In a weekend where they nearly could have gone 4-0, the UConn softball team left the “Strike Out Cancer” tournament hosted by Florida Atlantic with only one victory to go along with three excruciatingly close losses.
The Huskies kicked off the tournament with a low scoring game against Florida A&M. The game went scoreless for four innings before UConn got things going in the fifth. Junior Taylor Townsend broke things open with a double and was advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt of the bat of senior Lexi Gifford. Senior Jacklyn Dubois dropped her own bunt off for a single that allowed Townsend to score the go-ahead run. Freshman Jill Stockley went six strong innings allowing six hits. But in the bottom of the sixth inning with Florida A&M threatening, a throwing error to third base would allow two runs to score sticking Stockley with the 2-1 defeat. Sophomore Chelsea Eckert got the start in the second game of the day against the host Florida Atlantic. The Owls’ Carnesha Thompson would hit a solo home run in the fourth to give the FAU the initial lead. UConn struck back in the sixth when Gifford ripped a double and was advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Dubois. Senior Alyssa Gardea would hit a sacrifice fly out to center field scoring Gifford and knotting the game at one. After a scoreless seventh, the game went to extra-innings. With two outs and two on, the Owls’ Emily Lochten hit a bases clearing single to give FAU a two-run lead, as they would go on to win, 3-1.
Day two found the Huskies with a split in another set of close games. The first game of the day was against the Huskies of Northern Illinois. Stockley returned to pitch and shutout Northern Illinois allowing only three hits as well as five strikeouts in seven innings of work. UConn kicked things off in the third, senior Valerie Sadowl hit a double and was replaced by freshman Ally Hernandez as a pinch runner on the bases. Townsend would advance her with a sacrifice bunt which was followed up by a sacrifice fly from Gifford scoring Hernandez.
The Huskies put two on in the sixth as Gifford walked and Gardea was hit by a pitch. Dubois singled, scoring Gifford. Junior Dominique Pinto would then single to load the bases. Senior Alyson Ambler would hit a sacrifice fly of her own, scoring Gardea giving the Huskies a three-run lead and Stockley held on from there for their first win of the tournament. Game two was a rematch with Florida A&M. Eckert made her second start of the tournament and allowed two runs in six innings of work. The Rattlers put both their runs on the board in the fifth. UConn tried to come back in the seventh, as Sadowl would score on a Townsend double but it was too little too late for the Huskies.
A tough weekend still saw Stockley earn her third win of the season as well as Gardea keep things going strong at the plate along with Dubois and Townsend. The Huskies head out West next weekend to play in another tournament hosted by Santa Clara, featuring Illinois-Chicago and Nevada-Reno.
Matt Barresi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.