The UConn team that absolutely nobody is talking about but should be is the softball team, and in case you needed another reminder about how good the team has been this season, it went 4-1 in the JMU Invitational to move its overall record to 15-5. That is the program’s best start since 1992.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the Huskies’ weekend in Harrisonburg, Virginia, was that three of their wins came via the mercy rule, which in NCAA softball ends the game after five innings if a team is winning by eight or more runs. UConn beat Siena (1-8) 10-1 on Friday, they beat host James Madison (13-6) 12-2 on Saturday and they beat California (13-11) 8-0 on Sunday.
For the other two games of the weekend, UConn beat James Madison again 9-5 on Friday and lost to California 8-4 on Saturday.
Marybeth Olson, Olivia Sappington and Briana Marcelino were the stars of the weekend for UConn. Olson started three games and went the distance in all of them. She won all three starts, moving her record to 9-0 with a 1.56 ERA this season. Sappington went 10-for-17 at the plate with three home runs and 11 RBI in the five games, while Marcelino went 7-for-15 with four doubles, a home run and nine RBI.
The Huskies kicked off the weekend with the dominant win over Siena, in which Siena scored once before UConn scored 10 unanswered runs on the way to a mercy-rule win. Meghan O’Neil picked up her fifth win of the year with four solid innings. Sappington and Carli Cutler led the Huskies with three RBI in the game.
In Friday’s second game, the 9-5 win over James Madison, Sappington hit two home runs and Marcelino hit another. The two combined to drive in seven of UConn’s nine runs. Olson didn’t pitch her best game, letting up five runs — four earned — but she pitched well enough to pick up the win.
UConn’s lone loss of the weekend came in Saturday’s first game. California scored five runs in the fourth inning, and the Huskies couldn’t recover. O’Neil was tagged with the loss after allowing six runs — four earned — on eight hits in 3.2 innings. Samantha Barnett hitting her first home run of the season was the big highlight of the game for the Huskies.
But they bounced back with two more blowout wins to close out the weekend. They thrashed James Madison in Saturday’s afternoon game, scoring 12 runs on just seven hits. Kiwi McDaniel slammed her first home run of the year, and Marcelino hit a pair of RBI doubles.
On Sunday, Olson pitched her best game of the weekend with a complete-game shutout, in which she allowed just one hit to California in the five-inning game. Meanwhile, the Huskies scored eight runs, including five in the second inning. Sappington and Cutler each hit home runs in the win.
The Huskies will not have to wait until the weekend to play again this week. They have their first midweek game against Hofstra on Tuesday in Hempstead, New York.