JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The UConn softball team pulled a complete-180 on Saturday, doing all of the things it couldn't on Friday, on its way to a doubleheader sweep of Jacksonville State and Jacksonville in the River City Leadoff at the Pruitt Softball Complex.
Sophomore Kiwi McDaniel led the Huskies (2-2) with four hits on the day, including a 3-for-3 effort against the Dolphins in the second game. UConn won 7-4 against the Gamecocks and 7-0 over host Jacksonville.
In addition to eight different players recording multi-hit days, UConn's pitching stood above the rest, not allowing a single earned run in 14 innings of work. Led by junior Jill Stockley's complete-game effort in game two, the Huskies racked up 13 strikeouts and allowed just five hits all day.
"They were definitely a lot more relaxed today. I think it took them a day to get settled in and get going, sometimes that happens with a young group," said head coach Jen McIntyre. "The mound was outstanding today. Our pitchers did a really good job in both games and the offense came alive."
UConn plays the tournament finale on Sunday morning against Army at 10 a.m., looking to finish the weekend above .500.
-- UConn Softball (@UConnSoftball) February 10, 2018
Game 1 - UConn 7, Jacksonville State 4
Sophomores Ashlee Dahman and Devon Casazza recorded multi-hit games for UConn, as the Huskies used a combination of timely hitting and pitching to push its way past Jacksonville State in the first game on Saturday, 7-4.
The pitching trio of senior Chelsea Eckert, sophomore Katie Koshes and freshman Marybeth Olson tallied nine strikeouts in the game, allowing four unearned runs and just three hits as a staff. Koshes (1-0) picked up the win and Olson got the save (1).
Right from the start, the Huskies were patient at the plate while JSU pitchers struggled to find the strike zone. UConn batters drew nine walks, with the lead-off batter reaching base in each inning against the Gamecocks.
Despite leaving 14 runners on base, UConn capitalized on enough opportunities to stay ahead of JSU - with Dahman's two-RBI double in the sixth inning providing some insurance for a previous 5-4 lead. The Huskies left the bases loaded three times.
The Huskies scored in each of the first four innings, jumping out to leads of 2-0 and 4-2 by the start of the fourth. The Gamecocks tied the game in the fourth after an RBI hit by pinch hitter Jada Terry off Eckert.
In the bottom of the fourth, senior Emma Stanley drove in McDaniel on a single to retake the lead for UConn. Koshes and Olson combined to pitch 3.1 scoreless relief innings; the freshman struck-out five with no walks in 2.2 innings.
Casazza went 2-for-3 with two RBI, including a walk with the bases loaded in the second inning. She got UConn on the board in the first, hitting a single up the middle that scored freshman Reese Guevarra from second.
-- UConn Softball (@UConnSoftball) February 11, 2018
Game 2 - UConn 7, Jacksonville 0
McDaniel went 3-for-3 at the dish, including a two-out double that drove in two runs to lead UConn's offense in a 7-0 win over Jacksonville in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader.
Redshirt freshman Olivia Sappington contributed two RBI of her own, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Stockley (1-1) didn't need much help on Saturday, as she pitched a complete-game shutout - allowing just two hits and striking out four.
UConn tallied 10 hits in the game, an early season-high, with seven different players accounting for at least one. Leading 3-0 heading into the seventh, it was a four-run effort in the final frame that put the game away for the Huskies.
Sophomore Chloe Kerns put UConn on the board in the second inning, coming up with a clutch two-out RBI single to drive in senior Emma Stanley to make it 1-0. In the third, Sappington drove a deep double to center, scoring Guevarra, and doubling UConn's lead.
Sophomore Kelli Bates posted an RBI groundout in the fourth, with alert base running from freshman Hollis Wivell to push the lead to 3-0. In her second start in two days, Stockley allowed only six batters on base for JU - two walks, two hits, one error and one hit by pitch.
The Huskies put together a four-run inning in the seventh, capped-off by McDaniel's two-RBI extra-bagger to seal the win and doubleheader sweep.
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