It was another weekend of accomplishments for the University of Connecticut softball team. They may have broken the single season stolen base record (again), but the Huskies had their eyes on the real prize: the Big East regular season crown.
UConn threatened in the first inning as Briana Marcelino reached third base on a fielding error, but the next three Huskies went down in order. Aziah James tripled and scored when Marcelino grounded out two pitches later to put UConn on the board in the third.
Elise Sokolsky struck out the side in the bottom half, but the Pirates tied the contest in the fourth. Shelby Smith walked on a full count and was substituted for Miranda Arruda, who scored when Abby Wingo trickled a triple to the wall. Sokolsky got Jenna Blevins to fly out before the Husky offense took center stage.
Erika Coreth got the two-out rally started with a single, and James hit one of her own to put two runners aboard. Marcelino then turned on an 0-1 pitch and cleared the deck with a three-run home run for the 4-1 advantage. In the top of the sixth, Lexi Hastings singled, stole second base and reached third before scoring when Giuliana Abruscato hit a sacrifice fly. Sami Barnett also got in on the action, hitting a double before Lauren Benson singled her in to make it a 6-1 game.
The Husky defense did their part in the bottom half to maintain the lead. After Ashly Colonnetta doubled down the left field line, UConn kept the Pirates off the board as Colonnetta was tagged out at the plate during a Taylor Hill single. Marybeth Olson sent the last three hitters down in the seventh as the Huskies took the opening game 6-1.
Sokolsky picked up her 17th win of the season behind five strong innings, allowing one run on one hit and striking out eight. Olson picked up the save while Smith took the loss for Seton Hall after allowing six runs on eight hits in seven innings.
Marcelino began the Saturday matinee, sending a softball out of the park for the second time in as many games. Her eighth home run of the season gave the Huskies an early 1-0 advantage.
The Huskies hit more than the home run ball in the first. Three pitches later, Reese Guevarra tripled and Hastings singled. Jana Sanden reached on a fielder’s choice without bringing in a run, but Rosie Garcia hit a two-run double for the 3-0 advantage.
The Pirates made things interesting in the fourth when Hill doubled to put two runners in scoring position. After a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases, Olivia Gilbert hit a two-run double to the right field wall. During the play, Blevins was caught in a run-down, which helped UConn maintain the lead.
The Huskies got one of those runs back in the top of the fifth after Marcelino stole her 30th base of the year and scored after beating out the throw during a Hastings sacrifice fly. Seton Hall had a chance to tie the game in the bottom half, but Barnett was right there for the unassisted double play. UConn added another insurance run in the sixth when Benson singled in Makenzie Mason from second base.
Meghan O’Neil allowed a runner to get to second in the seventh, but finished the game by getting Lauren Caye to fly out for the 5-2 victory. With the win, the Huskies became the first team to clinch a spot in the Big East tournament.
O’Neil went the distance for the Huskies, allowing two runs and striking out two on 91 pitches. Smith both went the distance and took the loss for the second consecutive game, allowing five runs on nine hits for the Pirates.
UConn scored three runs in the first inning of Sunday’s game but did not record a hit. Garcia reached on an error, allowing two runs to scorem and Benson brought in Sanden on a sacrifice fly. The Huskies’ first hits came in the second when Marcelino doubled and Guevarra singled her in for the 4-0 advantage.
Seton Hall scored twice in the bottom half as Hannah Alexander hit an RBI single and Marisa Pla stole home on a double steal to make it a 4-2 game. Marcelino hit a grand slam in the third, her third home run of the weekend, to putting Huskies up 8-2.
The Pirates trimmed the lead in the fourth as the first two pitches resulted in a triple from Baylee Allender and an RBI single from Janae Barracato. Seton Hall added another run on three consecutive singles before Sokolsky got the next three hitters out. Alexander sent the first pitch she saw yard in the fifth to make it an 8-5 game.
Two walks and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases in the sixth for UConn before Hastings reached on an error that brought in two runs. Sanden reached on a fielder’s choice that brought in another as Guevarra capitalized off a throwing error.
A wild pitch allowed Hastings to score and make it a 12-5 game before Barnett hit a two-run shot for her fifth home run of the season. Olson relieved O’Neil in the bottom half, striking out two as the Huskies mercy-ruled the Pirates 14-5.
Sokolsky picked up her 18th win of the season, striking out seven despite allowing four runs on 10 hits. Cadyn Ehrenberg took the loss after allowing three runs (one earned) on four walks. Sydney Babik allowed the other 11 runs (three earned) in five innings.
The Huskies (32-14, 18-3 Big East) play their last road game of the year when they travel to Boston College on Wednesday, April 27. First pitch is at 4 p.m. EDT with live stats available on StatBroadcast.