UConn softball will travel down to Macon, Georgia to play the Mercer Bears Classic this weekend, where they will play five games over three days, starting with Friday matchups with Fordham and Ball State Universities.
Saturday, the Huskies will face Cleveland State and Mercer University, then on Sunday they will have a rematch with Mercer.
UConn (4-12) started the season on a three-game win streak, and since have dropped 12 of their last 11. That can be attributed to their struggling offense, which hasn’t put four or more runs on the scoreboard since their 11-run outburst in the first game of the season.
The Huskies’ first opponent, Fordham (6-12), is on a bit of a skit themselves, losing seven of their last eight games. They’ve also been playing close games, as their last five have all been decided by just one run. UConn’s last win was a one run victory over the University of New Mexico, so this could perhaps play into their hands.
Friday’s second game against Ball State (18-9) will be a tougher matchup for the Huskies. They are on a six-game winning streak and have shut out their last two opponents. This does not bode well for UConn’s offense that hasn’t been able to wake the bats up.
UConn’s biggest strength, which is their well-rounded pitching staff, will be crucial over this weekend. Sophomore Marybeth Olson leads the way with a 2.80 ERA and a 2-3 record in 10 appearances. She also boasts the highest strikeout and lowest walk totals on the team with 41 and seven, respectively. Olson will likely be available for relief in game one on Friday and start game two against Ball State.
Upperclassmen Jill Stockley and Katie Koshes have turned in great performances this year as well. Stockley leads the team in starts with eight and innings pitched with 38. She will likely start on the rubber for the first game of the weekend against Fordham.
Koshes has played the role of closer for the Huskies, recording two saves and striking out 29 batters through 26.1 innings pitched. She boasts the lowest batting average on the staff with 0.245.
Expect to see a creative combination of the three pitchers through the five-game weekend. Cleveland State (5-13) and Mercer (10-16) are beatable opponents for UConn, especially if their strong pitching staff can keep up the good work. Cleveland State has been streaky this season, following a five-game win streak with a five-game losing streak coming into the weekend.
Mercer, on the other hand, is the host of the tournament. They are 6-5 on their home field of Sikes Field this season. UConn will try to finish the weekend out strong by stealing their final two matchups against Mercer.
The Friday games will take place at 11:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. while the Saturday games will be at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The Sunday game against FIU will be at 12:30 p.m.
Sean Janos is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.