Softball: Huskies take series from Friars on the road 


Connecticut played its first road conference series of the season visiting the Providence Friars this past weekend. Since rejoining the Big East, UConn boasted a 5-1 record versus Providence coming into the weekend and looked to continue its success.  

Game one was all UConn, with the Huskies winning with a score of 6-1. Pitcher Payton Kinney collected her third win of the season with a six-inning effort in which she struck out 11 batters. Providence’s Tori Grifone pitched a complete game but was tagged with five earned runs and eight walks. Scoring started with a Savannah Ring single in the third inning to bring in Aziah James, followed by a Makenzie Mason double which grew the lead to two runs. Connecticut added on to its lead with two more runs in the fourth. Rosie Garcia scored on a Friars error and Lexi Hastings later scored on a groundout to bring the lead to 4-0. Providence scratched a run across the board on a UConn error, but the Huskies extended their lead on a James bases-loaded single in the seventh inning, scoring Giuliana Abruscato and Rosie Garcia. James went four for four and collected two RBI’s. As a team, the Huskies knocked ten hits and walked eight times. 

Game two came down to the very end in which a late Providence score handed a 3-2 victory over Connecticut. Pitcher Riley Quirk secured her first win of the season in another complete game for the Friars, walking four and striking out two in seven innings pitched. Megan O’Neil earned the loss for the Huskies, allowing three earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched in which she gave up eight walks and struck out six. Julia Renny put Providence up in the fourth inning with a single to centerfield that plated pinch runner Elisa Smith. James came up big again for Connecticut in the top of the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Kaitlyn Kibling. An error by Providence left fielder Gabriella Lee allowed Lexi Hastings to score on the same play, making it a 2-1 lead for UConn. Now down a run in the sixth inning, second basemen Emma Douma had the opportunity to give the Friars the lead and she delivered. Douma doubled to center, bringing in teammates Elysia Cunnigan and Rachael Petrarca to bring the Friars in front 3-2.  

With the weekend series split at one a piece, game three would determine who left with the better head-to-head record, and UConn came to play.  Shortstop Jana Sanden gave UConn the lead in the first inning on a single to center field that brought in Hastings. Sanden would strike out again with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Aziah James, adding to make it a 2-0 lead for UConn. Providence responded in the third with two runs of their own on back-to-back home runs from Catcher Lea Kosinski and Pitcher Tori Grifone. UConn kicked it into the next gear after the game was tied. A Hastings three-run home run in the fourth inning put the Huskies back in front of the Friars and they never looked back. Hastings added two more runs in the sixth inning, this time with a double to left center field scoring Haley Coupal and Savannah Ring. Grace Jenkins padded the lead even more with a two-run single in the sixth that brought in James and Hastings. Even with a seven-run lead, UConn wasn’t done pouring it on against Providence. With the bases loaded in the seventh inning, James singled to advance first baseman Taylor Zatyk, extending the lead to 10-2. UConn’s scoring ended with a Grace Jenkins flyout to centerfield that brought in Haley Coupal. The Friars brought in one last run to bring the score to 11-3 and that’s how the weekend would end. This marked the third time already this season that UConn scored double-digits, and the second time against Big East opponents as they did so against Seton Hall last week. Hope Jenkins picked up her seventh win of the season with a six-inning performance. She allowed just two runs and struck out six batters. Riley Quirk gets the loss for the Friars with six earned runs in two innings.  

The Friars (9-13) will face off with Stonehill in a doubleheader this Wednesday, then continue the Big East gauntlet with a weekend series against the Butler Bulldogs. Connecticut (14-8) is scheduled to take on Boston College in a game this Tuesday in Storrs, then, they take on the Georgetown Hoyas at home this upcoming weekend. Connecticut’s games are all available for streaming on the new service UCONN+.  

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