The UConn men’s baseball team will look to continue their perfect start to American Athletic Conference play when they welcome Memphis to J.O. Christian Field this weekend.
This weekend’s series will be the team's first home series, after playing their home opener last Wednesday in 6-4 loss to Hartford. Due to weather conditions, the Huskies have had various home games canceled this season. Against Hartford, the field was not in ideal conditions, but head coach Jim Penders does not think that affected the outcome of the game.
“I don't think anything should change, but it did for me today. I was focused on all of the wrong things before the game and not focused on my team trying to get the field ready trying to get semblance of playable and presentable,” Penders said. “I can't be doing that I gotta focus on my guys and that's my fault I should know better. We've played on worse, that had nothing to do with the game. Would we have liked to play on a better surface yeah, but that’s coming soon hopefully.”
The surface will likely be in similar condition this weekend as rain has continued to plague Storrs.
Memphis (20-9, 2-1 American) are currently on a three-game winning streak that includes wins over Cincinnati, Belmont and Alcorn State. The Tigers scored a resounding 18 runs against Alcorn State.
Heading into UConn’s second conference series of the year, Penders knows where his team needs to improve and will use the loss to Hartford as a point of reference.
“We’ve got to focus on catching the baseball better and pitching it better first,” Penders said. We didn’t do enough of that. With runners in scoring we had a few opportunities with runners in scoring positions in the bottom of the fifth and didn't cash in.”
Tyler Webb and Chris Carrier are two of the more dangerous hitters for Memphis. Webb leads the team with a .333 batting average, good enough for 12th in The American.
Carrier is on fire right now. In the Tigers series win against Cincinnati, the outfielder hit .625 and batted .600 on the week. Carrier has had two doubles and three home runs while driving in eight runs in the last four games and has also scored five runs and drew six walks.
For the Huskies, the trio of Anthony Kay, Wills Montgomerie and Mason Feole will likely be on the mound this weekend. Combined, the three starters have a record of 10-2.
Next week, the Huskies will travel to Rhode Island to take on Bryant before a weekend series against Tulane.
Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.