The UConn softball team (11-7, 2-1) returned home after capping off the Liberty Invitational with three straight victories, and they continued to add to the win column with a three-game series at home against the Seton Hall University Pirates (8-9, 1-2).
The opening game at Burrill Family Field at the Connecticut Softball Complex began on Friday afternoon with Hope Jenkins having a dominant performance, with four strikeouts and only one hit. Her day wasn’t all that dominant, as she allowed the bases to load up in the first inning. However, since she got out of that jam, she retired 12 of the last 13 batters.
On the offensive side, the Huskies took no time to get out in front of the Pirates. A pair of walks in the first inning set up infielder Jana Sanden to hit a three-run shot, her third home run of the season, giving UConn a 3-0 lead to begin the series.
The scoring didn’t stall after the first inning, as infielder Haley Coupal hit an RBI double, bringing home outfielder Kaitlyn Kibling to extend the lead to 4-0. Coupal would extend her RBI total to nine by crossing home plate herself after infielder Savannah Ring hit a double, extending Ring’s hitting streak to four games. It was her seventh RBI this season, making the score 5-0 Huskies after the first two innings.
Connecticut stayed hot on offense in the fourth inning, with three runs on five hits. Sanden brought in another run as an RBI double brought in outfielder Aziah James. The bases loaded up for infielder Taylor Zatyk. She took advantage of her opportunity, driving two runs as she hit a double to left center, which brings her RBI total to eight.
The Huskies won Friday’s game, shutting out the Pirates 8-0.
While everyone else on campus left for break, UConn stayed right in Storrs to complete the three-game series. The series concluded with a doubleheader on Sunday, where the two Big East foes split the games.
The first game began scorelessly, but it nearly wasn’t as Seton Hall pitcher Kelsey Carr was able to strand runners at second and third in the second inning.
The Pirates’ offense rewarded Carr as two players on bases in the top of the third inning resulted in a wild pitch that allowed Ashly Colonnetta to cross the plate to make it 1-0 Seton Hall.
Hope Jenkins came in and got out of a bases-loaded jam, and then sat down all three batters in her next inning.
The Huskies came out of that half of the inning with some energy, putting two runners in scoring position. However, Connecticut would have both of them left on base as they were scoreless through four innings.
Olivia Gilbert extended Seton Hall’s lead with a two-run shot to left field in the sixth inning, allowing Marisa Pla to cross home plate as well.
Zatyk would have yet another productive day, driving in UConn’s only run on an RBI single, driving in infielder Rosie Garcia to cut the deficit to 3-1.
However, that would be the end of the action for the first game as the Pirates picked up their first win in Big East play.
UConn got back to their winning ways later that day, with the scoring opening in the first inning.
Ring continued to contribute in the series with a single to center field, driving in outfielder Lexi Hastings to get out to a 1-0 start.
The third game of the series was a mixture of the first two games as Seton Hall dominated the second inning offensively.
With the bases loaded, Andrea Perez took a walk, bringing in Abby Wingo to score to even the game at one run each.
Colonnetta reached on a fielder’s choice and despite Hannah Alexander being thrown out at third, Jessica Muniz was able to score.
The third inning and the top of the fourth went scoreless, including pitcher Meghan O’Neil retiring the side in the latter inning.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Zatyk continued to stay hot on offense, driving in catcher Grace Jenkins and utility player Giuliana Abruscato home to retake the lead.
It was back and forth once again as the Hall had three unanswered scoring plays. Carr doubled to left center field which brought Colonnetta to tie the game at three runs. Perez reached first base on an error, allowing Taylor Soanes to cross home plate as the Pirates took a 4-3 lead. That lead would extend to 5-3 with Alexander scoring off a bases-loaded walk by Lela Allen.
It would be all UConn in the sixth inning, as infielder Makenzie Mason (Jr.) doubled to bring Grace Jenkins in to score. Mason would cross home plate, along with Zatyk as Garcia hit a three-run bomb to left field, giving the Huskies a 7-5 lead.
James singled on a bunt then advanced to second on an error, which allowed Kibling to score.
Hastings came in to score off a single by Ring, making the score 9-5 in favor of Connecticut.
James would eventually come all the way around to score off bases loaded walk by Garcia.
UConn would get the series victory, winning the third game 11-5.
The Huskies’ spring break trip will be to Providence, Rhode Island next weekend as they face the Providence College Friars in a three-game series.