By Maggie McEvilly
It is clear that UConn baseball backed up their recent top 25 ranking after their performance last weekend in Louisiana. The Huskies swept Saturday’s doubleheader against the Lions to clinch a key road series win.
In game one of the twin bill, the Huskies came back from a one-run deficit in the ninth inning to pull out a 7-6 victory. The team carried momentum into game two defeating the Lions 6-4 and moving their record to 4-2 on the year.
Last season, after sweeping Memphis in early April, UConn moved into the Top 25 but quickly lost its next four games. It seems as though the team was more prepared to move forward this year, having learned what it ‘s like to have a target on their backs.
“I think we’re definitely more experienced this year because we saw how it affected us last year,” first baseman Chris Winkel said. “We just need to realize that the rankings don’t mean anything to us, we still prepare the same way, we still go out there and play as hard as we can regardless so we’re still going to go out and play the best game we can and I think we learned from it, if anything.”
The Huskies have not paid much attention to the polls, but instead focused on the day-to-day process in order to improve each day.
“The polls don’t mean anything to us until the season’s over,” pitcher Mason Feole said. “We don’t think about it, but other teams might think about it and hopefully they beat themselves trying to do too much against us.
Head coach Jim Penders seems to agree with his players, concentrating more on the mentality of this group and their willingness to block these distractions.
“I jokingly said to the guys that the only polls we care are Stefanski, Rajkowski and foul [poles],” he said. “And then the only poll that truly matters is the one that comes out in July at the end of the season. It doesn’t change anything we’re doing day to day, it just means we have a bigger target on our backs.”
UConn baseball will hope to keep this momentum going when they head to the University of North Florida this weekend, beginning on Friday night at 6:05 p.m. against the Ospreys.
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