Following a postponed Tuesday matchup with Bryant (rescheduled for April 24), UConn welcomes conference foe UCF to Storrs for a three-game weekend series. With the threat of inclement weather on Saturday, the two teams will start the series with a doubleheader Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. The series finale remains unchanged with a 12 p.m. first pitch on Sunday afternoon.
The Huskies (13-23, 0-6 the American) are 2-14 all-time against the Knights (25-13, 5-1 the American) and most recently dropped two of three games to UCF in a trip to Orlando last season. In the past three seasons, UConn is just 1-7 against UCF with their lone win coming last year by a score of 8-3.
UConn has not had the year they envisioned as they sit dead last in the American meanwhile, UCF is just barely behind in-state rival USF for first place. The Huskies’ last series and last time on the diamond did not help their cause, as they dropped three straight games to Wichita State, the newest addition to the conference.
Although the team struggled, sophomore Kiwi McDaniels shined in last week’s series after she was named to the AAC Honor Roll this past Monday. McDaniels most notably hit a three-run pinch-hit home run in a late inning rally attempt against the Shockers. In the same game, pitcher Jill Stockley eclipsed the 100 innings mark for the third consecutive season, needing just 36 games to do so. The junior is one of seven pitchers in the conference to reach the mark this season.
The Knights are coming into Storrs full of confidence after taking down No. 4 Florida Wednesday night. This was UCF’s seventh win in their last eight games played, which includes taking two of three from Houston last weekend.
Alea White will look to keep McDaniels and Co. quiet this weekend after her dominant performance against the Gators. The sophomore tossed a one-hit complete game gem. White has proven to be one of the best in the conference, leading the conference in innings pitched (175.2) and wins (19). As an entire staff, the Knights sit third in the conference in ERA with a 2.09 mark on the year.
Sophomores seem to be the story for this UCF team as sophomore Aubrey Johnson leads the way offensively for the Knights. Johnson carries a team best .333 batting average and has knocked 19 RBIs, also the best on the team. She is one of four Knights to hit for over .300 this season. Kaitlyn Jensen provides the power in the lineup, as she’s hit a team-best six home runs in her first collegiate season.
All fans who plan on attending any of the three games this weekend are encouraged to participate in the canned food drive to benefit the My Brother’s Keeper Food Pantry at Hope Lutheran Church in Mansfield. The drive is being held by both the UConn baseball and softball teams during their weekend series with UCF.
Kevin Arnold is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.