April 7, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - The Huskies took the first game of a doubleheader from Villanova by a score of 7-6, improving their record to 16-14 overall and 5-3 in the BIG EAST. It was the sixth straight home win for UConn, and the fifth straight conference loss for the Wildcats. Villanova moved to 25-11 overall.
Villanova got on the board early with a 1-0 lead before UConn freshman slugger Emily O'Donnell(Niskayuna, N.Y.) answered with a solo blast to left in the bottom of the first, her eighth home run of the year. Villanova would not be outdone, as freshman Beth Smetana hit a solo home run of her own in the top of the second, recapturing the lead.
The scoring continued in the bottom of the third as the Huskies took the lead for good. Three singles and a deep sacrifice fly by junior Kim Silva(Cheshire, Conn.) put UConn up 4-2 in front of their home crowd.
UConn brought in senior pitcher Ali Adelman(San Diego, Calif.) in the top of the third in an attempt to slow down the game's offensive pace. Adelman did her job, pitching 4.1 innings and allowing one earned runs on five hits (W, 2-2).
In the bottom of the fourth, the Huskies tacked on a few insurance runs. After Silva and senior Amy DeLuca (Bordentown, N.J.) led off the inning with a pair of singles, sophomore Audrey Grinnell(Saco, Maine) laid down an impressive sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Leadoff hitter Jen Ward followed with a two-run single to right-center, giving UConn a 6-2 lead.
Two batters later the Huskies scored again, and Villanova Head Coach Maria DiBernardi had seen enough of starter Molly Manning (L, 10-4). Kaity Sitzman took over on the mound, inheriting a five-run deficit. Sitzman was able to stop the bleeding as she tossed a scoreless 2.1 innings, but it was too late for the Wildcats.
Villanova threatened in each of the final three innings, but outstanding defense by UConn halted their rallies. In the fifth, the Wildcats had runners on first and second with nobody out. A fielder's choice followed by an impressive double play from junior Brittany Duclos(Mystic, Conn.) to Grinnell got the Huskies out of the inning.
In the sixth, Villanova scored a quick run and had two runners on when Briana Fujii doubled to left. A solid throw by senior Amy Vaughan(Somerset, Mass.) froze the runners, saving a run and causing a pickle that ended the inning.
Finally, in the seventh, the Wildcats were able to get to Adelman and narrow the lead to one run before junior Kiki Saveriano(Lexington, Mass.) came in to close the game for the Huskies (S, 1).
The final game of the three-game series will begin shortly from Burrill Family Field in Storrs.