Softball: Huskies gear up for a doubleheader against Bryant as Conference play looms

The Huskies defeat CCSU 6-0 because of a run in the first inning and a grand slam by Ally Hernandez on April 13, 2016. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

The UConn softball team (9-14) will finally play against Bryant University in Rhode Island Wednesday after they had games postponed against UMass-Lowell and Providence. This will be their first game since March 18, when they defeated Harvard in Hawaii.

The double header was supposed to be played on Tuesday, but got pushed back due to the weather. Their first game is at 1 p.m. and the second is at 3:30 p.m.

Bryant has struggled so far this season, as they have a record of 5-20. They are batting .199 as a team. The pitching staff also possesses a 6.01 ERA.

UConn head coach Jen McIntyre said that she anticipates this to be a hard fought game.

“As soon as the first pitch is thrown, it’s a dogfight,” McIntyre said. “So, I think that (Bryant) does a lot of things well and we are going to hope for a really good matchup.”

Senior Haylee Haas leads Bryant in hitting with a .257 batting average to go along with six RBI’s, which is tied with two other players for the team lead.

Bryant has hit only three home runs, but sophomore Kaleigh Goulart has two of them. They are going to have to find a way to scratch out runs against a UConn pitching staff that boasts a team ERA of 2.54.

McIntyre said she is just focused on her team executing and is not concerned with Bryant’s record.

“I just think that right now, we just need to get live at-bats and our pitchers need to throw live,” McIntyre said. “We need to play a clean defense. A lot of the times we really focus on us and the things that we have to take care of.”

The Huskies have a team batting average of .246 and have been in the midst of a slump. During their seven games in Hawaii, they only scored 14 runs, and five of those runs came against Harvard in the final game.

As soon as the first pitch is thrown, it’s a dogfight.
— Jen McIntyre

McIntyre said that the offense is ready to get on the field and play.

“They are feeling really good about it,” McIntyre said of the offense’s matchup against Bryant. “We had a great film session last week. We really attacked a lot of their weaknesses and they have all been identified. They are ready to dig in and get some live at-bats.”

The pitching for UConn is what has kept them in most games. The staff is led by freshman Katie Koshes and sophomore Jill Stockley, who have each pitched 51 innings. The staff also boasts Chelsea Eckert, who has been effective in her seven appearances, as she currently has a 2.62 ERA.

UConn will count on Valerie Sadowl and Carli Cutler to provide the offense, who each have batting averages over .300. They will also look to freshman Carissa Brizzi, who has provided the team with a much-needed spark. She knocked in the game tying run with two outs in the seventh inning against Harvard.

Brizzi said that the moment was full of emotion.

“It was pretty exciting,” Brizzi said. “Going up, I was pretty nervous because it was my first time being in that position in a collegiate game. So, I really wanted to step up and do it for the team.”

In order to be successful against Bryant, Brizzi said that the team needs to get off to a quick start offensively.

“I think we just need to do what we have been doing in practice,” Brizzi said. “We have to stay strong offensively. We have to get ahead in the first couple of innings, rather than fighting back in the last couple of innings.”

Brizzi said that the team has to be loud in their double header against Bryant.

“I think we just need to be loud and have a lot of energy,” Brizzi said. “Especially since we haven’t played in over a week.”


Michael Logan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.logan@uconn.edu.