The UConn softball team was in California this weekend to compete in the Capital Classic. The Huskies competed against Santa Clara, UC Davis, St. Mary’s College of California and Sacramento State during the three-day series, splitting games Friday and Saturday before closing the weekend with a win against the host Sunday.
UConn (11-4) started off the weekend strong with a convincing 10-1 win against Santa Clara Friday. The team was once again led by the likes of Aziah James, Reese Guevarra, Briana Marcelino and Olivia Sappington who were responsible for seven of the Huskies’ 10 runs.
The offense got going right from the first pitch for UConn, as they were able to tack on four runs in the first inning. After James got on base with a single up the middle, Guevarra hit her second home run of the season to put the Huskies on the board early. After being walked in consecutive at-bats, Marybeth Olson and Kiwi McDaniel each scored off an errant throw from left field to double UConn’s lead. The teams would each score once over the next two innings to keep the Huskies’ lead at four, but UConn took over from there.
Singles from Devon Casazza, James and Marcelino would set up Sappington in prime position that she did not waste, hitting a single to score Casazza and James, while Marcelino would eventually score on a wild throw from Santa Clara’s catcher to make the score 8-1. Two more runs in the sixth inning off a Marcelino homer would seal the deal for UConn, and they walked away from their first game with a resounding win. Olson earned her fifth win on the year to remain undefeated, allowing just one run on three hits over her four innings.
Friday afternoon’s game against UC Davis didn’t bring the same result for the Huskies, as they fell 3-2 to the Mustangs in a final-frame heartbreaker. After a hitless first three innings for either side, it was UConn who finally broke the plane with a two-RBI single from McDaniel to score Guevarra and Marcelino and give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
UC Davis (11-9) was kept scoreless until the final half-inning, where a couple big hits and a walk set up senior Isabelle Leon with a chance to knock in a couple, but she took it a step further. On an 0-2 count, Leon hit a walk-off home run, earning her team the win in dramatic fashion and handing Huskies pitcher Meghan O’Neil her first loss of the season.
Games continued into Saturday, when UConn kicked things off with a rematch against Santa Clara (7-13). Like Friday, it was all Huskies right from the start, with UConn building a quick 2-0 lead after the first inning that they would never let go en route to an 8-0 win.
It was a team effort from the Huskies, who had eight different players register hits, with five different batters knocking in runs in the dominant performance. The highlight of the win was UConn’s final inning that sealed the deal. Heading into the seventh, the Huskies led 4-0, but after what happened Friday against UC Davis, they were not willing to take any chances, scoring four more in the last half-inning alone.
McDaniel started things with a leadoff single, after which Jolley Cali came in to serve a pinch runner. Carli Cutler was up next and reached first after a fielding error that also brought Cali in for the score. On the next at-bat, Casazza hit one deep to center field, allowing both Dahman and Wivell — who came in to pinch run for Cutler — to cross home plate and make it 7-0 Huskies. Casazza scored the final run of the game off Morgan Ash’s first hit of the season to make it 8-0, and a quick seventh for pitcher O’Neil would seal the victory and earn her fourth win.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, though, Friday’s pattern continued all the way through Saturday, and UConn once again lost their second game of the day by just one run, this time against Saint Mary’s (6-12).
The Huskies struck first with a four-run first inning fueled by Sappington. Guevarra got on base first after a fielding error, and advanced to second after Marcelino hit a single before the junior stepped up and hit her second homer of the season, knocking in three runs and giving UConn an early lead. Barnett and Cutler added a couple more runs to extend the Huskies’ lead of five and they looked in complete control. That is, until the bottom of the third, when St. Marys’ offense got going.
In a series of unfortunate events that started with a Gael base hit, St. Mary’s scored six unanswered to take the lead from the Huskies, one they would not give back. Both teams were held scoreless over the next four innings and the game ended in a 6-5 loss for UConn. Olson, Katie Koshes and O’Neil pitched in the game, but the latter gave up the sixth running, meaning she took the loss, her second of the year.
Last up for the Huskies was a matchup against host Sacramento State. UConn ended their road trip similarly to how they started it, beating the Hornets (11-8) 9-3 with another solid team performance.
It was a back and forth game, with each team trading runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, and heading into the final frames the Huskies held just a 4-3 lead. But when it came time for them to bat, they flipped the script and blew Sacramento State out of the water. It was Olson who showed her skills off the mound that started UConn’s run, hitting a single up the middle to score Marcelino and extend the Huskies’ lead to two, but they didn’t stop there. The rest of the inning went like this:
Barnett doubled down the right field line to score Olson, McDaniel scored on a fielder’s choice, Barnett crossed home on a wild pitch and Cutler scored the final run off a Guevarra single to center field. When it was finally time for the Hornets’ offense to step on the field, they found themselves down 9-3 with all the momentum on UConn’s side. O’Neil came in for Olson and retired the last three batters to clinch the win for the Huskies and wrap up another successful weekend. Olson remained undefeated, moving to 6-0 on the year while O’Neil picked up her first save on the season.
Next up for the Huskies is a trip to Virginia to compete in the JMU invitational. The games will kick off Friday with matchups against Siena College and James Madison before it wraps up on Tuesday when they play Hofstra.