STOCKTON, Calif. - The University of Connecticut softball team fell twice on day one of the 2015 Louisville Slugger Invitational, played in Stockton, Calif. on Friday, March 20. The Huskies dropped an 11-2 six inning contest to Grand Canyon, before falling in the nightcap, 7-1, to Cal St. Northridge. Connecticut moves to 8-16 in the 2015 season and will resume tournament play on Saturday with a pair of games against the Matadors and Pacific.
Game One - vs. Grand Canyon
Senior RHP Lauren Duggan (6-7) got the nod in the tournament opener and took the loss after allowing 11 runs (eight earned) on 12 hits with a pair of strikeouts over 6.0 innings of work. Bailey Bergman (3-0) toss 4.1 innings of one-run ball and grabbed her third win of the season.
The Antelopes jumped on the board first with a four-run first inning, highlighted by a three-run home off the bat of Brianca Bolling. Bolling stuck again in the third inning, leading off the frame with a solo shot to right field to put Grand Canyon up, 5-0. The Antelopes added two more in the fourth, taking advantage of a pair of hits and a Husky error.
UConn answered in the home half of the fourth, scoring its first run of the afternoon after Alyson Ambler scampered home on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 7-1.
Grand Canyon scored one in the fifth and then put three on the board in the sixth inning. The Huskies cut into the Antelope lead in the home half of the sixth when Dominique Pinto crushed a solo home run over the centerfield wall.
The Huskies threatened after Pinto's long ball, putting two on after Lauren Tremblay and Taylor Townsend worked back-to-back walks but Bergmann was able to shut the door, inducing a foul-out to end the game.
Game Two - vs. Cal St. Northridge
Freshman righty Chelsea Eckert (0-4) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits with four strikeouts in 4.1 innings of work. Sophomore RHP Kayla Doty tossed 2.2 innings of relief, surrendering three runs. Brianna Elder (9-3) picked up the win with a complete game, four hit effort for the Matadors.
The Huskies found themselves in an early hole after CSUN scored the game's first run in the second. Tara Kliebenstein delivered a two-out single up the middle to plate Ariana Wassmer and give the Matadors a 1-0 lead.
Senior captain Emily O'Donnell made history in the fourth, moving into the top-10 on UConn's all-time home run list with her 17th long ball. The 3B's leadoff homer marked her third of the 2015 campaign.
Freshman OF Ryne Nakama opened the fifth inning with her first career extra-base hit, sending a double into the right centerfield gap. The Huskies loaded the bases with one down but Elder was able to get out of the jam with a shallow flyout and a strikeout.
The Matadors struck for three more in the sixth, notching three hits, including an RBI double from Taylor Nate.
The Huskies return to the diamond on Saturday, March 21 when they play a rematch against the Matadors at 3:15 p.m. ET before challenging Pacific at 7:45 p.m. ET. Follow @UConnSoftball on Twitter for in-game updates.
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