Softball: UConn wins 3 out of 4 in UNCG Invitational 


This past weekend, the UConn softball team traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina for the UNCG Invitational.  

The Huskies started off the Invitational with a game against UNC Greensboro. Behind dominant pitching, UConn got the 3-1 victory on Friday night. Freshman Hope Jenkins was the starting pitcher for the Huskies, tossing a career-high six strikeouts over 4.2 innings on the mound. She only gave up two hits and a single run.  

Payton Kinney came in relief for Hope Jenkins in the fifth inning, continuing her dominant surge. The junior reliever retired all of the seven batters that she faced. Kinney was given the save while Hope Jenkins was credited her second win of the season.  

UConn got off to a hot start on offense, putting up three runs in the top of the first inning. Junior Jana Sanden launched a three-run homer down the left field line to put the Huskies on top. This was Sanden’s first home run of the year and it came at a perfect time.  

The second day of the tournament, UConn split its games against Delaware and UNC Greensboro. 

 Its loss came in the first game against Delaware. Senior Megan O’Neil started on the bump for the Huskies. She went five innings and struck out three batters. In the sixth inning, Delaney Nagy came in relief for O’Neil but only faced two batters. Hope Jenkins then came in for Nagy to finish off the game with two strikeouts.  

Delaware got to the plate first, with two runs in the second inning. The Huskies came back in the third inning with two runs to equalize the score. Sanden got UConn going with a single to left field for graduate student Aziah James to score. Junior Lauren Benson followed up with a sacrifice fly to left field, for Grace Jenkins to run home.  

Although in the fourth inning, Delaware regained the lead and never gave it up again. They scored a run in the fourth inning and two in the first inning to take the 5-2 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, UConn added another run from a single up the middle by freshman Haley Coupal to allow junior pinch runner Makenzie Mason to score.  

In the seventh inning, the Huskies put up a fight by getting the first two batters on base. Sophomore Lexi Hastings hit a single up the middle for Hope Jenkins to score. They were only down 6-4 but weren’t able to get the two tying runs on the board resulting in the loss.  

Kinney started the second game for the Huskies, putting up a shutout performance. She finished a complete game, the first time in her career only giving up a single hit. Leading UConn to the win, Kinney set a career high 14 strikeouts.  

Both teams remained scoreless until the fifth inning when the Huskies took a 1-0 lead. Freshman Kaitlyn Kibling got her first career hit and first hit of the game for Connecticut. Mason’s sacrifice fly moved Kibling over to second and a single by freshman Savannah Ring moved her to third. James then hit into a fielder’s choice for Kibling to score.  

In the sixth inning, the leadoff hitter, sophomore Rosie Garcia, got things started for the Huskies again. A sacrifice bunt by Hastings allowed Garcia to move to second and a ground out by junior Taylor Zatyk moved her to third. Garcia then scored on a wild pitch, extending UConn’s lead to 2-0.  

Kinney finished the game for the Huskies, striking out the side in the seventh inning and securing the shutout 2-0 win. 

For the final game of the tournament, UConn faced off against Indiana and once again, got a shutout victory. 

The pitching staff had been strong all weekend for the Huskies and continued that against the Hoosiers. Hope Jenkins started in the circle for Connecticut going four innings with two strikeouts, earning her third win of the season. Kinney came in relief for Hope Jenkins and finished the game. She gave up just one hit and got her second save of the season for the Huskies.  

Sanden broke open the scoring for UConn with a solo shot, her second home run of the weekend. Grace Jenkins added to the Huskies’ with a home run. This week’s Big East Freshman of the week leads the team in home runs as that was her fifth of the season.  

The Huskies took full control of the offense in the fifth inning with clutch two-out hitting. Grace Jenkins got her second RBI of the game with a single up the middle to allow Ring to score. Sanden continued their run with another single up the middle to bring Grace Jenkins home, also for her second RBI of the game.  

In the final inning, the Huskies picked up an insurance run off of James’ single to left field to score Kibling. They sealed the 5-0 win, blanking out Indiana for the final game of the tournament.  

Pitching was UConn’s strong suit for the weekend and it can continue to be a weapon for team behind Hope Jenkins, O’Neil and Kinney.  

Connecticut finished the weekend going 3-1 at the UNCG Invitational and improved to a 7-5 overall record on the season. The Huskies will be back in action next weekend when they travel to Lynchburg, Virginia for the Liberty Invitational.  

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