FULLERTON, Calif. – This is not what DePaul envisioned as a prelude to the BIG EAST Conference season.
A 7-1 loss to No. 7 Arizona on Saturday at the Judi Garman Classic was the fifth in a row for the Blue Demons in what coach Eugene Lenti described as “a lost weekend.”
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work and effort to be ready for the BIG EAST,” Lenti said. “We’re not getting quality pitching and didn’t have any timely hitting. And, we didn’t play good defense.
“We know we’re a very good team. Let’s just call it a lost weekend.”
After pitching so well throughout the tournament, Lindsey Dean didn’t have it against Arizona. Four walks and one hit handed the Wildcats a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Kirsten Verdun pitched the final six innings and gave up four runs on seven hits. Arizona added a run in the second and three more in the fourth.
Brittney Yniguez brought in the Blue Demons’ lone run in the bottom of the sixth. Alex Morocco, Sean Plese, Samantha Dodd and Verdun each had a hit for DePaul (15-7) while Yniguez drew three walks.
“We started the game walking batters left and right,” Lenti said. “Arizona scored three runs and didn’t ever hit the ball very hard. We didn’t give ourselves a chance.
“All of us know what we’re doing wrong, but Arizona (25-6) is too good a team to get yourself well against. It’s one of the best programs in the history of softball.”
DePaul is perennially among the nation’s best teams and has not lost five in a row since the injury-ravaged 2006 season.
The Blue Demons have a week to fix the flaws and restore the swagger before facing Providence next Saturday in Rhode Island.
“Restoring confidence, that’s something the players will have to do on their own,” Lenti said. “They know that everything is based on quality pitching, defense and timely hitting.
“It’s up to them to make things happen.”
Lenti realizes the team that went 0-for-California is the same ballclub that opened the season 15-2.
“All we can do is forget about it,” Lenti said. “There’s nothing we can take away from it. For us to win, we all know what we need to do.
“Depending on how we play at Providence, maybe all of this can be looked upon as a bad dream.”
Need to Know
• Alex Morocco wound up going 6-for-13 (.462) with two RBIs and one run at the Judi Garman Classic facing competition such as No. 7 Arizona, No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 14 Texas.
• Samantha Dodd was 5-for-14 (.357) while Sean Plese was 3-for-10 (.300).
• DePaul’s last five-game losing streak began on April 28, 2006 when Louisville swept a doubleheader 2-1 and 1-0.