After seeing a very successful 5-0 week, the UConn baseball team is set to continue their winning streak on Tuesday, when they take on Marist at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford, Connecticut. This game marks the first and only time all year that the Huskies will play a game in Hartford.
Before their weekend sweep of St. John’s, the Huskies (24-7, 3-0 Big East) took down in-state rivals Central Connecticut and Merrimack on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Over the course of the week, they outscored their opponents by a total of 70-14, with no game decided by less than five runs and two of the games coming as shutout performances from the pitching staff. While the team looked a little shaken up in a very heated series at Kent State last week, they showed complete and utter dominance against their opponents this week, kicking off Big East play in spectacular fashion.
Someone who has been hot at the plate for Connecticut this week has been sophomore Korey Morton, who went 11-for-14 with five runs scored in his five games this week. As of April 9th, he is slashing .455/.500/.788 in 33 at bats.
But, really, most of the UConn bats have been on fire since the beginning of the year, absolutely peppering opposing pitchers all season long. As of the 9th, there are seven consistent starting players with an OPS above .850, not including Morton. Playing in 29 games before the 9th, senior Erik Stock leads all mainstay starters with 52 hits in 123 at bats alongside seven home runs.
While the bats are a huge part of the Huskies’ continued success beyond the halfway point in the season, the pitching staff also provides a massive contribution. As a whole, UConn ranks fourth in the country in ERA despite building massive leads in games at times. While having these big leads, the staff doesn’t typically take their foot off the game, getting quality work in despite blowout situations at times.
Since this past weekend’s series saw the team’s three consistent starters in Austin Peterson, Pat Gallagher and Enzo Stefanoni take the hill, it’s likely that these three guys will go in the next full series against Seton Hall this upcoming weekend.
Head coach Jim Penders went to Cole Chudoba and a bullpen day in the past two midweek’s games, but with Chudoba’s struggles against Central Connecticut and the lack of bullpen use over the weekend thanks to quality starts, expect a bullpen day against Marist. Last Wednesday it was a combination of Braden Quinn, Garrett Coe, Brendan O’Donnell, Jack Sullivan, Brady Afthim and Jimmy Wang that provided nine innings of one-run baseball in a win over Merrimack.
Marist (16-10, 6-3 MAAC) has enjoyed a successful year thus far. Winners of their last four, they are picking up steam and looking to have a strong second half of the season. They’ve won their last two series, taking down Siena and Quinnipiac.
If the Red Foxes stick to their three-man rotation schedule, it looks like starter Jack Bowery will get the start against the Huskies on Tuesday. The freshman has a 6.00 ERA in five total starts. His last time out, he went just 3.1 innings, allowing eight hits and six runs.
On the offensive end, Marist is led by catcher Gene Napolitano, who is hitting .416 with a 1.035 OPS, the highest marks on the team. Whenever the graduate student steps to the plate, the Huskies need to be on their toes.
First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford on Tuesday. The game will be broadcast on FloSports and Mixlr.