STILLWATER, Okla. - Despite a 10 strikeout performance on the mound from freshman righty Chelsea Eckert, the University of Connecticut softball team fell, 5-2, to Evansville on Sunday morning in the Mizuno Classic Consolation game held at Cowgirl Stadium. The Huskies fall to 6-9 in the 2015 campaign, while Evansville improves to 5-18.
Eckert took the tough-luck loss after allowing five runs (four earned) in 6.1 innings to go along with six walks and a career-best 10 strikeouts. Amanda Blakenship (5-13) earned the win, tossing a complete-game four-hitter.
Both teams traded zeros in the game's first two innings before the Purple Aces jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third, stringing together three hits. The Huskies broke onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth when sophomore 2B Taylor Townsend blasted her first career home run over the right field fence to cut the Evansville lead to 3-1.
The Purple Aces added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Danielle Freeman launched a solo shot to center before the Aces grabbed an unearned run via a two-out Husky error.
Connecticut fought in the seventh, scoring a run. Dominique Pinto led off the inning with a double to () and came around to score after Gifford singled to second. Alyssa Gardea advanced Gifford to third with one down but the Husky shortstop was stranded there after Blakenship got Jacklyn Dubois to fly out to center with the bases loaded to end the game.
Gifford paced the Huskies at the plate, notching her second multi-hit game of the season with two hits in three at-bats. Townsend's homer marked the seventh different Husky player to connect on a long ball this season, matching last season's total.
The Huskies now stand at 3-1 all-time against Evansville and 2-9 when playing in the state of Oklahoma.
Following the tournament's championship game at noon, O'Donnell and Gardea were tabbed to the All-Tournament team.
The team returns to the diamond for its fourth-straight in-season tournament when it heads across the country for the San Diego Classic II set for March 13-15. The Huskies last competed at the San Diego tournament in the 2009 season when they won four of five games.
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