The UConn softball team has perhaps one of its toughest tasks of the season ahead of it this weekend when the University of South Florida Bulls come to town.
The Huskies kick off the action with a doubleheader on Thursday before finishing the series with a noon game on Saturday. The doubleheader was not originally on the schedule; however, due to expected heavy rain, the game that was scheduled for Saturday was moved to Thursday.
When asked what she expects from USF this weekend, UConn softball coach Jen McIntyre did not sugar coat it.
“A very tough, tough, tough series,” McIntyre said. “We have our hands full.”
The Bulls are in first place in the American this season and have a 32-15 overall record this season and are 10-2 in conference, one game ahead of the second place team, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. They are also the No. 24-ranked team in the country in RPI, right behind none other than Tulsa.
USF has one of the deadliest pitchers in the country on its staff, Georgina Corrick. Corrick boasts an absurd 0.96 ERA this season through 146 innings pitched, which ranks No. 4 in the country and No. 1 in the conference. In her last two games, she gave up no runs in 19 innings of baseball. This includes a 13-inning marathon against UCF where she threw every single pitch for the Bulls until they ultimately won 2-0.
The rest of the staff is not too shabby either, with two of their other pitchers each having an ERA that is under 2.60.
If the Bulls do have an Achilles heel, it’s their abilities with the bat in their hands. Their combined team batting average of .248, on-base percentage of .316 and runs scored of 153 are all dead last in the conference.
They do have some sluggers though, as AnaMarie Bruni is No. 2 in the conference with a .391 batting average and Lindsey Devitt has hit five home runs while also hitting for a solid average of .281. However, once you get past their core, the Bulls struggle.
In order for the Huskies to win the weekend, they will need to find a way to scratch out a run or two against Corrick, who McIntyre expects to see more than once, and shut down the USF offense.
Marybeth Olson, UConn’s star pitcher, said the Huskies are heading into the series with a little bit of extra motivation.
“We didn’t play them too well last year, so we are coming in with a chip on our shoulder, trying to prove that we can play with anyone in the conference,” Olson said.
Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.