Last season sophomore shortstop Briana Marcelino hit three home runs, Saturday she hit two. She blasted a solo shot in game one of the day and added a grand slam in the night game win.
“Well we had a really tough preseason and it’s a long season and it is about building as you go,” head coach Jen McIntyre said. “We were looking for some people to step up and we were able to get it done this weekend.”
This weekend the UConn softball team took on the Mercer Bears Classic in Macon, Georgia. For the first time since the first series of the season, the Huskies won more games than they lost in a weekend.
“Offensively, we were aggressive at the plate and were able to string together some timely hits,” McIntyre commented on the offensive outburst.
UConn (8-13) started the weekend off strong with a 5-inning win over South Dakota 8-0. A five-run fourth inning gave UConn the cushion necessary to put the game away comfortably. Junior Carli Cutler hit a three-run bomb in the fourth off of South Dakota’s Sarah Lisko.
Before Friday’s game, it had been nearly a month since UConn’s last game in which they scored more than three runs. During that run, the offense was producing just 1.56 runs per game.
UConn then took on Fordham Saturday morning and rode an early 2-0 lead to a win by the score of 3-1. Junior LHP Katie Koshes earned the win after 5 innings of one-run ball in relief of senior Jill Stockley.
The Huskies grabbed another win against South Dakota (17-15) Saturday night as the second inning grand slam from Marcelino was all they would need in the 7-0 victory. Sophomore RHP Marybeth Olson threw a complete-game shutout against the Coyote’s offense, allowing just four hits.
Despite a combined one-hit effort from Koshes and Olson, UConn dropped the fourth game of the weekend to Cleveland State 1-0 in extra innings. The offense was unable to capitalize on its eight hits and took their lone loss of the tournament.
In their final game down in Georgia, UConn took another win 6-1 against the host, Mercer. Outfielder Reese Guevarra punctuated a strong weekend with a three-hit, three RBI performance as she drove in the first and last runs of the game.
This weekend was also marked by lights out performances from the pitching staff as well.
“Our pitching was phenomenal. I think that Olson had a 0.00 ERA and Katie [Koshes] had a 0.60 ERA, which is unreal,” McIntyre said post-game Sunday. “I just looked at our stat lines and we scored 24 runs this weekend and only gave up three, and only one of those was earned.”
Olson pitched in four-out-of-five games this weekend and gave up just two unearned runs. She also struck out 21 batters to just three walks across 20 innings of work.
Koshes added 11.2 strong innings, surrendering just one run and a combined six hits across three appearances. She also struck out 19 batters while walking just six. The Orange, Connecticut native lowered her ERA from 4.88 to 4.03, a 0.85 drop, as she continues to climb back from a rocky first few appearances this season.
UConn has leaned on Olson and Koshes all year long while has Jill Stockley struggled so far. In 40.0 innings thus far, Stocklet has pitched to a 7.65 ERA, while Olson has posted a 1.79 ERA and Koshes is sitting at a 4.03 ERA.
This week UConn will travel down to Florida to take on Bethune-Cookman University before jumping into conference play with a three-game set next weekend away at UCF.
Mike Mavredakis is a campus correspondent for the Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.