March 22, 2009
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -
Five homeruns helped the University of Connecticut softball team to a sweep of Seton Hall for their first two BIG EAST wins of the season. The Huskies (11-8, 2-2 BIG EAST) won their first game of the day, 4-3 but blew out the Pirates (10-13, 1-3 BIG EAST) 9-2 in game two thanks to a six-run sixth inning.
Sophomore Julianne Towers (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) had the most hits of any Husky on the day in her 3-for-7 effort knocking out a double and two homeruns for an overwhelming 1.429 slugging percentage. Towers' two homeruns was a career high and brought her season total to a team leading five.
UConn was the first team to get on the board in game one, although it didn't happen until the fourth inning. The fourth inning has been beneficial to the Huskies this season as they have scored 19 runs in their 19 games. Senior Jillian Ortega (Aberdeen, N.J.) was the first Husky to get on base with a walk and just one batter later was brought home after a homerun by fellow classmate Danielle Del Ponte (Tewksbury, Mass.). The homer was Del Ponte's second of the season.
A couple of errors by the Pirates helped to score the final run of the inning. Freshman Amy DeLuca (Bordentown, N.J.) then got on base after centerfielder Jeanette Ragucci dropped a fly ball. She advanced to second when senior Sarah Neuschwander (Chugiak, Alaska) walked and went on to third on a fielder's choice that got Neuschwander out at second. DeLuca crossed the plate on the next play, an error by the third baseman Christina Esposito, to boost the UConn lead to three.
After Seton Hall got a run back in the fourth inning, the Huskies added another one on in the top of the fifth when Towers smashed her first homerun of the day. Towers' homer proved to be the game-winner after UConn let up two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. But junior Tricia Sullivan
(New Bedford, Mass.) buckled down striking out the last two batters of the inning to add to her season-high 10 strikeouts and earn her eighth victory of the season.
In game two, the Huskies scored a couple of unearned runs in the first inning as their strong offense continued. Towers got on base for the second time on the day on a walk and moved up as Ortega got to first after an error by the Seton Hall shortstop Brittany Schillizzi. Both Towers and Ortega came home on a single through the right side by DeLuca whose two RBIs were her sixth and seventh of the season.
They added another in the third when Del Ponte blasted her second homerun of the doubleheader to help the Huskies to a three-run lead. Seton Hall got a couple back in the fourth inning but the strong pitching by freshman Jessie Stavola (Montauk, N.Y.), who threw her longest game of the season (6.2 innings), shut them down for the rest of the game earning her first collegiate victory of the year.
The sixth inning brought the most offense of the day though when the Huskies batted around the order for the first time this season scoring six runs. Towers started off the offense hitting her second homerun of the series. Senior Micah Truax (South Glens Falls, N.Y.) then singled to the shortstop and moved to second on a single to center by Ortega. Del Ponte reached base on a fielder's choice moving up Ortega and scoring Truax.
Neuschwander kept the offense going getting the second single to centerfield of the inning scoring Ortega. But it was the three-run homerun by junior Justyne Roy (North Dighton, Mass.) that brought home the rest of the runs of the inning. The three-run shot was Roy's first of the season and third of her career and blew open the game for the Huskies as they cruised to their 9-2 victory.
The Huskies have a busy week ahead of them as they are back in action on Wednesday at Sacred Heart for a doubleheader that will begin at 2:30 p.m. They will continue on to play at Boston College on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. before coming home for their first home games of the year when they take on DePaul and Syracuse on Saturday and Sunday.