After a long wait, baseball is finally back in Storrs, Connecticut, as UConn takes on the University of Hartford in their home opener: a one-off game before another two week stretch on the road.
The Huskies are enjoying their most successful start to a season since 1971, when the team started out 8-0. This year, UConn is enjoying an 8-1 record, falling only to Charlotte in the second contest of the season.
One of the biggest contributors to the team’s early successes has to be the starting rotation. So far, coach Jim Penders has opted for a three-man rotation of Austin Peterson, Pat Gallagher and Enzo Stefanoni. This trio has allowed just eight earned runs over a combined 50.1 innings, good for a 1.43 ERA. While precedent would dictate that it’s Peterson’s turn to take the hill for the Huskies on Tuesday, the Hawks have struggled mightily this season. So, maybe Penders will save Peterson’s arm for this upcoming weekend.
On the offensive end, UConn has been fantastic to start as well. The team as a whole is batting .311, almost .100 points over their opponent batting average of .213. One of the most consistent guys at the plate has been outfielder Erik Stock. The senior has enjoyed multi-hit games in every contest except for one this year, and is currently riding a 20-game hit streak, dating back to last season. Stock is hitting .472 with an OPS over 1.200, contributing heavily at the plate in every game he’s played this year.
Speaking of heavy contributors, graduate transfer Casey Dana has been the literal definition of clutch in the early part of this season. The outfielder leads the Huskies or is tied for the lead in RBIs, home runs and total bases. In his most recent game against FIU, Dana went 2-for-4 with a double in a 15-0 win.
For as well as UConn has played in the early goings of the season, Hartford has been the total opposite, starting the season 0-6. Some of their struggles can be attributed to a number of players transferring out of the program, a byproduct of the school transitioning from Division I to Division III sports. They took a beating in their opening series against Clemson and their first two games against Western Kentucky, but put up a fight in their most recent contest, falling 3-2.
The most consistent hitter for the Hawks thus far has been senior outfielder Donnie Cohoon. In 14 at bats, Cohoon has gotten a hit five times, one of which coming as a double. Derek Tenney has posted another solid early statline, going 7-for-22 over all six games played.
The game is set for Tuesday at 3:05 p.m. at Elliot Ballpark in Storrs. The contest will be broadcast on FloSports and ESPN 97.9.