Coming off of a successful weekend in Wichita, the UConn softball team looks to take its momentum into the week against UHart and UMass.
UConn (11-18, 2-4 The American) shortstop Briana Marcelino is fresh off an American Player of the Week nod after hitting four bombs and driving in 12 runs last week. The Huskies will need her production against some solid pitching from UMass Wednesday. Other UConn bats came alive this past weekend, as Kiwi McDaniel homered, and Olivia Sappington went deep twice.
First UConn will face off against UHart (11-12, 1-2) in a double-header Tuesday. Back in March, the first game between the Huskies and the Hawks was postponed
UHart is coming off of back-to-back losses to Stony Brook, but prior to those games they were on a seven-game win streak. They sport a rough pitching staff who have a 5.73 team ERA and have struck out just 56 batters in 150.1 combined innings. As a team they have given up more extra base hits than batter struck out, as they have given up 74 combined.
Offensively this team poses a threat, albeit a controllable one, hitting .270/.333/.379 as a team. Despite the 4.39 runs per game they score, they only have three players with double-digit RBI counts. As a team they strike out 2.22 times per walk, so UConn will likely have to rely on the defense less.
UHart is led by catcher Danielle Rocheleau and outfielder Nicolette Barranger, who have both put up impressive numbers thus far.
Rocheleau is hitting .486/.542/.764 through 23 games, which is good for seventh in the nation in batting average. She is the second player who is top-10 in the nation in batting average that UConn has faced in the last week, as they took on Courtney Cashman of UMass Lowell last week. Rocheleau has also hit four home runs and driven in 22 runs thus far. She has struck out just two times through 72 at-bats, or in 2.78 percent of her overall at-bats.
Barranger’s statistics are less impressive but still quite solid to date. The sophomore is hitting .356/.397/.438 with 19 runs scored and five driven in. She has struck out 22 times, however, so she is a susceptible to whiffs.
As a team UHart is solid in the field, committing just one error per game. They sport a .966 fielding percentage through 23 games.
On Wednesday, UConn will take on UMass (14-14, 3-1 Atlantic 10) in their one and only matchup of the season.
Overall UMass is a much better team than UHart, even though they lost their best offensive weapon from last year, Jena Cozza. Their pitching is much better, with a 3.07 team ERA and 137 strikeouts to just 57 walks.
Senior Kaitlyn Stavinoha is leading the charge for the Minutemen with a .407/.461/.670 slash-line. She has just two home runs this season but has 10 doubles to make up for the smaller power numbers. The infielder has driven in 22 runs this season and scored 18 of her own.
Ace pitcher Kiara Oliver has thrown well through 105.2 inning so far, with a 2.52 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. She has also struck out 98 batters to just 31 walks this season. Oliver serves as a starter and the closer when they need, with nine complete games and four saves across 22 appearances.
Defensively they are solid as well, with a .969 fielding percentage through 28 games.
The action kicks off with a 1 p.m. game Tuesday followed by a 3 p.m. game later that day, both against UHart. The mid-week games will come to a close with a 3 p.m. game versus UMass at home. The UMass game will be available to stream online through the team website. (https://umassathletics.com/index.aspx?path=softball)
Mike Mavredakis is a campus correspondent for the Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.