After a heartbreaking Sunday walk-off loss to close out a hard-fought series in Texas, the Huskies welcome in-state rival CCSU to Storrs as UConn kicks off a crucial seven-game homestand. The two teams were initially scheduled to play last Monday, but the weather forced the game back a week.
Currently hovering at the .500 mark for the month of April, UConn will look to end the month on a high note against a team they have had quite a bit of success against in the past (32-9 all-time against CCSU). Last season, the Huskies took both games against the Blue Devils. After securing a 2-0 win at home, Thad Phillips played the hero in their second matchup with a three-run home run in extra innings on the road.
The Huskies (26-18, 7-8 The American) have struggled of late with leaving runners in scoring position. That fault carried over into the weekend series against Sam Houston State for the team that now sits fifth in the conference.
“We gotta play cleaner baseball. We gotta do better with runners in scoring position. That’s a sin that gets lost: I know what it was, and it wasn’t good again,” head coach Jim Penders said following Saturday’s win. “We can’t have check swings with runners in scoring position and less than two strikes. It just can’t happen.”
Although UConn put up 19 runs over the weekend, compared to the 12 in their previous four games combined, 24 runners were left on base in the three-game series. In Saturday’s 9-4 victory, 14 runners were left stranded on the base paths.
The Blue Devils are coming off a much different type of weekend heading into Tuesday’s game. CCSU (18-16, 8-7 Northeast) swept its weekend series against Mount Saint Mary’s, outscoring the Mountaineers by 11 runs in the process.
Previously, CCSU hit a rough four-game losing skid before last weekend’s turnaround. Bryant walked out of New Britain with a three-game sweep after scoring more than 10 runs in each of the first two games before a trip to Albany resulted in a 7-4 loss.
Not one player with more than 50 at-bats is hitting above .300 for CCSU, with junior infielder Chandler Debrosse leading the way with a .292 mark. Although he leads the team in strikeouts (39), Jake Siracuse may be the most complete bat in the lineup with a .269 average, 16 RBIs, and a team-best three triples. Dave Matthews (no relation to the band) provides the power to the lineup, as the junior is responsible for a quarter of the team’s home runs (3) with team highs in OPS (.826) and RBIs (22).
Though the Huskies will likely not face him, Brandon Fox has been at the top of the Blue Devils’ rotation this year. The junior carries a 4.58 ERA over a team-high 57 innings while striking out 4.89 batters per nine innings pitched. Senior Tom Curtin has been the second option to Fox, with the two combining for 19 starts this year. Curtain boasts an ERA over five with 33 strikeouts to 16 walks. The pair has a combined record of 3-7.
The 42nd matchup between the teams is slated for 3 p.m. on Tuesday at J.O. Christian Field. WUCS 97.9 FM ESPN Hartford will have the call alongside WAVZ 1300 AM.
Kevin Arnold is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.