DU
Braget

CHICAGO -- Katelyn Braget couldn’t have asked for a better home opener.

The DePaul senior slugged a pair of home runs to spark the Blue Demons to a 7-1 victory against No. 11 Louisville on Saturday.

This was also the Big East Conference opener for DePaul (17-10, 1-0) as coach Eugene Lenti’s ballclub gave Louisville its first loss of the season after 28 consecutive wins.

It was the third time this season the Blue Demons have defeated a top-25 team.

Mary Connolly singled to center with one out in the top of the second for the first Blue Demon hit this season at Cacciatore Stadium. Braget followed with a home run to right-center for a 2-0 lead.

Braget led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a solo shot over the left-field fence. That gave her six homers on the season, tying her for the team lead with Kirsten Verdun.

The Blue Demons weren’t done. Paige Peterson singled to right, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and came around to score on Lynsey Ciezki’s RBI single to center field. Louisville ace Tori Collins (13-1) was replaced by relief pitcher Chelsea Leonard after Peterson’s hit.

Opening Day started out smoothly as Ciezki had the ball hit to her three times in a row in the top of the first inning.

First came a line drive right at her. Next, it was a popup. Finally, this Ciezki kind of an inning ended when she fielded a grounder and threw out the Cardinal runner.

Starting pitcher Verdun held the hard-hitting Louisville sluggers to two hits over the first four innings. The sophomore left-hander gave up a two-out double in the second inning and a leadoff single in the fourth.

Louisville (28-1, 3-1) got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth on Kristin Austin’s leadoff triple and Katie Keller’s drove her in with a sacrifice fly.

Back came the Blue Demons. Samantha Dodd led off the bottom of the sixth with a double and Verdun followed with a single. Mary Connolly’s single through the right side brought home Dodd for a 5-1 lead.

They added two more insurance runs as pinch-runner Amanda Mener scored on a wild pitch and Bree Brown’s double drove in pinch-runner Ali Lenti.

Verdun improved to 10-5 on the season after limiting Louisville to one run and three hits. She struck out five and did not issue a walk in one of her best performances of the spring.