.

"It was like Senior Day for us with our seniors Lynsey and Katelyn providing the leadership with those big hits," Lenti said. "Paige got us started with that double and everything took off from there.

"Lynsey had a great day with those two walks and the RBI single. She took the pressure off everyone who followed her."

DePaul also made sure to take its daily dose of "One-a-Day Verdun" as the Blue Demons ace fired a two-hitter.

The All-BIG EAST First Team sophomore improved her record to 26-12 while registering her ninth shutout of the season. She also has combined for two additional shutouts.

In her string of 17 consecutive starts, Verdun has pitched both ends of five doubleheaders. She will only be required to pitch once a day at the BIG EAST tournament.

"Kirsten is a bulldog out there and always keeps us in the game," Ciezki said. "We wanted to score as many runs as we can to take the pressure off her.

"It was a great feeling scoring those runs and seeing your teammates getting all excited and fired up. That's when it all started to snowball."

Ciezki led off the game with a walk and Braget opened the top of the second getting hit by Nevins, but DePaul could not take advantage of those openings.

Ciezki took a one-out walk in the third inning, but was called out for leaving the base early. Braget's two-out single in the fourth was the first hit of the game for either team.

"Verdun did a great job," Lenti said. "She kept the ball in the park and didn't walk or hit anybody."

NOTES: DePaul is now 7-0 in BIG EAST tournament opening-round games... the Blue Demons hope to improve on their 2-4 record in second-round games on Friday... Verdun continues to climb in DePaul single-season marks... she is third in games started, fourth in strikeouts, tied for fourth in wins and fifth in complete games and innings pitched... Verdun gave up no runs and two hits with five strikeouts and no walks against the Bulls... Braget was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Connolly 1-for-4 with two RBIs... Ciezki was 1-for-2 with an RBI, a run and two walks... Peterson was 1-for-3 with a run and Dodd was 1-for-4.