UConn baseball returns to Florida for Stetson Invitational

UConn baseball defeats Bryant University with a final score of 6-3. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

For the second time in three weeks, the UConn baseball team will be in Florida for a series of weekend games. The Huskies (4-3) will look to build on the success of their first trip to the Sunshine State, when they won three out of four games against UMass Lowell.

Last weekend, the Huskies took on a tougher challenge and lost two of three at Texas. The Longhorns came in at No. 21 in this week’s D1Baseball.com Top 25 Poll.

“I thought we competed well for the majority of the innings,” UConn head coach Jim Penders said, per UConn Athletics. “It’s been a challenge early on… To be a game over .500 without our best player in Willy Yahn, and having gone to Texas and gotten a win down there, we should be feeling pretty good about ourselves. But we’re never satisfied.”

This weekend, UConn will take part in the Westin Lake Mary Stetson Invitational, with games against Western Michigan, Stetson and Saint Joseph’s.

Western Michigan is 2-5 on the season, but the Broncos are coming off an impressive 11-1 victory in their most recent game. UConn is 1-2 all-time against Western Michigan, with Game No. 4 to be played at 1 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, the Huskies will play their first night game of the season, taking on the host of the tournament. Stetson (4-5) is 4-2 in their last six games, with the two losses coming in extra innings. UConn is 3-3 against Stetson all-time.

To close out the tournament, UConn will take on St. Joseph’s. The Hawks have struggled early on, getting out to a 0-6 start to the season and giving up at least seven runs in each of their games.

Probable starters for the Huskies will be Sam Nepiarsky, Wills Montgomerie and Mason Feole. Sophomore Tim Cate will take the weekend off after injuring his arm during his start against Texas last weekend, leaving room for Nepiarsky to take the ball for Friday’s game. Penders expects Cate to be resume throwing early next week.

“I’m anxious to see Sam (Nepiarsky) in that role on Friday,” Penders said. “I’m very confident that he’ll give us a good outing… I think he’s ready to give us a nice performance on Friday to get the weekend off right.”

After scoring 27 runs in the four games in Port St. Lucie against UMass Lowell, UConn only managed to score six runs during the three game series in Texas. The Huskies will hope to break out their Florida bats again this weekend.

“I need to see some more guys offensively assert themselves this week,” Penders said. “Show that Port St. Lucie wasn’t a fluke, that they can do that again. I hope to see some of those young guys reemerge this weekend with the bats.”


Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.