UConn was originally slated to square off against Bryant Tuesday at home, but due to more snow, both teams agreed to move the game to Wednesday at 3 p.m.
The Huskies (17-10, 3-3 AAC) most recently closed a crucial series win against conference rival No. 22 UCF on Sunday, April 8. Having won six of their last seven games, the Huskies will look to continue to build on their momentum.
Sophomore shortstop Anthony Prato was named the American Conference Player of the Week for tormenting UCF pitching. He had a .538 batting average with four runs scored, three multi-hit games and a stolen base over the weekend. As his bat continues to heat up, so does the Huskies offense. The team racked up 21 runs over their last three games.
Bryant (14-14) is led by Ryan Ward who owns a slash line of .412/.455/.681 to go with four homeruns, four triples and 12 doubles. The redshirt freshman should give the Huskies pitching staff a challenge. Ward is not the only weapon for the Bulldogs; James Ciliento is hitting .377/.444/.500 with two homers and 18 RBI.
UConn head coach Jim Penders said he is looking forward to the matchup against Bryant.
“They are always an extremely well-coached team and they always play us really tough,” Penders said. “They have a real grit to their ball club too and they are always very offensive minded.”
As Penders alluded to, Bryant head coach Steve Owens has finished each of his seven seasons at Bryant with at least 29 wins. In 2017, Bryant won their sixth consecutive regular season title.
Pitching is definitely Bryant’s weakness; their team ERA is 4.93. Steve Theetge is their ace with a 4.93 ERA in eight starts over 42 innings pitched.
UConn’s offense is produced by a plethora of options. Thad Phillips leads the offense with a slash line of .333/.418/.464, a homer and 11 RBI. Junior catcher Zac Susi is not too far behind him with a slash line of .323/.402/.384. Senior Isaac Feldstein is the slugger for the Huskies; he leads the team in homeruns (8) and RBI (23).
The Huskies pitching staff has been a major bright spot, but skipped ace Tim Cate’s previous start due to tightness in his forearm. Penders said they skipped his start as a precaution and the team does not expect him to miss an extended period of time.
Left-handers Mason Feole and Chase Gardner have combined for a 7-0 record. Feole leads the starters in ERA (2.96), innings pitched (45.2), strikeouts (55) and wins (4). The team ERA is 3.84 for the season.
The Huskies are currently 19 in RPI for Division 1 baseball and will look to add to their impressive season Wednesday. The matchup against Bryant will close out their six game home stand before they head to Kansas for a series against Wichita State.
Michael Logan is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.