Softball heads to FGCU Invitational for 5-game swing

UConn will likely continue to rely on their top-notch pitching staff, which currently holds a 1.71 ERA along with a 65-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio and is holding opposing hitters to just a .192 batting average. (File/The Daily Campus)

UConn softball continues its early travels as they head down to Florida for the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational where they’ll play five games over the course of three days. They start the weekend with a double header against Southern Illinois at 12:15 p.m and FGCU at 4:45 p.m on Friday. The Huskies start Saturday nice and early with a 10 a.m first pitch against Wright State and a 12:15 p.m start against Stony Brook. UConn finishes the weekend off with a 12:00 p.m game against FGCU on Sunday.

The Huskies (5-4) are coming off the Battle of the Beach Tournament where they finished the weekend 2-2, ending with a doubleheader sweep of Robert Morris and Rider universities.

UConn will likely continue to rely on their top-notch pitching staff, which currently holds a 1.71 ERA along with a 65-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio and is holding opposing hitters to just a .192 batting average.

Freshman Marybeth Olson has been a key contributor on the mound for the Huskies. Olson thus far is 2-1 in six appearances with a very impressive 0.40 ERA. Olson is responsible for one of the team’s three shutouts this season. Sophomore catcher Devon Casazza looks to keep her bat hot after hitting her first homerun of the season last weekend in a 1-0 win over Robert Morris.

Southern Illinois (4-4) is looking to end a two game skid early when they face the Huskies on Friday with the help of sophomore infielder Maddy Vermejan. Vermejan will lead the Salukis into the weekend with her .450 batting average in 20 plate appearances with a home run and a .621 on-base percentage.

The Salukis are coming off a solid season as they finished third in the Missouri Valley Conference with a record of 33-24 overall and 17-8 in conference. Lead by their coach of 18 years, Kerri Blaylock, and her 628 wins at the helm, the Salukis are not to be taken lightly.

FGCU will be a challenge for the Huskies as they are already 8-0 and are just a year removed from a conference title. The Eagles will turn to senior outfielder Natalie Lopez, who’s off to a hot start, batting .769 with 10 hits and five stolen bases. Junior pitcher Riley Randolph will also look to cause trouble for the Huskies as she boasts a 3-0 record with a complete game, an ERA of 0.37 and is holding opposing batters to just a .109 average.

Stony Brook is coming into this tournament untested thus far as they look to start their season strong. The Seawolves will look to sophomore Melissa Rahrich as she led the team a year ago with a .363 batting average and was named to the conference’s All-Rookie team. Rahrich, along with fellow sophomore Jourdin Hering, will look to test the potent Huskies’ pitching staff. Hering, who was also named to the conference’s All-Rookie team, lead the team in hits a year ago while posting a .335 average.

Wright State (0-5) is looking to bounce back in Florida after a tough start to the season. Veteran leadership will prove to be crucial as outfielder Honnah Susor looks to improve from her impressive 2017 campaign. Last year’s MVP, senior Susor led the Raiders with a .377 batting average in 162 at-bats. The All-Horizon League first teamer was also a menace on the base paths, with 22 stolen bases in 24 attempts.


Kevin Arnold is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kevin.arnold@uconn.edu.