MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The UConn softball team split a doubleheader with Memphis on Saturday afternoon at the Tigers Softball Complex, bouncing back from a loss in game one to dominate in game two – wrapping-up its fifth American Athletic Conference series this season.
The Huskies (17-30, 3-12 American) went from losing the first game, 8-0 in six innings, to rolling in the second, 10-0 in five, as the doubleheader with Memphis (33-16, 8-7 American) saw both extremes. The victory earned UConn its first road conference win of the season.
“I think we just loosened up and went after it,” said head coach Jen McIntyre about the adjustments between games on Saturday. “We said all along that hitting is contagious. There was an incredible response in the second game in a short turnaround.”
Junior outfielder Kelli Bates accounted for four hits on Saturday, while freshman Briana Marcelino added three hits – including a three-run blast in game two, her second homer of the season. Five different players had RBI against the Tigers.
“Fortunately for us, everything went our way in the second game,” said McIntyre. “We had our breaks and took advantage. Kelli did a great job setting the table (for us) at the bottom of the lineup for when the top of the order came through.”
UConn returns to action on Tuesday when Bryant visits Burrill Family Field for a 3 p.m. start. The game was originally scheduled for earlier this month, but was postponed due to inclement weather.
— UConn Softball (@UConnSoftball) April 21, 2018
Game 1 – Memphis 8, UConn 0 (F/6)
Briana Marcelino and Kelli Bates each had a hit for UConn in the first game on Saturday, as the Memphis bats broke out late against junior pitcher Jill Stockley with a six-run sixth inning to earn an 8-0 win over UConn.
The Huskies had several hard hits to the outfield, but the ball kept finding Memphis outfielders – stunting their offensive output against Memphis starter Molly Smith. Stockley (7-13) went 5.1 innings, allowing four earned runs (five total) on five hits while striking out four.
Much like Friday, neither team scored until the fourth inning, when the Tigers took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly from Brooke Lee. In the fifth, Memphis made it 2-0 with an RBI hit from Delaney Smith.
In the sixth, Memphis strung together three singles, a walk and an error to set the stage for Tyler Johnson – who hit a grand slam off freshman pitcher Marybeth Olson, giving the Tigers an 8-0 win in six innings.
UConn’s best scoring chance came in the first inning when it loaded the bases against Smith, setting up pinch-hitter Samantha Barnett with an RBI opportunity. A strikeout ended the threat, however, stranding three runners.
Stockley turned in a nice outing, not allowing her first hit until the fourth inning and stranding three Memphis runners on base throughout the contest. Senior Chelsea Eckert, as well as Olson, relieved her in the final inning of the game.
Game 2 – UConn 10, Memphis 0 (F/5)
Briana Marcelino and Chloe Kerns each launched three-run homers as part of an aggressive offensive explosion, with the Huskies rolling past Memphis in the second game on Saturday – earning a dominant 10-0 victory in five innings.
Kelli Bates went 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored, leading the 10-hit attack for the Huskies against Memphis. The Tigers used four pitchers in the game, as starter Mariah Nichols was chased after just 0.1 inning, allowing three runs on three hits.
The first six batters in the UConn lineup combined for seven hits, eight runs and nine RBI – with help from Marcelino going 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Kerns added her homer, along with three runs.
— UConn Softball (@UConnSoftball) April 21, 2018
Sophomore Carli Cutler got the scoring started for the Huskies, as she delivered a two-RBI single with the bases loaded to give UConn a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Redshirt freshman Olivia Sappington followed with an RBI single of her own, extending the lead to three.
In the second inning, Bates and Guevarra reached base to set-up Marcelino’s homer, which was smacked over the left field fence to give UConn a 6-0 lead. It was the freshman’s first home run since a grand slam against No. 7 Texas A&M on March 15.
Kerns added her three-run blast in the third, making it 10-0 after three frames. Each of the first three Memphis pitchers were responsible for at least three earned runs, combining for just one strikeout and three walks.
Not only did the offense show up, but the pitching and defense was clicking as well – as sophomore pitcher Katie Koshes (4-7) threw a two-hit shutout in the winning effort. She needed to face only 18 Memphis batters in a five-inning performance.
The defensive play of the game came in the bottom half of the first, as Bates caught a fly ball and tossed out a runner tagging from third at home plate on just one hop – keeping UConn’s then 3-0 lead intact.
“For (Kelli) throwing the kid out at the plate, it was a huge momentum change,” said McIntyre. “It kind of shut down their offense and allowed us to get right back at it.”
It was the first time since a win over UCF on April 8 and the seventh time this season that the UConn lineup produced multiple home runs in a game. It’s also the second time this year that the Huskies have scored 10 or more runs in a contest.
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