After another one-off home game, the UConn baseball team is headed back to warmer weather for another seven-game road trip …
Sorry, force of habit.
Actually, the No. 25 Huskies are staying in New England for a little while, as they will take on the University of Rhode Island in a home-away-home series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Connecticut is enjoying one of its best starts to a season in program history, going 15-4 in the team’s first 19 games, the majority of which came on the road. The Huskies earned some special recognition this week for their early season efforts, coming in at No. 25 in D1Baseball.com’s Top 25 rankings, their first time on the poll this year.
It’s not one particular aspect of their game that has made UConn so successful, as the team is well-balanced. The Huskies as a whole are slashing .291/.379/.477 in the early goings, limiting opponents to a total statline of .233/.308/.300. That’s a dominant start.
The pitching staff especially has been exceptional, as Connecticut ranks 30th in the entire nation in WHIP with 1.23 and fifth in ERA with 2.56. They also boast an 11th-best K/9, striking out an average of over 11 batters a game. One Husky on the bump that has been hot lately has been starter Ian Cooke, who excelled in UConn’s win over ranked USC last week, going 7.2 scoreless innings. The freshman earned himself Big East Pitcher of the Week honors for his efforts, and is projected to start this weekend against the Rams.
One thing to look out for this week from the pitching side is the performance of Enzo Stefanoni. Through over 28 innings, Stefanoni has fanned 32 batters while only walking one — good for the third-best K/BB rate in the entire country. He should see some time on the hill again this weekend, so look for him to try to improve those numbers even more.
At the plate, the team has been led by offensive MVP Erik Stock. The senior has been crushing the ball to start the year, slugging .615 with 15 RBIs. Last game against Bryant, Stock went 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and two RBIs.
Graduate transfer Casey Dana has been likely the most clutch batter for the Huskies this year, leading the team with five home runs and 22 RBIs. For reference, Dana has 23 hits on the season, driving in roughly one baserunner every time he gets a hit. While that is a feat that will be hard to continue throughout the rest of the year, if guys like Stock can keep getting on base in front of him in the order, Dana will have plenty of more opportunities to drive runs in.
To say that Rhode Island has struggled to start the year would be an understatement. The Rams sit at 2-17 on the year, beating only Connecticut schools Sacred Heart and Bryant. They are riding a three game losing streak and if things go well for the Huskies, that number could very easily increase to six.
In the all-time series, the Huskies have come out on top more often, as they lead 120-67-5. Including an exhibition game this fall, they’ve won the last two games and six of the last seven.
First pitch is set for 3:05 p.m. on Friday at Elliot Ballpark. Saturday’s game will take place at URI in Kingston, Rhode Island at 1 p.m, and Sunday’s matchup will be at 1:05 p.m. back at Elliot Ballpark. UConn’s home games will be broadcast on FloSports, and all of the games can be listened to on Mixlr.