GREENVILLE, N.C. – The UConn softball team had several opportunities to generate runs on Saturday, but stranding nine runners on base doomed the Huskies in a 2-1 loss to ECU in the series finale.
Junior pitcher Chelsea Eckert (1-2) allowed just two runs on three hits in six innings of work, but the Huskies (14-22, 1-7 American) punched across just one run in the loss. Junior Ryne Nakama and freshman Chloe Kerns each had two hits.
Freshman Carli Cutler went 1-for-1 with three walks, boosting her team-high batting average to .340. Sophomore Kelli Bates earned UConn’s only RBI through a sacrifice fly in the fifth, scoring Nakama.
In the seventh inning, Nakama reached base with a lead-off single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Kiwi McDaniel. UConn was just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position though, as the tying run was left at second after junior Emma Stanley flied out to end the game.
ECU’s Lydia Ritchie earned the win, allowing one run on five hits in a four-inning relief appearance of Mary Williams.
The only blemish on Eckert’s outing was a two-run homer surrendered to Tate McClellan in the fourth inning, putting the Huskies behind 2-0. Eckert stranded four ECU runners throughout the game.
UConn’s best opportunity came in the fifth inning. Following Bates’ RBI sac fly, the Huskies had runners on first and third with one out. However, Stanley and senior Taylor Townsend both flied out to end the threat.
McDaniel added a single in the loss, one of four UConn players to record a hit off Williams and Ritchie.
One bright spot for the Huskies was that lead-off hitters went 3-for-7 in the game for UConn, giving the offense a starting point in nearly half of the innings played.
The Huskies host UMass on Tuesday and Fairleigh Dickinson on Wednesday at the Burrill Family Field. First pitch on both days is 4 p.m. (ET). It starts a five-game homestand with Tulsa visiting next weekend.
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