CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – After dropping two games on Opening Day, it was senior leadership that led the UConn softball team to a doubleheader sweep on Sunday against IUPUI and Chattanooga.
Redshirt senior Valerie Sadowl had a monster day – going 5-for-7 at the dish with a home run and five RBI – to lead the Huskies (2-2) to a 7-2 win against the Jaguars and 5-1 victory over the Mocs.
Hitting out of the leadoff spot in both games was senior Taylor Townsend, who reached base six times on Sunday. She scored three total runs, giving the Huskies a starting point in each inning.
As much as offense played a role on Sunday, with three different freshmen hitting their first-career home runs, pitching was crucial. Sophomore Jill Stockley earned a complete-game win against Chattanooga.
Game 1 – UConn 7, IUPUI 2
Timely hitting and pitching helped the Huskies to their first win of the 2017 season, as senior Valerie Sadowl went 3-for-4 with three RBI in a 7-2 victory over IUPUI in the third game of the Chattanooga Challenge.
Junior Chelsea Eckert and freshman Katie Koshes combined for 12 strikeouts against the Jaguars, as Eckert picked up her first win of the season. Koshes surrendered just one hit in 2.2 innings of relief.
It was another big game for UConn freshmen, as Carli Cutler went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Devon Casazza and Ashlee Dahman each hit a solo home run in the second inning, helping the Huskies fight back from a 2-0 hole.
With freshman Kiwi McDaniel going 1-for-4 with a double and run scored, the first-year players combined for five hits and three RBI against IUPUI.
Facing a two-run deficit after the first inning, Casazza and Dahman each hit the first home run of their respective careers – tying the game, 2-2. Sadowl then gave UConn a lead in the third, smacking a two-out RBI single with runners on second and third, making it 4-2.
Eckert found her groove on the mound, keeping the Jaguars scoreless in the last 3.1 innings of her outing. Koshes took over in the fifth, coming up clutch when she recorded a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the frame.
Looking for insurance in the seventh, Cutler and Sadowl both had two-out RBI hits – with a double by McDaniel in between – to tack on three more runs for a 7-2 final. Koshes faced just four batters to end the game.
Game 2 – UConn 5, Chattanooga 1
In her first standout performance of the season, sophomore pitcher Jill Stockley had a complete-game, one-run effort in a 5-1 win against Chattanooga – capping-off the doubleheader sweep for the Huskies.
Stockley (1-1) allowed one run and scattered five hits, while striking out two. She did not walk one batter, while stranding seven Mocs on base.
Sadowl continued her hot streak, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored to lead the UConn offense. Her solo home run in the fourth inning was shortly followed by Chloe Kerns’ solo blast, giving UConn a permanent lead.
It was Sadowl’s sacrifice fly in the first that put the Huskies ahead with a 1-0 lead. After Chattanooga tied the game in the bottom of the second, it was two UConn home runs that made it a 3-1 game.
As Stockley continued to deal in the circle, the Huskies tacked on two more runs in the fifth – including an RBI groundout from Casazza. A 5-1 lead was plenty for Stockley, who put the Mocs down in order in the seventh inning.
Townsend joined Sadowl with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-2 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot. She had a double and two walks, reaching base four times in the game.
UConn travels next weekend to Boca Raton, Fla. to play in the FAU Tournament. The Huskies will play doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday.