The UConn Huskies softball team started off spring break in California, playing in the Stanford invitational. They went 1-3 overall and came up with their only win in impressive fashion against a 23-4 Grand Canyon team.
Freshman phenom Katie Koshes silenced GCU, a team that has a .322 batting average. She pitched a complete game, surrendering only one run and striking out five.
Coach Jen McIntyre said that she has been pleased with Koshes’ production.
“I know she is talented. I know she can spin the ball,” McIntyre said. “She has such incredible movement on her pitches and that is what makes her so deceptive. I think she is just finally starting to see the benefits of that at this level.”
Offensively, Kelli Bates had two hits, including an RBI, which gave the Huskies the lead. Ally Hernandez and Ashlee Dahman scored each run for UConn. The team came away with the win, 2-1.
McIntyre said that she has been very happy with the way that they defeated GCU.
“I think it was huge for the team,” McIntyre said. “We have been battling in absolutely every game that we have played so far this year.”
UConn only scored six runs during the Stanford Invitational, while leaving a total of 29 runners on base. The Huskies lost two games by only one run. Against Stanford they lost 4-3, leaving nine runners on base and against Lehigh they fell by a score of 2-1 in extras, while similarly stranding nine runners on base.
McIntyre said that leaving runners on base is something they have to work on.
“It’s absolutely something that we’ve identified,” McIntyre said. “We are really battling and I am really proud of the fight that is in this group … we just need someone to step up and come through with that big hit.”
The Huskies lost to Cal Poly as well, by a score of 3-0. Freshman Carli Cutler had the start and pitched phenomenally. Cutler tossed six innings, letting up 2 earned runs, while striking out four. Offensively the Huskies only mustered two hits, one from Taylor Townsend and the other from Ashlee Dahman.
UConn also traveled to Hawaii to kick off the Rainbow Wahine Classic, which they began on Tuesday against Harvard and Hawaii. The Huskies won each game of the opening double header. Overall, they went 3-4 in Hawaii.
During the 4-3 win against Harvard, Jill Stockley, Chelsea Eckert and Katie Koshes all pitched for UConn. Stockley started and threw 1.1 innings, while giving up two runs. Eckert came in for relief, tossing three innings, giving up one run. Katie Koshes finished, throwing 2.2 scoreless innings.
Valerie Sadowl got the offense going early when she blasted a two-run home run. Townsend knocked in the game-tying RBI in the fifth-inning when she bunted down the third base line. Taylor Smith was the hero for the Huskies, knocking in the go-ahead run.
Koshes silenced Hawaii during the 2-0 victory. She racked up a season-high 11 strikeouts and completed the game. Kiwi McDaniel had an RBI single and Cutler smashed a double, leading the Huskies offense.
UConn then went on to lose the next four games. Against Purdue, they lost 6-1, they lost both games to Marist by scores of 2-1 and 5-0 and they also fell to Hawaii 4-1.
McIntyre said that the offense hit a snag at one point in Hawaii.
“Our offense just slumped a little bit this past week,” McIntyre said. “And when you are relying on that wheel of failure in the offense, everyone begins to slump. For them to just keep after it is a huge credit to where this group can go.”
In the final game at Hawaii, UConn defeated Harvard in extra innings 5-4. Freshman Carissa Brizzi had her best game as a Husky in which she collected three hits, including a two-out RBI single in the seventh inning to tie the game. Ryne Nakama then hit the go-ahead RBI sacrifice fly.
McIntyre said that Brizzi took advantage of the opportunity.
“When opportunities presented themselves,” McIntyre said. “She really just busted through the door and that is what we are looking for.”
McIntyre said that this team has shown her and other teams that they are fighters.
“We’ve had a lot of opposing coaches say just how scrappy we are,” McIntyre said. “That is something that has defined this group. It’s just a matter of us gaining confidence and trusting that if one person doesn’t get it done, the person behind them will.”
Michael Logan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.