For the second straight day, Creighton could not hold a 2-1 seventh-inning lead and would end up losing 3-2 to end their season in the NCAA Tournament at University Field Saturday afternoon. This day, it was DePaul tying the game in the bottom of the seventh and winning on a bases loaded fielder’s choice in the ninth inning, ending the record-setting careers of six Bluejay seniors in heartwrenching fashion.
The loss, Creighton’s fourth straight walk-off defeat in NCAA Tournament play, moves CU’s final record to 37-23 on the season, while DePaul (39-17) kept its season alive with the come-from-behind effort.
DePaul did not hit the ball out of the infield in the decisive frame, as Lynsey Ciezki led off with an infield single to second base. She was moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Alex Morocco then notched her third hit of the game, reaching on an infield single to shorstop to put runners at the corner with one out. The Jays intentionally walked Becca Heteniak to load the bases for Brittney Yniguez. The DePaul cleanup hitter would drive in the winning run as her soft ground ball glanced off of Tara Oltman’s glove in the circle and by the time Michelle Koch came up with the ball at second base and threw home, the game had been decided.
After Creighton allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in five of seven innings in Friday night’s loss to No. 8 Missouri, DePaul put its first two batters on base in the bottom of the first inning. A double steal put both runners in scoring position with no outs. With one out, Yniguez dropped down a squeeze bunt to give the Blue Demons a 1-0 lead after one inning.
The Bluejays had an opportunity to get on the board in the third inning, when Jessi Jadlowski was hit by a pitch with one out. Koch, CU’s all-time sacrifice bunt leader could not get a sac down, possibly costing the Bluejays a run as Renae Sinkler followed with a single to right field. Rather than scoring from second on the play, Jadlowski moved from first to third to put runners at the corners for Amy Baker. The freshman slugger hit a weak grounder to the pitcher to end CU’s scoring threat.
Creighton did not let another scoring opportunity elude it in the fourth inning. With one out, Lauren Larson, Sara Loeffelholz and Liz McKewon strung together three consecutive singles to score CU’s first run. McKewon’s slap single down the left field line glanced off of Ciezki’s glove at third base and moved into foul territory in left field, allowing pinch-runner Kari Sakamoto to score from second base and tie the game. With two outs, Jessi Jadlowski hit a soft single up the middle. Morocco picked up the single in center field just 20 feet behind second base, but her throw to the plate was to the first base side, allowing Loeffelholz to score and give the Jays a 2-1 lead.
DePaul put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth inning, putting two runners in scoring position for three-hole hitter and starting pitcher, Heteniak. Tara Voss walked with two down and Morocco dumped a double to left field, off the glove of a diving Loeffelholz, to put both runners in scoring position. McKewon made a tough play on a foul pop up off the bat of Heteniak to end the inning and keep the Jays ahead.
For the second straight game, the Bluejays could not maintain a 2-1 lead heading in to the bottom of the seventh inning. Shea Warren started the inning with a perfectly placed bunt single down the third base line. With one out, Ciezki singled to left field to put two on for Voss. The DePaul leadoff hitter smacked a hit to right field, scoring Warren with the tying run. Voss advanced to second on the throw in to put two runners in scoring position with just one out. The Jays intentionally passed Morocco to get to Heteniak. The Blue Demon slugger hit a slow roller to third base, forcing the second out at the plate. Yniguez popped up to short to leave the bases loaded and send the game to extra innings.
Both sides finished with nine base hits, but all were singles for the Bluejays in the loss. Sinkler finished 2-for-5 in her final collegiate game, while McKewon was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Seven of DePaul’s nine hits came from three players, as Morocco was 3-for-4 and Warren and Ciezki were both 2-for-4.
Oltman went 8.1 innings in her final collegiate appearance, dropping to 32-14 in defeat. She allowed nine hits and three earned runs, walking three and striking out five.
For the second straight game, the opposing reliever shut down the CU bats, as Bree Brown tossed four shutout innings for DePaul and allowed just one hit to pick up the win and move to 17-5. Heteniak allowed eight hits in five innings.
Story courtesy of Creighton athletics.