Over the weekend, the University of Connecticut Women’s Softball team took on the Creighton University Bluejays from Omaha, Nebraska in a three-game series. It followed the Huskies win over the University of Rhode Island Rams on Wednesday in a one-game series that gave the Huskies their seventh win of the season.
The Bluejays and the Huskies played three games over two days, two on Saturday and one on Sunday. The series marked the beginning of Big East play for the Huskies this year, although they’ve already played a few series. They split the Saturday games one and one; the Bluejays claimed game one, while the Huskies bounced back and took game two.
Game one was relatively close. Pitcher Payton Kinney went through the first three innings without giving up a run, before giving up one in the fourth and one in the fifth. The Huskies managed one in the top of the seventh on the back of a home run by senior Briana Marcelino, but weren’t able to chain that success into another run and dropped the game 1-2.
Game two, which took place right after game one, was pitched by sophomore Meghan O’Neil for the Huskies and sophomore Mikayla Santa Cruz for the Bluejays. The Huskies bounced back after their close defeat earlier in the day, scoring nine runs for only the second time this season, the first being their Wednesday game against the Rams.
O’Neil gave up just one run, a homer to Creighton’s Madeline Vejvoda in the bottom of the third. It was a good run, but a hollow effort as their team gave up nine runs including four homeruns.
The star of the game was without a doubt Devon Cassanza. The senior pitcher scored two homers in the game, one in the third and one in the fourth. Her teammates Jana Sanden and Briana Marcelino scored another home run each, Marcelino’s second of the day.
O’Neil also dominated. She only gave up one run, pitching the full seven innings and securing three strikeouts along with just one walk. It was an impressive performance that notched the sophomore her fifth win of the season, out of just eight games won by the end of Saturday.
On Sunday, the Huskies and Bluejays faced off one more time in their final game of the series, a decider that would determine who won. Kinney was on the mound again for most of the game, pitching six innings while O’Neil came in in the end to finish off the game with one.
It was a very high-scoring game throughout. Creighton scored in the first on the back of a bases-loaded walk. The score stayed at 1-0 Creighton until the third inning, where the Huskies claimed three runs on the back of a three-run homer by Sanden, her third of the season. She’d add a fourth in the sixth, her third in this series, and helped cement the 10-5 victory for the Huskies. She ended the game with six RBIs, two homers, and a walk in three at bats.
Despite O’Neil’s struggle on the mound, she gave up four runs and two homers, she still performed well enough for the rest of the team to take the game by the reins and run with it. It was a battle of home runs; the teams combined for five in the game and eight of the Huskies 10 runs came from home runs as did three of Creighton’s five runs.
Despite a home run in the seventh that brought the score to a five-run gap, Creighton was unable to complete the monumental comeback and the Huskies claimed a win in their first Big East series of the season. It was a good start to that part of the season for the team, who has struggled so far and now sits at a 9-10 record, a 2-1 record in Big East play.
Now, the Huskies return to Connecticut, where they’ll play their first home game of the season on Wednesday against Central Connecticut State University. That will lead into a weekend of games against Butler University, a set of three games which will also take place at home.
For the Huskies, those games will mark their first chances to perform at home after their series against Georgetown was cancelled a week ago. It will be their chance to get above a .500 record for the first time in a while, and to show that even though the season may have started with a struggle, this is still a good softball team.