After several cancellations and location changes, the UConn baseball team was finally able to host a game at J.O. Christian Field the 2017 season. April 5 is tied for the Huskies’ latest home-opener since 1994.
Heading into the game, UConn had to be feeling good about their season so far. The Huskies had went 16-9, the most wins away from home in the country. Pair the early success on the road with last year’s 14-5 record at J.O. Christian Field, and there was a lot to be excited about for UConn’s season.
However, the team took a slight step back with the Huskies’ 6-4 home-opening loss to Hartford (7-14) on Wednesday afternoon.
“I was concerned about all the wrong things before the game instead of getting these guys ready to go,” UConn head coach Jim Penders said after the game. “We weren’t as focused as we should have been and didn’t make enough baseball plays.”
Penders spent much of the afternoon getting the field ready to play. While many teams in the Northeast have turf that is more playable in the early spring weather, UConn has to tend to their grass field.
“I wasn’t focused on my team, I was trying to get the field ready,” Penders said. “Trying to get it a semblance of playable and presentable, and I can’t be doing that. I have to be focused on my guys and that’s my fault, I should know better than that.”
The game as a whole was relatively clean. There were just three errors on the afternoon and the 10 combined runs were right on par with the Huskies’ season average. Despite the difficulties of trying to get the field ready for the first game of the season, Penders did not think the field conditions affected the outcome of the game.
“We’ve played on worse,” Penders said. “That had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. Would we have liked to play on a better surface? Yeah, but that’s coming soon hopefully,” Penders said. He would go on to give credit to Hartford for coming ready to play.
For UConn, the next chance at their first home win comes this weekend with a series against American Athletic Conference foe Memphis. With the weather looking better as the weekend goes on, the Huskies will seek to put this setback behind them.
Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.