The UConn women’s softball team will be playing in their third weekend of games this weekend. The team will be playing in the UNC Tournament in North Carolina against Elon University, the University of North Carolina, the University of South Carolina and Duke University in five games over three days, starting on Friday, March 5.
The games come after a weekend in which the Huskies struggled through five games that culminated in a 2-16 five-inning loss to the University of Texas last Sunday. It was a difficult loss for the team, who has at times struggled to look as good as they did last season before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the season to be cut short.
The team’s pitchers struggled their way through last weekend’s games. Two pitchers,
Payton Kinney and Meghan O’Neil, have pitched most of UConn’s innings this season and they both struggled last weekend in the three losses. The Huskies pitching core gave up a total of 28 runs in three games while the offense was only able to score twice over those three games, both of those runs in the Sunday game where they gave up 16.
The first game of the weekend will be against the Elon University Phoenixes. The team has only played five games this season after a number of other games were postponed, and they are currently sitting at 2-3. All three losses, however, came against Clemson in a series of three games in which they gave up twenty-one runs while scoring zero.
This might give the UConn offense a good chance to perform in a way they’ve sometimes struggled to and get some runs on the board to give the pitchers a little bit more leeway in allowing a run or two without that being what decides the entire game.
Then, the Huskies will be facing off against perhaps the more threatening teams in the UNC Tar Heels and the South Carolina Gamecocks. UNC is sitting at 5-5 after losing four games last weekend, including two to the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide. Given both UNC and the Huskies are coming off of bad weekends, this weekend could be an opportunity for a rebounding performance, but it could also continue the downhill slide that both teams seem to be facing.
Then there are the Gamecocks, who so far boast a 9-2 record over 11 games. Most recently, they won a 10-1 five-inning game against Winthrop University on Wednesday. They’ve already won six games in less than seven innings due to the lead they have, which means just three of their wins have had to go the distance.
They’re probably the biggest threat for the struggling UConn pitching corps, who will need to recover after their frustrating performance last weekend.
Well, the biggest until you look at Duke. Duke sits at 13-1, having only dropped one game to Notre Dame before beating them soundly in two more games the same weekend. Four of their games have been decided in less than seven innings, and they’ve scored at least five runs in 11 of their 13 victories. The UConn offense will have to perform better than they did last weekend if they want to keep up with the powerful bats of the Blue Devils and the Gamecocks.
Besides these four games, the Huskies have a fifth game Sunday, before the game against the Blue Devils, but their opponent has not been determined.
The first game of the tournament is Friday, March 5, against the Phoenixes. The game will begin at 1:30 pm EST.