Softball: Huskies travel to No. 3 LSU for 2016 Tiger Classic

UConn sophomore infielder Ryne Nakama takes a swing during the Huskies' game against UMass in Storrs, Connecticut, on Thursday, April 30, 2015. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Although Storrs may still be covered in snow, the UConn softball team is ready and raring to get the season underway. The Huskieswill travel to Louisiana this weekend for the 2016 Tiger Classic, hosted by LSU.

UConn opens the weekend with a Friday doubleheader: a noon game against Pacific and a 2:30 p.m. contest against North Florida. The Huskies then take on Ohio State at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, followed by a clash with No. 3 LSU later in the day. UConn wraps up the Tiger Classic on Sunday with a second game against North Florida.

The Huskies are 1-1 against Pacific, most recently defeating the Tigers at the 2015 Louisville Slugger Invitational. The Huskies have faced both LSU and North Florida once, losing each one of those games, and are 1-3 in four meetings against Ohio State.

Second-year head coach Jen McIntyre leads the Huskies into Baton Rouge with only one thing on the agenda: improvement. UConn has put in a lot of work over the offseason, but there is no true substitute for an actual game.

“We are really worried about taking care of the ball, and making sure that we work on the things that we have focused on in practice,” McIntyre said. “On the offensive side of the ball, being aggressive, taking our cuts at the plate, moving runners, and on the defensive side, taking care of the ball, making routine plays — what we’ve been focused on in the offseason.”

McIntyre says she hasn’t decided on a starting pitcher for any of the games yet, but with plenty of pitchers on the roster, she’s likely to spread out the innings.

“I use the first weekend to really come out, play at game speed, and see the things that we need to work on,” McIntyre said. “We’re going to pitch by committee a lot, so we’ll see all of our pitchers this weekend.”

Going into the Tiger Classic, there is still a lot that McIntyre wants to learn about her team. However, she knows that the team she has right now is excited to get out on the field.

“They’re a hard working bunch, they are aggressive. When they play into our plan of attack, I think that’s when we’re at our best,” McIntyre said. “It’s going to be a great test. We’re pretty fired up. We’re anxious to see what we’ve got.”


Pete Harasyko is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at peter.harasyko@uconn.edu.