UConn Softball hosts Army in Wednesday matinee home opener 

UConn Huskies sweep the 3-game series against the Butler Bulldogs behind a 1-0 win on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Storrs. The game was called after 5.2 innings due to the storm. Photo by Maggie Chafouleas/Daily Campus.

After the 25 games on the road, the Huskies’ softball team has finally returned home. Burrill Family Field in Storrs will play host to UConn and Army, with the first pitch set for 3 p.m. on March 23. 

The Huskies and Black Knights have only squared off twice before in their history, with each squad claiming one victory. This also marks the first time either team will be the true home team, as both previous games were played at neutral sites. 

Since UConn’s conference games began, the team has been on a steady upward trajectory. With a 5-1 Big East record, its overall record is now over the .500 mark at 14-11. Army has yet to play any conference games, currently sporting an 8-18 record coming into Wednesday. 

For the UConn offense, two players to watch for are Lexi Hastings, who took home Big East Freshman of the Week honors this past weekend, and Sami Barnett, who also earned weekly honors. Hastings recorded six hits against Georgetown, with an on-base percentage of .500 and a batting average of .462 on the weekend. Barnett batted .636 this weekend, with two RBIs. In total, UConn has four players batting over .300 this season, with Briana Marcelino and Reese Guevarra joining Hastings and Barnett. On top of just hitting, Hastings and Marcelino have been tearing up the basepaths, with 14 and 17 stolen bases, respectively. Marcelino has yet to be caught stealing this year. 

On the mound, Meghan O’Neil had a great weekend against Georgetown, tossing 11.2 innings while only allowing one run. 

For Army, the team is coming off a 3-3 weekend at the Maryland Invitational, hoping to capitalize on momentum from its last game, a 10-2 defeat of Monmouth on March 20. Maddie Wilkes currently leads the team in batting average with a .361 on the season, but she’s only started 11 of Army’s 26 games. Kayla Edwards has been more consistent, starting every game so far and leading the team in hits with 24, while maintaining a .286 average. 

Pitching for Army has been relatively consistent, but each of the team’s four main pitchers have hovered around their collective 4.73 earned run average so far this year. Jolie Duong has the most innings under her belt with 63.2, and she has a 4-5 record for the season. After her, the pitcher with the most starts is Olivia Farris, who is currently looking for her first victory after starting the season 0-10. 

While Army has certainly not started off the season with as good a record as UConn, this may be deceiving due to its lack of conference play thus far. Only playing the game will tell, as the Huskies aim to catapult from their 2-1 weekend against Georgetown, straight through this game and onward to the upcoming DePaul series this weekend. For the Black Knights, they’re also getting ready for conference play as well, as they face Lehigh for three games this weekend, their opening series of Patriot League play. 

This mid-week one-off game could end up affecting both teams significantly, so make sure to show up or tune in at 3 p.m, with the game being broadcast on FloSports. 

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