The UConn baseball team is heating up. After a rough start to the season against some really good opponents, the Huskies have hit their stride in the regional games. They have gone 5-1 in the last six games to bring their record to 10-12 on the season.
This weekend, they will play the UMass Minutemen (7-9) in a three-game series at Elliot Ballpark. The games will be at 3 p.m. on Friday and a doubleheader starting at noon on Saturday.
The Huskies are coming off a dominating 12-0 win over Boston College on Tuesday, while the Minutemen dropped their home opener to Holy Cross 7-6 on Wednesday. In terms of common opponents so far this season, the only one is Central Connecticut State, who UConn beat 2-0 on March 23 and UMass lost to 8-6 on March 9.
The Huskies have been rolling recently. In Tuesday’s win, they got 13 hits from up and down the lineup, including two home runs by Chris Winkel and another bomb by Kyler Fedko. Fedko has been scorching hot and is currently slashing .388/.625/.443, leading the regular starters in all three categories. Winkel meanwhile has earned his way back into the starting lineup after a bad start to the season and has been hitting the ball well and playing great defense in center field.
The biggest change has been the pitching. Pat Gallagher has been terrific in his past two starts. Austin Peterson has been throwing the ball really well. With the exception of a late-inning blunder by Colby Dunlop in the series finale against URI, the bullpen has been really solid in this stretch as well. UConn’s ace Ben Casparius didn’t have his best outing last Friday, so he will look to bounce back in the series opener this weekend.
UMass is going to have their work cut out for them this weekend against a hot UConn squad. The Minutemen aren’t a very good offensive team, hitting just .208 as a whole. The only player hitting over .300 is freshman catcher Mike Gervasi, who’s hitting .315 with one home run, five doubles and 10 RBIs. Junior third baseman Aidan Wilde is also having a good year, hitting .286 and leading the team with a .905 OPS. The rest of the team, however, are all batting under .230.
On the mound, UMass’ top pitcher Jack Steele has not been great. In four starts, he’s 2-2 with a 7.65 ERA
, and opponents are hitting .307 off him. However, the Minutemen have gotten encouraging starts from Ben Shields and Daniel Livnat, as well as quality performances from Tucker Wittman and Matt Aronson out of the bullpen.
Still, one has to think the Huskies have the advantage in this series in all areas, especially how the teams look coming in. UConn is playing its best ball of the season while UMass has lost four in a row. But these two programs have a lot of history, with UConn leading the all-time series 92-73-3, dating all the way back to 1900.
This weekend should be another fun one between two old-time New England rivals. With a sweep, the Huskies could finally get their record above .500 for the first time all year.