May 22, 2010

Courtesy of DePaul

COLUMBIA, Mo. - For DePaul, it has come down to this: Do-or-die.

After nearly four months of daunting challenges and battling adversity, the Blue Demons have to win four games in a row to keep their season alive.

It began with Creighton on Saturday in the losers' bracket of the double-elimination, NCAA Regional at Missouri.

Brittney Yniguez's RBI on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Lynsey Ciezki with the winning run in a 3-2 victory over Creighton.

This was the fourth consecutive walk-off loss for Creighton in NCAA tournament play.

DePaul (39-17) advanced to play Illinois (44-7) in the final game of the losers' bracket. Whoever wins that game moves on to Sunday's title game against Missouri (48-11).

Ciezki had led off the ninth with a single and was advanced to second on a Tar Voss sacrifice bunt.

Alex Morocco's infield single put runners on first and third, and Becca Heteniak was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Voss had come through with a huge clutch single to right field with one out in the bottom of the seventh that scored Shea Warren with the tying run.

Warren had led off with a bunt single, and after a Sean Plese strikeout, advanced to second on a Lynsey Ciezki single.

After Voss' hit, Alex Morocco was intentionally walked. With the bases loaded and one out, Becca Heteniak hit into a fielder's choice with Ciezki being forced out at home. Brittney Yniguez popped out to the shortstop, mandating extra innings.

Creighton had runners on first and third with two out in the top of the eighth when Voss made a nice over-the-shoulder catch running towards the outfield to keep the score at 2-2.

Just like in Friday's regional opener, DePaul drew first blood. Voss was hit by a pitch leading off the bottom of the first inning.

Morocco followed with a bunt single, and then both executed a classic double steal. After starting pitcher Becca Heteniak struck out, Yniguez's squeeze bunt scored Voss for a 1-0 lead.

Creighton mounted a threat in the top of the third when Jessi Jadlowski was hit by a pitch with one out. Renae Sinkler's two-out single to right field send Jadlowski to third.

Heteniak got tough with Bluejays' No. 3 hitter Amy Baker and induced a groundout back to the circle.

The Blue Demons squandered a scoring opportunity in their half of the third. Voss laid down a textbook bunt single and Morocco reached on an error with one out.

But Heteniak popped out to Creighton ace Tara Oltman and Yniguez lined out to third baseman Michelle Graner.

Now it was the Bluejays' turn. Three consecutive, one-out singles by Lauren Larson, Sara Loeffelholz and Liz McKewon resulted in a 1-1 ball game in the top of the fourth. Pinch-runner Kari Sakamoto scored on McKewon's hit.

After Heteniak struck out Christa Ruf, Jadlowski singled to center and drove in Loeffelholz for a 2-1 Creighton lead.

Back-to-back singles by Baker and Michelle Graner put Bluejays on first and second with one out. Heteniak got a popout from Larson and Loeffelholz flied out to Morocco in center.

DePaul missed out on another offensive opportunity. With two out in the bottom of the fifth, Voss walked and Morocco hit a double to left field.

Heteniak couldn't help her own cause and fouled out to shortstop McKewon.

Bree Brown came on in relief of Heteniak in the sixth, and it was three-up, three-down with two strikeouts.