Softball: Huskies win Series, headed towards playoffs

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Over the weekend, the University of Connecticut Huskies Softball Team played three games against the St. John’s University Thunderbirds. They added their 17th and 18th wins to the season in two games on Saturday before dropping a game on Sunday 2-6.

The weekend started off with a double header on Saturday. The Huskies came out of the gate hard and fast, claiming two runs in the first on the back of a single by Jana Sanden that brought in Reese Guevarra, and a single from Hollis Wivell that brought in Sanden a few minutes later. 

Those two runs started the game off well and put pitcher Meghan O’Neil in a pretty good spot for the rest of the game. Those were the only runs scored until the 7th inning as O’Neil and the Thunderbirds’ pitcher Erin Brown went head-to-head in a pitcher’s showdown. In the top of the 7th, however, the Thunderbirds struck, claiming 3 runs on the backs of Kamryn Tiumalu and Gretchen Bowie. 

That gave them a 3-2 lead headed into the bottom of the inning, but the Huskies’ bats woke up in time to save the game. Guevarra was once again at the head of the effort, bringing in Cali Jolley on a single which also advanced a runner to second and tied the game 2-2. It would end just a few minutes later, when an error by the Thunderbirds allowed Guevarra an unearned run to close out the game and extend the UConn winning streak to 4.

It was extended to five a few hours later in the second half of the double header, which was much less close than the first. Spirited on by their victory in the first game of the day, the Huskies were dominant in game two. They scored early and often, with five runs in the first inning alone on the backs of players like Guevarra, Wivell, and Sanden.

The Thunderbirds were also clearly struggling; a bases loaded walk of Wivell in the first earned a run when it brought in Sanden, and an unforced error scored one unearned run in a play that scored two total later in the first. The slaughter continued in the second and third innings where the Huskies racked up another four runs overall, including a homer by Sanden in the second, her seventh homer of the season, and another unearned run, this one by Sanden, in the third brought the game to a 9-0 scoreline. 

The Thunderbirds scored one in the fifth inning, but were unable to do more, and the game was mercy ruled after five innings with an ending scoreline of 9-1 in favor of the Huskies. This extended their win streak to 5 games and their season record to 18-13.

However, the Thunderbirds bit back on Sunday, when the teams played for the third and final time. This time, they scored early, getting a run in the first on the back of a popup. The Huskies offense struggled to find success, getting two runs in the third inning on a homer from Guevarra and a groundout by Marcelino, but that was all the success the bats would have for the Huskies.

On the other hand, the Thunderbirds’ bats were alive. A homer in the third by Gabriella Conca brought in three, and another homer in the fourth by Gretchen Bowie made it 5-2. The Thunderbirds would score for the last time in the game in the fifth, as pinch runner Natalie Alheidt stole home and tied up a 6-2 victory for the Thunderbirds.

The Huskies will play next on May 5th when they’ll take on Seton Hall University in Storrs in a three-game series over two days. After that, the last series of the Huskies regular season will take place over the weekend, when they’ll play three games against Villanova to close out the regular season. 

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