Last weekend the UConn Huskies softball team split their four-game series, defeating Northern Kentucky twice, while losing games to North Dakota and Coastal Carolina.
This weekend, the Huskies are headed across the country to Palo Alto, California, to take on Cal Poly (12-6) at 9:30 a.m. and Stanford (12-8) at 11:45 a.m., on Saturday. On Sunday they will play Grand Canyon University (20-2) at 3 p.m. and then Lehigh (4-6) at 7:15 pm. to round out the weekend.
Freshman Kiwi McDaniel had a phenomenal weekend for the Huskies, batting .400 and clubbing a pair of two-run homeruns. In return she was named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll. McDaniel did all this despite missing a few practices with pink eye.
McDaniel said that she wasn’t too sure of what the Honor Roll was but is happy that she helped the team this weekend.
“Actually, I had no idea what it was,” McDaniel said. “My team congratulated me and I said, ‘Whoa, what is that?’ and they told me and I said, ‘Oh, that’s awesome, I had no idea.’ I feel like that is a reflection on how I play… I’m not really looking at it individually. It’s more about helping my team.”
McDaniel said that she has always been a power hitter.
“I switched to the left side because of speed, but then I started focusing on power and that’s part of my game now,” McDaniel said. “I’m more of a gap hitter and then if something goes over the fence, ‘Yay.’”
McDaniel said that she doesn’t try to hit homeruns, they just come.
“I try not to (hit homeruns) because then I will just start popping out,” McDaniel said. “I am not the most powerful, but more of an extra-base hitter.”
McDaniel said that she is ready for this upcoming weekend against some tough competition. She said she feels that they have already played great against tough teams.
“I personally think that every team we played so far, was a great game,” McDaniel said. “Maybe the score didn’t reflect a lot of it, but we were really close. I actually think that we were the better team in a lot of them. We are really talented this year and we are playing some big name teams. I think that if we just go out there and do what we do, we are going to do well. I think we have a bright future. So, we just need to work hard and focus on the goal.”
The pitching coach for the Huskies, Adrienne Clark, said that she is happy with the production of the pitchers but does see an area where they have to improve for this weekend.
“For us as a staff, its consistency,” Clark said. “It’s one of those things that I think we can always improve on … we have to continue on fine-tuning what it means to be consistent and execute.”
Clark said freshman Katie Koshes has been phenomenal and expects her to continue to get better as this season goes on. Koshes is coming off a 10-strikeout outing, something that no Husky has done since Chelsea Eckert did it in 2015.
“She’s such a fun kid to watch,” Clark said. “She has shown a lot of fight and she has the freshman demeanor in that she doesn’t quite know to the extent of who she is facing out there … She is just in tune with what is going on and what makes her successful, which is her spin and her movement.”
The Huskies will count on Koshes and the rest of their effective pitching staff, to quiet the bats of Stanford, who have a .341 team batting average. Not to mention, a GCU team that possesses a team batting average of .337.
Against a 12-6 Cal Poly team, McDaniel and the offense will need to find a way to score against an elite pitching staff lead by Lindsay Chalmers, who has a .82 earned run average and four complete games.
Michael Logan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.