- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- DePaul coach Eugene Lenti cringed throughout his team’s 9-1 victory over visiting Northern Illinois on Wednesday.
With his team scoring on errors, walking batters and barely escaping innings without giving up runs, Lenti has seen the Blue Demons play prettier softball than they did against Huskies. But as Lenti knows when you’re riding a 15-game winning streak like DePaul is, it’s best not to complain.
DePaul’s 15-game winning streak is its long since 2007 when the Blue Demons won 20 in a row.
“We’re the antithesis of the White Sox,” Lenti said. “For them, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. For us, what can go right is going right even though it’s not pretty.
“[Northern Illinois’] bunching hits together and getting a walk, and they’re not scoring a run. We’re getting four runs on one hit in the first inning. You’re going to find that in a winning streak. That happens.”
DePaul’s first inning did foreshadow its day. The Blue Demons sent eight players to the plate and scored four runs, but No. 6 hitter Lynsey Ciezki was the lone player to reach base on a hit and drive in a run in the inning. Everyone else got on and scored on errors and walks.
Although DePaul starting pitcher Lindsey Dean wouldn’t make it look easy, the early four-run lead would be enough for her. Dean allowed eight hits and walked three in five innings. Each time she allowed runners on base, she found a way out. The Huskies left 10 stranded.
Dean also contributed to her own cause with a two-run triple in the fourth inning.
“My pitching wasn’t there 100 percent today,” said Dean, who improved to 8-4. “I was glad I was able to help my team out and hit the ball well.”
DePaul’s Megan Coronado went 2-for-2 with one RBI, and Allie Braden went for 2 for 3 with two runs.
Northern Illinois freshman Stephanie Tofft’s school-record 36-game hitting streak came to an end on Wednesday. Tofft went 0 for 3.
Zoe Sinner led the Huskies with two hits, one run and one RBI.
DePaul travels to Illinois on Thursday. The Illini knocked the Blue Demons out of the NCAA tournament last season.
DePaul then closes out the regular season with a three-game series with South Florida in Chicago. If the Blue Demons can win all three games, they’ll clinch at least a share of the Big East title. DePaul is currently 17-1 in conference, and Notre Dame is 14-1.
“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” Dean said. “Everything’s coming together really well.”