UConn will look to get back on track after a tough loss at home with a three-game series against the University of Memphis this weekend.
The Huskies (13-19) were on fire up until Wednesday, winning four of their previous five games and outscoring opponents 42-11 over that span. Then, in their most recent game, which was Wednesday afternoon against UMass, they lost 13-3.
UConn will have all of Thursday to prepare for the Tigers (20-17), who are coming off of a Tuesday doubleheader against Alcorn State, in which they won both games.
Memphis has been very streaky this season, and much of that can be attributed to the “Jekyll and Hyde” phenomenon that we are seeing with the team when they play on the road as opposed to at home. They are 14-5 at home and just 1-8 on the road, while being 5-4 on neutral ground.
This could play well in UConn’s hands, as Memphis hasn’t played anywhere near this far north yet this season. Their lack of quality play on the road combined with unfamiliarity to cold Connecticut Aprils could give the Huskies an advantage.
Memphis has a few big bats in the lineup that could give UConn’s pitchers a handful. Leftfielder Baylee Smith typically hits second or third for the Tigers and her combination of power and speed makes it so she can hurt you in more ways than one. She is currently leading the team in batting average at over .400, is slugging .657 and has stolen 12 bases on just as many attempts.
After Smith is a brigade of power-hitting threats. Ashley Threatt, Ryleigh Aungst and Regan Hadley bring the boom to the Tigers offense, with the former two hitting five and Hadley with six home runs on the season.
You literally can’t spell Threatt’s name without “threat,” and she lives up to her name. Along with her five home runs and .570 slugging percentage, she boasts a .355 batting average. Add her team-leading 19 walks, and the senior first baseman’s on base percentage comes out to just a shade under .500.
UConn’s offense has seen great contributions up and down the lineup over the past week, but none have been more impactful than Briana Marcelino. Over her last seven games, the shortstop is batting .591 with a whopping 20 RBI and five home runs.
As a result, Marcelino’s season averages are way up, and she finds herself in the top three in the conference in batting average, slugging percentage and RBI, while leading the conference in home runs and total bases. The sophomore’s success at the plate earned her some hardware as the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week.
Though UConn’s bats have come alive as of late, their pitching and steady defense is what this team hangs their hat on. This defense doesn’t force their pitchers to get extra outs, as they commit on average less-than-one error per game.
Marybeth Olson continues to have a dominant season, leading the team in wins (7), ERA (2.08), WHIP (1.10) and strikeouts (91). Her 91 strikeouts are also good for fourth in the AAC. After getting the day off Wednesday, expect to see Olson take the rubber multiple times this weekend.
Friday and Saturday’s games will start at 1 p.m. at Burrill Family Field. Sunday’s game will begin at noon at the same location.
Sean Janos is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.