Keeping It Simple Could Help DePaul Extend Winning Streak
Feb. 28, 2013
CHICAGO - Keeping things simple could be the key for DePaul this weekend at the Eller Media Stadium Classic in Las Vegas.
The Blue Demons will be shooting for their fourth win in a row at their 11 a.m. showdown Friday against New Mexico State (10-5).
Simplifying the game helped enable DePaul (8-7) to win four of five at last weekend's NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla.
"The difference from going 0-5 at the Hilton Houston Plaza Invite two weeks ago to 4-1 in Florida was that our players were more focused on what they had to do," said DePaul coach Eugene Lenti. "With their swings, we emphasized doing less rather than trying to do too much. The less that's in your swing, the more efficient you become.
"Less is more. You want to see the ball, square it up and drive the ball to all fields. We were seeing the ball better in Florida, making better contact and going the other way.
"We had more quality at-bats because our players weren't trying to do too much."
Those four wins last weekend included a 4-3 victory over No. 15/15 Michigan. Heading up the offense at the Leadoff Classic were Megan Coronado (.429), Allie Braden (.400, three RBIs, three runs), Paige Peterson (.389, four RBIs) and Samantha Dodd (.294, eight runs). For her efforts, Braden was named to the BIG EAST Conference Honor Roll.
"The offense scored four or more runs in every game, and that's giving us a good chance to win," Lenti said. "We finished with 24 runs in five games and outslugged our opponents with a home run and four doubles to three doubles against us."
The most critical correction DePaul had to make after the Houston weekend was to its pitching staff.
"With our pitchers, we emphasized getting ahead and staying ahead in the count," Lenti said. "I'd say we were wildly effective at the Leadoff Classic, and we didn't get hit that hard.
"We had one bad inning against James Madison, and that's the only game we lost. You can't give up six runs in an inning and expect to win. You have to keep it to one or two runs.
"The pitching still has to get sharper as we're still behind in the count too often. We need to cut down on the number of walks. The less time our defense is on the field, the more alert everyone is. If the pitchers are more efficient and the defense is tight, we'll find a way to score."
Only New Mexico State has a better record than the Blue Demons among teams in the Eller Media Stadium Classic field. Weber State comes in with a 0-8 mark, Cal State Northridge is 5-12 and host UNLV is 5-10.
"Looking at this tournament objectively, I believe we are one of the better teams there," Lenti said. "If we play to our capability, we should come out on top in most of our games.
"No matter what, you have to respect the other team. They will come out and try to take a game from us. We become a trophy game for them.
"They know we're one of the top programs in the country every year that's been to the Women's College World Series four times. Beating us can have a big impact on their season."