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PALO ALTO, Calif. – Due to the brilliant pitching of freshman Katie Koshes, the UConn softball team picked up a season-defining 2-1 win over Grand Canyon on Sunday afternoon on the Stanford campus.
Along with Koshes came a timely hit from sophomore Kelli Bates, helping the Huskies (6-10) past the Antelopes in the first game of the day. UConn lost the second game to Lehigh in eight innings, 2-1.
Bates and redshirt senior Valerie Sadowl each had three hits on the final day of the Stanford Invitational, while the UConn pitching staff combined for a 0.98 ERA against Grand Canyon and Lehigh.
Sadowl went 2-for-3 against the Mountain Hawks, her team-leading seventh multi-hit game of the season.
Game 1 – UConn 2, Grand Canyon 1
In UConn’s biggest win of the season to date, the Huskies relied on the stellar pitching of Koshes to lead them in an impressive 2-1 victory over Grand Canyon (23-4) in the first game on Sunday evening.
Koshes (1-2) hurled a complete-game one run effort, scattering six hits while striking out five and walking a pair. She stranded seven runners on base, including a runner at third in the seventh inning that would have tied the game.
In her first two starts this season, Koshes hadn’t received almost any run support – just two runs in 12.1 innings of work. There wasn’t much on Sunday either, until Bates came up clutch for the Huskies.
In the fifth inning, Bates smacked an RBI single – which plated Ally Hernandez, and Ashlee Dahman on an error – to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead. Bates picked up her third RBI of the season and none more important than this one.
As for Koshes, she came up clutch in multiple spots. Most notably, Grand Canyon had the bases loaded in the first inning, but the freshman lefty kept it a scoreless ballgame. The Antelopes scored a run in the sixth, making it a 2-1 game.
In the seventh, a throwing error by Koshes put a GCU runner on third with just one out. However, a strikeout and pop out ended the game – giving Koshes her first-career win and the Huskies a huge victory.
Five other Huskies recorded hits, as UConn mounted just enough offense against Grand Canyon’s Mariah Valencia. Bates was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Game 2 – Lehigh 2, UConn 1 (F/8)
Missed opportunities for both UConn and Lehigh highlighted the second game on Sunday, but it was the Mountain Hawks who came out on top in eight innings after an RBI single from Reva Alderman ended the contest.
In what became a pitchers’ duel, runs were at a premium as freshman Carli Cutler allowed just one run and five hits in 3.1 innings. In four innings of relief, sophomore Jill Stockley surrendered one run on four hits.
Both teams combined to leave 21 runners on base (UConn 9, Lehigh 12), resulting in a 1-1 tie heading into the eighth inning. Freshman Kiwi McDaniel was thrown out at home in the top half, while Lehigh was able to punch a run across for the walk-off win.
Sadowl and freshman Chloe Kerns each had two hits off Lehigh starter Christine Campbell, but the Huskies were unable to take advantage of their seven hits throughout the game.
UConn’s pitching and defense continued to provide opportunities for the offense. In the third and fourth innings, Cutler and Stockley stranded the bases loaded. In the fifth inning, McDaniel threw out a runner at home from shortstop to keep the game tied.
Campbell allowed one run on seven hits in eight innings against UConn, picking up the win. Stockley (2-5) got the loss in Sunday’s second game.
The Huskies head to Honolulu, Hawaii for the Rainbow Wahine Classic from March 14-18. First, they will play Hawaii on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. (ET).