Softball: Struggling Huskies head to New York for Hofstra Invitational

UConn softball infielder Lexi Gifford prepares to take a swing during the Huskies' game against USF in April 2015. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

The UConn softball team travels to Long Island this weekend to participate in the Hofstra Invitational, hosted by Hofstra University.

The Huskies are slated to take on St. John’s and Hofstra twice each during the tournament, as they look to improve upon their 4-14 record.

The Huskies begin play this weekend at 11 a.m. on Saturday, facing off against St. John’s in the tournament opener. The Red Storm are an even 8-8 this year, but have been very good in neutral-site games. St. John’s is 7-3 on neutral turf this year, while UConn sits at 4-10.

UConn then takes on Hofstra at 4 p.m. The Pride sit at 8-7 on the season, including a split in two games against UConn’s American Athletic Conference foe Tulsa. The Huskies went winless against Tulsa last year, so this weekend’s games against Hofstra should be a good benchmark for the Huskies when the face Tulsa later this season. The Huskies take on the same teams on Sunday, but in reverse order.

Despite winning just one of a possible four games last weekend, UConn coach Jen McIntyre thought the team played well, especially in the Huskies’ 5-4 loss in 10 innings against South Carolina.

“We had solid pitching, we had good defense, we had enough hitting, we just came up a little bit short,” McIntyre said. “We had a couple breaks not go our way, but that’s part of the game.”

The Huskies were able to rebound on Sunday and take down Michigan State, who they had lost to by a score of 9-0 earlier in the tournament. McIntyre was pleased by the team’s resiliency and hopes they can ride their last game into this weekend.

“For us to come out and get the win in the last game of the weekend was huge,” McIntyre said. “We had a tough, tough game against South Carolina in extra innings the night before, and the kids battled tough and just kept fighting. Those are the things we’ve been looking to see early on in our preseason.”

McIntyre said she wants her team to focus on one key part of the game this weekend – defensive consistency. The Huskies have lost six games this year by just one run, something that McIntyre thinks can be fixed by cutting out unnecessary mistakes.

“We talk about minimizing and eliminating what we call ‘back-to-backs’. If we give up a hit, we go get the next batter,” McIntyre said. “If we can minimize those things and continue to keep working offensively, I think we can be in a position to really take off in the back half of our season.”


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