After a clean sweep against Creighton this weekend opened UConn softball’s homestand, the Huskies are getting ready to face two teams they have a lot of historic success against. First up, on Tuesday, URI comes to town for a 4 p.m. game. This will be followed by a Wednesday game against Fairfield at 6 p.m.
As UConn has lost only two of their last 13 games, momentum has been a key point to hit when previewing their games. However, a key feature of UConn’s roster is that standout performances come from various places. This week, two players to highlight are Reese Guevarra and Lexi Hastings, who were awarded Big East Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors, respectively. Both are batting over .340, have over 20 RBI and have stolen 20 or more bases on the season (Hastings currently has the second most on the team while Guevarra has the third, both behind Briana Marcelino).
Comparing UConn’s offensive stats to their upcoming opponents, the Huskies’ 31 home runs, 86 stolen bases and 177 RBI are all more than both teams have combined on the season. UConn, as a team, is batting .296, with URI batting .243 and Fairfield batting .232.
Pitching wise, Elise Sokolsky, despite breaking her streak of innings without an earned run of the weekend, is still pitching phenomenally, and Meghan O’Neil has the majority of the innings without Sokolsky in the circle. Between those two, Delaney Nagy and Marybeth Olson, the Huskies’ staff ERA is down to 3.29.
Historically, UConn has had little trouble against the Rams, with a record of 33-6 all-time, including the six-game win streak the Huskies are on right now. Speaking of win streaks, however, URI is on a four-game upswing after starting its season 5-23. The Rams will look to continue this momentum as they come into Storrs. Two important parts of the URI offense are Rachel Zingerman, who is currently leading the team with a .301 batting average, and Ari Castillo, who leads the team with five home runs and in RBIs with 22.
Pitching for URI has mostly been the responsibility of Liz Lynchard, who has started 18 of the Rams’ 32 games this year. She has a 4.53 ERA, but has thrown seven complete games, three more than UConn’s Sokolsky.
Fairfield and UConn have less history, but UConn has still been relatively dominant, as the all-time record is 9-3 in the Huskies’ favor. Fairfield is currently on a four-game loss streak, sinking to 6-18 on the season. Offensively, the team is led by Haley Updegraff and Allie Bridgman in terms of batting average, who are hitting .348 and .314, respectively. In terms of run production, the majority of Fairfield’s RBI come from Kaitlin Hoffman and Mikayla Rubin, who have season totals of 12 and 13.
In the circle, Fairfield does not have a pitcher who has thrown more than 45 innings, with a staff of six. Altogether, the staff has a 4.80 ERA.
The way UConn has been playing recently, they are positioned relatively heavy favorites in both of these matchups. However, streaks both negative and positive tend to inspire, as URI looks to continue its upward trajectory and Fairfield looks to stop its downward one. One statistic that favors the two teams is UConn’s 30 unearned runs allowed, a high among the three. If the Huskies can play clean, errorless softball, their bats and arms may be able to power them over their next two opponents.
First pitch in the URI game is at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, while the Fairfield game kicks off at 6 p.m., both at the Burrill Family Field in Storrs, and streaming on FloSports.