The University of Connecticut softball team entered the weekend having won each of their first four conference series, three of which were on the road. Back home from a series win against Butler and a dominating 15-0 shutout of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Minutemen on Wednesday, the white-hot Husky offense continued to cook.
Creighton drew first blood under the lights as Kailey Wilson homered to left field, Elise Sokolsky’s first earned run allowed since March 26 against DePaul. UConn responded immediately, as Reese Guevarra singled and stole second base, scoring after Jana Sanden singled to right field. The Huskies took the 2-1 lead on the following at-bat as Lexi Hastings scored on a passed ball.
After four scoreless innings featuring four combined hits and nine strikeouts from Sokolsky, Creighton had an opportunity in the top of the sixth to take the lead. The Blue Jays got two runners in scoring position following two quick outs, but Emma Rosonke struck out looking to end the frame. UConn capitalized off the missed chance in the bottom half, as Sami Barnett and Giuliana Abruscato both scored on an outfield error and Aziah James scored on another error to make it a 5-1 game.
Creighton wasn’t going to go down without a fight, though. Marybeth Olson sat down the first two hitters in the seventh before Shayna Dahlen hit her second home run of the season to cut the deficit to 5-2. The Blue Jays kept hitting as Brittney Manthie walked, and Madeline Vejvoda singled to put two runners aboard and Cayla Nielsen singled both runners in to make it a one-run game. With the tying run on second, Olson struck out Sydra Seville swinging to secure the 5-4 Husky victory.
Sokolsky pitched five innings, allowing one run on two hits with nine punchouts. Olson picked up the two-inning save, allowing three runs (two earned) while striking out three. Kate Mullally took the loss, allowing four runs (one earned) on seven hits in five innings.
UConn’s offense did not suffer from the shifted start time. Sanden singled in the Huskies’ first run for a second consecutive game as Briana Marcelino beat the throw to home plate. Rosie Garcia followed up with a ground out, allowing Guevarra to score for an early 2-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the second, Barnett reached third on a single and on consecutive groundouts before scoring, when Marcelino ripped a first pitch double to right field. Guevarra subsequently singled in Marcelino and made it a 4-0 game.
Creighton’s offense woke up in the third, scoring their first run on consecutive doubles from Nielsen and Wilson. Kiara Mills walked and Sam Alm cut the deficit in half with a double before Dahlen made it a one-run game on a sacrifice fly. Sokolsky relieved O’Neil and stopped the bleeding as Rosonke flew out.
Hastings extended the lead in the bottom half after hitting a leadoff single, stealing two bases in the same at-bat and scoring on a groundout from Garcia for a 5-3 advantage. UConn piled on more runs in the fourth as Barnett singled and scored after Marcelino collected her third hit of the game. Hollis Wivell pinch-ran for Erika Coreth after she was hit by a pitch and scored on a single from Hastings.
Each team had great chances to score runs in the fifth inning, but both Sokolsky and Mikayla Santa Cruz escaped the jams without allowing a run. Sokolsky worked around Wilson’s third hit of the game in the seventh as UConn secured the series win 7-3.
O’Neil went 2.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits with two punchouts. Sokolsky pitched the remaining 4.1 innings, surrendering two hits and striking out seven. Mullally took the loss again, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits for Creighton.
Offense defined the series finale. UConn drew first blood again as both Sanden and Garcia reached on errors, the latter of which brought Hastings home in the bottom of the first. The Huskies doubled their lead in the second when Guevarra singled in Wivell with the bases loaded.
The Blue Jays attacked in the third inning. Alyssa Gappa put two runners in scoring position with a double over James’ head before Nielsen hit an RBI single that stayed in the infield. After Wilson was hit by a pitch, Mills tied the contest with a bases-loaded walk before two runs scored on a fielding error for the 4-2 lead. The Huskies answered right back. After an error and a Barnett single put runners on the corner, Coreth brought in Abruscato on a sacrifice fly and UConn tied the game after Marcelino reached on an error.
Each of the first five hitters got on-base in the bottom of the fourth as UConn’s offense heated up. Garcia singled to left center to give the Huskies the lead, and Barnett hit a two-run single to make it a 7-4 Husky advantage. Three batters and a pitching change later, Marcelino extended the lead to 9-4 with a two-run single.
Creighton got a run back in the fifth via a sacrifice fly, but that was the last time they got to bat. The Huskies scored four runs in the bottom half to enforce the mercy rule and sweep the Blue Jays 13-5, walking it off on a bases-loaded single from Guevarra.
Sokolsky went three innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on two hits while O’Neil pitched the other two frames and allowed a run on three hits. Jena Lawrence took the loss for the Blue Jays, allowing five runs (four earned) on three hits.
The Huskies (24-13, 13-2 Big East) continue their homestand with two games in two days. They will play the Rhode Island Rams on Tuesday, April 12, at 4 p.m. before squaring off with the Fairfield Stags at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13. Both games are accessible on FloSports.