Feb. 21, 2014
CLEARWATER, Fla. – A five-run sixth inning proved too great a deficit as UConn softball dropped its first game of the season to Hofstra, 7-3, in the opening matchup of the NFCA Lead-Off Classic on Friday afternoon in Florida. The game served as a season opener for both squads, with UConn falling to 0-1 on the season and Hofstra beginning the year with a 1-0 start.
Rookie Kayla Doty earned the start for the Huskies allowing two runs in 1.2 innings. Hofstra’s Chloe Fitzgerald gave the Pride an early lead after singling to get on base, stealing second and advancing home on a double. The Huskies responded in the bottom of the inning as Lexi Gifford (Natick, Mass.) drew the first walk of the year to get on base. Back-to-back singles by Emily O’Donnell (Niskayuna, N.Y.) and Alyson Ambler (Walla Walla, Wash.) brought Gifford to third and a Jacklyn Dubois (Mt. Vernon, N.H.) sacrifice fly out brought Gifford home to tie the game at one apiece.
The Pride responded with a run of their own in the second inning to take the 2-1 lead, but again the Huskies rallied in the bottom of the third to knot the score, 2-2. The trio of Ambler, O’Donnell and Dubois struck again, as O’Donnell singled down the left field line to reach base and advanced to third on Ambler’s double. Dubois stepped up to the plate and delivered a single up the middle for her second RBI of the game.
Connecticut surged ahead for the 3-2 lead in the subsequent inning, with Valerie Sadowl (Horsham, Pa.) recording her first home run of the season on a solo shot down the left line to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Taylor Townsend (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Maddy Schiappa (Bedford, N.H.) reached base but the Huskies were unable to bring them home.
Hofstra’s bats proved too strong for the Huskies in the sixth inning, recording five runs on six hits against Lauren Duggan (Norwood, mass.) to take the decisive 7-3 lead. The Pride’s Maggie Hawkins hit a two-run home run and Caryn Bailey took Duggan deep on a solo homer to put the game out of reach. Katelyn Callahan (Queensbury, N.Y.) took over on the Connecticut hill for the final inning, getting the final three outs without allowing a run.
Freshman centerfielder Taylor Townsend posted a strong showing at the plate in her first collegiate game, going 3-for-3 with a trio of singles in her first career start. Emily O’Donnell also logged three hits, while Jaclyn Dubois passed the Huskies with a pair of RBI’s.
Inclement weather interrupted the Huskies’ later game against DePaul , which has been postponed and is scheduled to resume tomorrow morning at 10am. Connecticut will also face Charleston and UMass tomorrow afternoon.