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CONWAY, S.C. – Freshman Kiwi McDaniel came up big for the UConn softball team on Saturday, going 3-for-6 with two home runs, four RBI and a pair of runs scored in a doubleheader split on the first day of the Coastal Carolina Invitational.
The Huskies (4-6) cruised past Northern Kentucky in six frames, 11-3, while falling short of a late-game comeback in a 2-0 loss to host Coastal Carolina.
Eight different players recorded multiple hits on Saturday in both games combined, as UConn produced a season-best performance in game one against the Norse.
Sophomore Ally Hernandez contributed three RBI against Northern Kentucky, while freshman Devon Casazza cranked her third home run of the season. Sophomore pitcher Jill Stockley led the way in game two.
Game 1 – UConn 11, Northern Kentucky 3 (F/6)
McDaniel fueled the explosive bats of UConn in the first game on Saturday, hitting a pair of two-run homers as part of the Huskies’ season-high of 15 hits, to lead the way in a convincing 11-3 win in six innings.
Casazza added a two-run blast of her own – her third of the season – to help cap-off a seven-run inning in the sixth, allowing UConn to win via an eight-run mercy rule. Hernandez went 2-for-3 with three RBI in the victory.
Freshman Carli Cutler picked up her first collegiate win, throwing four innings in the circle and recording four strikeouts. She scattered three runs on five hits, walking just one. Chelsea Eckert pitched two scoreless frames in relief.
Trailing 2-0 after the first inning, the Huskies plated four in the second with help from the first of McDaniel’s round-trippers, taking a 4-2 lead. Hernandez and Emma Stanley added RBI hits in the inning.
The Norse added a run in the fifth, cutting the lead to 4-3, before UConn exploded for seven runs in the sixth. Homers by McDaniel and Casazza, combined with RBI singles from Hernandez and Taylor Smith, formed a seven-hit inning.
It is the first win for the Huskies this season in six innings, as a season-best seven UConn batters posted multi-hit games.
Game 2 – Coastal Carolina 2, UConn 0
Stockley pitched six strong innings, allowing just two runs on six hits against a high-powered Coastal Carolina offense, but the necessary run support was not there in a 2-0 defeat in the second game on Saturday.
Cutler went 2-for-3 at the dish, the only Husky to record a multi-hit game against Coastal Carolina pitcher Taylor Rahach. McDaniel, Smith, and sophomore Kelli Bates had the other hits for UConn.
Down 2-0 in the seventh inning, UConn got two runners on base – resulting in a pitching change for the Chanticleers. With two outs and runners on second and third, Hernandez struck-out to end the game.
Prior to the last-inning threat, the Huskies had limited opportunities, leaving just three runners on base throughout the first six innings. It wasn’t until the seventh that UConn got a runner to third base.
Stockley (2-3) took the loss, but kept her team in the game with a strong performance. She has a 1.63 ERA in a team-high 30 innings pitched this season.
The Huskies play another doubleheader in the Coastal Carolina Invitational on Sunday, playing North Dakota at 9:30 a.m. and Northern Kentucky at 12 p.m.
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