Baseball: Huskies embark on long California road trip

UConn baseball pitcher Devin Over delivers a pitch during the Huskies' game against Yale at J.O. Christian Field in Storrs, Connecticut on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

This weekend, the UConn baseball team will play the first four games of an eight game road trip in California. Four of the games will be played in Northridge, California before the team travels to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara for the remaining matchups on the trip.

It will be a very busy weekend for the team as their first four matchups include two games each against the William & Mary Tribe (6-6) and the Cal State-Northridge Matadors (10-3), respectively.

The Huskies will have a double header on Friday, facing the Tribe at noon, followed soon after by a game against the Matadors at 4 p.m. Then, UConn will take on William & Mary again at 1 p.m. on Saturday before playing Northridge again at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

"It's hard because we’re playing two games on Friday,” said Coach Jim Penders. “I don’t like for the team to miss that much class, but they will take care of their obligations before we leave. Our preparation really begins now, and we’ll go back to the office to take a hard look at William & Mary, as well as Northridge, with a special focus on William & Mary because that’s the next game that we play. We’ll practice somewhere in southern California on Thursday before the game on Friday morning their time, and be ready to fight for wins.”

Scheduling issues aside, the pitching matchup looks fairly solid for the Huskies as Penders will have his best three pitchers in line for a majority of the weekend, before a potentially tough decision on Sunday for the last game.

“We’re probably going to run the guys out the same way we did this past weekend,” said Penders. “[Anthony] Kay, [William] Montgomerie, and then [Ronnie] Rossomando for the first three games. Then we have the fourth game to play, and Andrew [Zapata] made a good bid for that game [after his start Tuesday], it wasn’t like his pitch count was super high, so we could get away with that, or we may mix and match and staff it on Sunday, before maybe starting Andrew against USC.”

Cal State-Northridge, in particular, could prove to be a tough matchup, as they have looked dominant early, even beating No. 19 UCLA in a shootout 20-12 earlier this week. Nevertheless, Coach Penders is very optimistic about the Huskies’ chances of success this weekend.

“I always have high expectations for the team, I never want to have them low,” said Penders. “It’s a long way to go to play baseball [this season] and I hope and trust the guys are focused on the business trip mentality and not looking at when they’re going to dip their toes in the Pacific. Right now, the focus has to be on Cal State-Northridge. They are a very good team who just came to the East Coast and cleaned up here, so hopefully we can do the same with William & Mary and then Northridge on their turf.”


Chris Hanna is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu.