UConn softball is off to a roaring hot start in the Big East, with its next three conference games coming against DePaul this weekend.
This series will serve as the Huskies’ first Big East home games, with their true home opener having been played on Wednesday, a 5-4 come-from-behind win over Army.
The Huskies’ and Blue Demons’ history dates back to 1994, and UConn has not had an easy time of it. DePaul currently has an all-time record of 14-6 against UConn, but the 5-1 Huskies look to add some tallies to their win column this weekend.
DePaul has played half the conference games that UConn has so far, with only a three-game series against Butler that saw the Blue Demons win one-of-three under its belt. While the team did take two losses, each of the games were decided by only one run.
When comparing the offenses of these two teams, there are a lot of similarities. For starters, both teams walk a lot. DePaul’s 80 walks on the season leads its opponents by 30, while UConn has walked 26 more times than opposing teams. Both teams also tend to strike out a lot, with 142 for DePaul and 152 for UConn, but the main difference here is that while DePaul’s pitching staff has only struck out 96 opposing hitters, UConn’s has 136 total punchouts.
Offensively, the Huskies edge out the Blue Demons by over .020 batting average points. Between the two lineups, the most glaring difference has to be the stolen base. DePaul has swiped 14 bags so far this season, a number eclipsed individually by two separate UConn players. Briana Marcelino sits at 18 steals, while Lexi Hastings added one on Wednesday to bring her total to 16 on the season. All added up, UConn has stolen 55 bases, almost double the Blue Demons’ amount.
As for players to watch, both Jana Sanden and Olivia Sappington both had multi-hit games in UConn’s Wednesday win against Army, with each picking up an extra-base hit, (double for Sanden, home run for Sappington). The duo combined to knock in four of UConn’s five runs on the day. From DePaul, Brooke Johnson and Maranda Gutierrez have been incredibly consistent all season long. Each has above a .350 average, with Johnson specifically holding a monstrous .701 slugging percentage.
Pitching-wise, UConn’s staff continues to get better and better, but DePaul’s hurlers toss far more complete games (three for the Huskies and 10 for the Blue Demons). Nonetheless, the Huskies’ cooperative method has brought them a team ERA of under four, while DePaul’s currently sits right above that mark at 4.01.
UConn is 0-3 in Big East games against DePaul, and 0-5 in the two teams’ last five matchups, getting outscored 25-7. While all of this is true, UConn has a better home record (2-5) against the Blue Demons then their away record (0-8), and with the start its had this season, now could very well be the timeato break the streak.
Game times are 3 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. All games will be played at Burrill Family Field in Storrs and televised on FloSoftball.