Sports – ASE
Baseball: Huskies headed to South Carolina for Baseball at the Beach series
After a tough weekend down in Southern Mississippi, UConn baseball is back on the road — this time in South Carolina — to face off against Miami University, Davidson College and Coastal Carolina University in this year’s Baseball at the Beach series.
The weekend will kick off Friday with a matchup against Miami, followed by a one-and-done against Davidson Saturday, before the Huskies (2-4) wrap up the weekend with a two-game series against host Coastal Carolina Sunday and Monday. UConn has gotten off to a bit of a shaky start this season but will look to right the ship with another difficult series ahead.
Leading the way for the Huskies is Reggie Crawford. The second-year freshman paces the team in hits (8), home runs (3) and RBIs (18) and is coming off an impressive two-home run, six-RBI outing against the University of Southern Mississippi last Sunday.
More surprising than Crawford’s numbers, however, is the lackluster performance from Big East Preseason Player of the Year Kyler Fedko. In the Huskies’ six games, Fedko is batting just .227 and has struck out over twice as many times (12) as he has gotten a hit this season (5). If UConn want to start putting more wins on the board, they’ll need their best bat to start getting back into the form fans saw last year.
The mound has also gotten off to a rough start for the Huskies this season. Ben Casparius, the top pitching prospect in the Big East and UConn’s ace, sits at 0-1 with an ERA of 4.26, striking out 13 through 12.2 innings.
The bullpen has faced similar struggles, with fifth-year senior Kenny Haus’ ERA up to 7.71 after boasting a .79 ERA in seven appearances last season. Caleb Wurster, however, has been huge for UConn, pitching 5.1 shutout innings and giving the Huskies their lone win in their series against then-No. 16 Virginia.
UConn will have to be clicking in all aspects if they hope to have their first winning weekend of the year, particularly against this week’s competition.
Miami’s (5-3) best bat is redshirt freshman Nate Stone, who is batting .500 on the season including three doubles, one homer and eight RBIs. Stone isn’t alone, though, as the Redhawks have three other players batting over .330 thus far, including Will Vogelgesang. The grad student is slashing an impressive .344/.421/.594 line and leading the team in hits (11), doubles (5) and RBIs (9).
Sam Bachman is likely to get the start on the mound for Miami. In his two starts, the junior has allowed just one run in 11 innings while striking out 16. The Huskies have struck out at least 10 times in all but one of their games this season, so it will be interesting to see if they can keep their composure against a pitcher like Bachman.
Davidson (4-3) has been incredibly hot-and-cold to start the 2021 season. The Cardinals put up an average of 12.5 runs in their four wins but knocked in just over three runs in their losses. The leading batters for Davidson are Trevor Candelaria and Henry Koehler. Candelaria leads the Cardinals with a .381 batting average while Koehler bats second and paces the team in hits, tacking on a home run and four RBIs in his 29 at bats.
Either Ryan Feczko or Gabe Levy are likely to take the mound for Saturday’s contest. The freshman Feczko has pitched in two no-decisions, and has a 4.0 ERA through nine innings, while Levy came in as a relief pitcher in his first game before starting his second appearance, putting together nine innings of one-run baseball and leading the team with 11 strikeouts.
UConn wraps up the series with a two-game matchup against host Coastal Carolina, who will undoubtedly be their toughest test of the weekend.
The Chanticleer’s (5-2) have already taken games from then-No. 16 Duke, No. 16 Wake Forest and No. 23 West Virginia and are currently on a four-game winning streak. Leading the way for Coastal Carolina is Nick Lucky, who paces the team in batting average (.387), hits (12) and home runs (3) and is second on the team in RBIs with seven.
The junior was also the most recent recipient of the Sun Belt Player of the Week award after he batted .400 with two home runs, five RBIs and five runs in their 4-0 week. The Chanticleer’s, however, do struggle with composure at the plate like UConn does, and have five players who have struck out at least nine times on the year.
On the mound, it’ll be Nick Parker and a pitch-by-committee approach to wrap up the weekend. Parker started in Coastal Carolina’s sole win over Duke, pitching five innings and giving up two runs but earned the no-decision. He was not as successful in their win against West Virginia, going 4.2 innings and allowing eight hits and four runs in the eventual victory. If Parker gets off to another slow start on Sunday, the door will be wide open for UConn to run up the score.
The festivities kick off Friday at noon in the Huskies’ first four-game series of the season and will end Monday as the Huskies try to get back to that .500 mark.