After a weekend off, the UConn softball team returns to action this Tuesday in their final non-conference game of the year. The Huskies welcome Providence to Storrs ahead of a weekend home series against Houston.
Providence (16-26, 2-12 Big East) has lost four straight games, including a three-game sweep at the hands of Seton Hall last weekend. UConn comes into Tuesday’s contest winning four of their last six games. The Huskies split last week’s non-conference slate, falling to UMass at home, but defeating Boston College on the road in extra innings.
The Friars are led by freshman Emma Lee, who is second in the Big East with a .413 batting average. Kiki Baldassari ranks second on the team with a .366 average, and leads Providence with 53 hits. Nicole Lundstrom has been the Friars’ leading run producer this season by a wide margin. Lundstrom has driven in 36 runs this year, 15 runs ahead of teammate Julianne Rurka.
However, the Friars’ pitching is not as strong. While they have a solid freshman in Megan McCune (4-3, 2.90 ERA), the majority of the innings have been handled by Christina Ramirez (7-8, 4.35 ERA) and Taylor Huntley (5-13, 4.67 ERA). McCune, who in 18 appearances has started just seven games, is holding opponents to just a .248 batting average. Ramirez and Huntley have been much easier to hit, allowing batting averages of .299 and .312, respectively.
UConn’s pitching has been very strong of late. In last week’s thrilling 7-4 victory over Boston College, freshman Jill Stockley (7-10, 2.51 ERA) pitched all 11 innings, allowing just four runs, two of them earned. In her last five games, Stockley is 3-0, striking out 13 hitters while walking just three.
Alyssa Gardea has been UConn’s offensive star during that stretch, hitting .375 (6-for-16) with one home run, five RBI and seven runs scored. Though Gardea is riding a hot streak, she still trails Lexi Gifford in terms of overall batting average. Gifford is hitting .297, while also leading the team with 22 RBI. Freshman Ally Hernandez is hitting .355 for the Huskies, but she has started just 15 of the team’s 43 games. She could be in line for a start on Tuesday in a midweek, non-conference game.
UConn leads the all-time series with Providence 61-22. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 at Burrill Family Field on Tuesday as they look to keep that impressive streak going.
Pete Harasyko is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.