After being outscored 21-2 in a three game sweep at home against DePaul, USF softball coach Ken Eriksen wondered if some of his players really wanted to be part of the team.

The Blue Demons (29-14, 13-3) completed the sweep with a resounding 8-0 mercy rule victory in six innings on Sunday at the USF Softball Stadium.

“We have been practicing since last August 25, and for whatever reason we didn’t do the right things defensively this weekend that we have done all season,” Eriksen said.  “We just don’t seem to have the right combination of players on the field.  I have been coaching in this game for 25 years and it worries me that I haven’t been able to figure it out this season.”

The Bulls (21-24, 6-8) committed six errors in the three game series compared to zero from DePaul.  USF is now 0-6 against the top two teams in the Big East Conference – Notre Dame and DePaul.

“I tell my players all the time that they need to play flawless defense to beat teams in the Big East because we aren’t as talented as teams like Notre Dame and DePaul” Eriksen said.  “(DePaul) is a fundamentally sound defensive team and they made every play against us this weekend.”

Despite the setback against the second place team in the conference, there were a couple bright spots for the Bulls over the weekend.

With a solo home run in the fourth inning of game two on Saturday, senior JoJo Medina tied current USF assistant coach Monica Triner for fourth on the all time Bulls home run list with 23.

Also, sophomore Janine Richardson hit safely in all three games of the series, pushing her hit streak to eight.

“It feels nice to be hitting consistently,” Richardson said.  “But (the streak) doesn’t mean much because we aren’t playing well as a ball club.  I have been trying to help our other players hit more consistently.  It’s unfortunate that we were not as ready to play this weekend as DePaul was.”

The Bulls were dealt a big blow to their line up in the bottom of the first inning when starting catcher and cleanup hitter Cat Olnick fouled a pitch off her mouth and had to leave the game.

“Olnick got knocked in the mouth pretty hard,” Eriksen said.  “We don’t know when she will be back but we need her.  You need to have strong defense up the middle to be successful and Cat is part of that strength.”

USF travels to Daytona today to face Bethune Cookman (23-21) in a double header beginning at 2 p.m.  The Bulls will then fly to Philadelphia tomorrow to play another double header against Villanova (18-27, 4-10) on Wednesday.

“My coaching staff and I will use this week to take an introspective look at who we have on the roster and who really wants to be here,” Eriksen said.  “What better way to have a tryout then to play two midweek double headers?”

-Joel Leventhal

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