While coaches Jen McIntyre and Renee Luers-Gillespie’s thoughts on the Civil ConFLiCT are unknown, this weekend’s series against the UCF Knights (23-13) hosted by the Huskies (13-20) will be big for both teams.
It will be the conference home opener for the Huskies, who arecoming off a midweek sweep of Bryant, could use some bounce back wins to improve in the standings. This will be the conference opener for the Knights who are looking to get off to a good start after being the class of the league in recent years.
It will be a daunting task for the Huskies, as UCF comes in being a periphery Top 25 team who has seen time in the rankings this season. The Knights carry the second lowest team ERA in the conference at 2.19 and are led by Jamie Ujvari, who is 7-2 with a 1.29 ERA.
UCF comes in near the bottom of the conference in team batting average at .259, but have three hitters hitting above a .300 clip. Willow Lainen leads the way hitting .329 and Linnea Goodman and Ujvari are both at .327. They are also statistically the best fielding team in the conference with only 26 errors.
“We expect a tough battle… we battled them tough last year, I think there two 2-1 ballgames down there,” McIntyre said after a pair of non-conference wins against Bryant. “We’re looking forward to the challenge. We’re looking forward to getting after it.”
UConn and UCF share two common opponents, North Florida and Florida Atlantic, on the season. The Huskies took on the Ospreys twice in their opening tournament of the year, beating them 3-0 and then later 4-0. The Knights went to Jacksonville for a non-conference game on March 2nd and dismantled UNF 7-2. The Huskies faced Florida Atlantic in a tournament hosted by the Owls and lost 3-1 in in eight innings. The Knights also lost an eight inning game to FAU, 2-0 at home on March 15th.
The Huskies will be coming off a dominant sweep of Bryant on Wednesday. Junior Kayla Doty and sophomore Chelsea Eckert each threw excellent games against the Bulldogs. Doty has been lights out recently and was throwing a no-hitter through five in the first game. Both will likely see action this weekend as will freshman Jill Stockley who did not pitch Wednesday.
“I’ve said the beginning of the year we’re going to pitch by committee and you know a lot of times we go by matchups…, we’re looking forward to seeing how it’s going to work and we’ll make our adjustments as the weekend goes on,” said McIntyre.
The first game of the series will be Friday at 4 p.m. followed by a 2 p.m. contest Saturday and 12 p.m. final on Sunday with all games taking place at Burrill Family Field.