STORRS, Conn. – The UConn softball team nearly pulled-off a seventh inning comeback on Wednesday, but it was Fairleigh Dickinson that held on for the 7-6 win on a cold, rainy day at the Burrill Family Field.
The Huskies (15-23, 1-7 American) trailed by four runs heading into the last inning and plated three, but came up one hit short with the bases loaded when junior Ryne Nakama grounded out to the pitcher.
Senior pitcher Kayla Doty (1-1) picked up the loss in the circle, surrendering six runs on six hits in three innings of work. Junior Chelsea Eckert tossed four innings in relief, allowing one run on three hits while striking out five.
Five different Huskies recorded hits, including junior Emma Stanley and her two-RBI single as part of a three-run first inning for UConn. Redshirt senior Valerie Sadowl, sophomore Kelli Bates and freshman Devon Casazza each added an RBI.
UConn jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first off FDU starter Erica Johnson, following Stanley’s single and freshman Chloe Kerns scoring on a throwing error.
The Knights answered in the second inning, however, with the big blow coming on a three-run homer by Ana Hayes – putting the Huskies behind, 4-3. Only freshman Carli Cutler reached base for UConn between the second and fourth frames.
FDU added three more runs in the fourth, as Summer Mendoza knocked in a pair of runs with a single. Mendoza was one of three Knights’ players to record a multi-hit performance.
In both the fifth and sixth innings, the Huskies left two runners on base – unable to chip away at the 7-3 deficit. It wasn’t until the seventh that UConn started its rally, as cold rain fell from the sky.
The Huskies loaded the bases and scored runs when Sadowl was hit by a pitch, freshman Devon Casazza produced a single, and Bates walked. With the bases full and two outs, Nakama grounded out to Johnson – who was taken out in the seventh, but re-entered after just three batters.
UConn stranded nine base runners in the game, while the Knights left six on.
Cutler went 1-for-2 in the game with two walks, improving her team-high batting average to .343. It is the sixth time that the Huskies have lost by one run this season.
UConn hosts Tulsa in a three-game set over the weekend, as American Athletic Conference play continues. The schedule is Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at noon – all games at the Burrill Family Field.