With a streak of eight straight wins, UConn is poised to attempt a sweep of their homestand as they play the last three games of it against Providence this Friday, Saturday and Monday.
Historically, the Huskies have had much success against the Friars, with 48 wins in 70 tries since 1989. This season, the two programs are currently No. 1 and No. 2 in the Big East, with UConn leading the pack with a 13-2 conference record and Providence right behind with an 8-4 record. While a series win for the Huskies will serve to further the gap between UConn and the rest of the field, a Friar victory would not only bring them closer to the top of the conference, but also separate them from Villanova and Butler, two teams that are within a game of them.
The two teams have opposite strengths, so it will be a battle for which style of play wins out this weekend. For the Friars, their strong suit is its pitching staff, making for an offense batting .254 on the year, matching most teams they’re up against. UConn on the other hand, is a very heavy offensive team, as it just got to a team batting average of exactly .300 on the season. Against a Friar pitching staff with an ERA of 3.21, the Huskies will have to fight to break through.
Pitching-wise, both rosters have one starter with an ERA in the mid-twos, as UConn’s Elise Sokolsky is down to 2.57 on the season while Providence’s Tori Grifone has a 2.49.
For the UConn offense, Briana Marcelino had a fantastic last two games, Tuesday and Wednesday, against URI and Fairfield. Over those two, she had five hits, hit a home run and stole two bases, in addition to her single-season record breaking 26th swipe in the Fairfield game. With much of the season left to go, there’s no telling how high she will set the new record marker.
Providence is on a three-game skid, but if they are to turn their momentum around, one player to watch for is Jacque Harrington, who has had three hits in the past three games. Harrington is tied for the team lead in batting average at .333 and in home runs with seven, and also leads alone in hits, walks and RBI.
After this weekend, UConn has only two more Big East three-game series in the regular season, first with Seton Hall and then with Villanova. First pitch against Providence is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The second game will be on Saturday at 2 p.m., with the series finale on Monday at 2 p.m. All three games will be played at Burrill Family Field in Storrs, Connecticut, after which the Huskies will go on the road for the next five matchups: one against Merrimack, three against Seton Hall and one against BC.
All three games will be broadcast on FloSports.