Baseball: Huskies prepare for first Big East battle with St. John’s 

UConn Baseball starts off strong with a 7-3 win against UMass in this season’s home opener at Elliot Ballpark on Wednesday, Mar. 22, 2023. The Huskies will return this weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Mar. 24 to 26 at home against Rutgers University. Photo by Izzi Barton/Daily Campus.

Baseball in New York has only just begun for the UConn Huskies. 

After an upsetting loss that saw the Hook C lead by as much as 11 only to lose by a score of 19-14, they need a big bounceback series especially after the run that they’ve had to start the season. It’s gotten them to a No. 19 ranking by D1 Baseball and while their loss at Robertson Field may hurt, their confidence can’t wane. It’s critical that the Huskies stand tall just as they did when they reached a winning streak as long as six games this season. 

Now, the Huskies will have the opportunity to get back on track with their first Big East matchup of the season against a 16-10 St. John’s roster, who will also have their first game against a ranked opponent in 2023. The Red Storm’s schedule has looked modest in comparison to a Hook C schedule that included the likes of No. 9 Boston College and Rutgers. While they prepare to take on a ranked UConn team that’s looking to show their strength once again, it nonetheless will be a tough battle for them. 

With St. John’s will look to grab some runs off this UConn pitching staff, they’ll need to have the weapons to do so and it’s certainly been shown thus far that they’ve got a strong offensive team. Just ahead of UConn’s Dominic Freeberger, Aaron Mann leads the entire Big East in batting average with a .392 mark and a 1.005 OPS. While Freeberger may be the tougher out in terms of what he brings to the table, St. John’s graduate infielder should certainly pose a challenge to this UConn pitching staff. 

The team’s lineup remains deep with options like Tate Ballestro and Marty Higgins, who both are hitting above .320 with 20 RBI’s or more. That’s not a friendly sight for UConn’s arms who are not far off from their performance against Columbia. It’s imperative that they look to regain their mojo in this series and a strong performance against a roster riddled with impressive offense should do the trick. 

The Huskies too will look to take a crack at this St. John’s pitching staff that’s looked well, other than a poor April 1 performance against William & Mary that saw them give up 15 runs that day. This time, it’s no April Fools’ joke and they’ll have to contain a roster that’s hitting well from the reliable Freeberger to the powerful Ben Huber. 

With it being the first conference series of the season, it’s going to be an important ballgame and an opportunity for both programs to grab their first Big East win of the year as teams like Georgetown and Villanova have already had their first taste of conference action in 2023. Thursday remains more than another opportunity for the Hook C to get back in the win column. It’s a chance to show a conference opponent for the first time this season that UConn is exactly as advertised. 

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