STORRS, Conn. – Freshman pitcher Katie Koshes highlighted Saturday’s doubleheader split for the UConn softball team against Memphis, allowing just two runs in 12 innings of work at the Burrill Family Field.
The Huskies (17-29, 3-13 American) got a pair of strong starts from the Connecticut native, who racked up nine strikeouts on the day against the Tigers – resulting in a 1-0 win in the first game and an 8-2 defeat in the second.
“We thought Katie was going to be a great matchup against them and she threw the ball well all day,” said head coach Jen McIntyre. “She said she felt good, so we decided to start her again in game two.”
The UConn offense produced 12 hits on the day from seven different batters, with redshirt senior Valerie Sadowl’s solo home run in the fourth inning of game one leading the way. Freshmen Kiwi McDaniel and Carli Cutler provided one RBI each in game two.
“We fought hard for both games, until the seventh inning of the second game. That’s what happens when a couple runners reach base and then a key error. That’s how the game works – a couple inches one way or the other,” said McIntyre.
Game 1 – UConn 1, Memphis 0
Koshes tossed her sixth complete-game of the season in the first contest on Saturday against the Tigers, earning a hard-fought 1-0 shutout victory, where Sadowl’s solo blast was the game’s only offense.
Stranding nine Memphis runners throughout, Koshes also struck-out six batters and walked three. She surrendered five hits in the game – her third shutout this year – and reached the 100-inning plateau on the season.
Six different Huskies recorded hits in the game, but none bigger than Sadowl’s fourth-inning homer off Memphis starter Molly Smith. It was her team-leading sixth of the season, adding to her team-best RBI total at 21.
Good defense was also key, as a Memphis hit down the left field line in the sixth was primed to put at least one runner in scoring position in a 1-0 game. Sophomore Kelli Bates fired the ball to Sadowl at third, cutting down the Tigers’ runner and ending the frame.
The bottom of the order came up big for the Huskies, as each of the last four batters recorded a hit against Smith (Sadowl, Dahman, Bates and Nakama). The Tigers’ starter had three strikeouts and allowed six hits in six innings of work.
Koshes picked up her eighth win of the season and it was her 11th outing (29 appearances) with at least six strikeouts as a freshman.
Game 2 – Memphis 8, UConn 2
McDaniel and Cutler provided clutch RBI hits in the sixth inning for the Huskies to tie the game, 2-2, but a six-run seventh for Memphis – all runs unearned off sophomore Jill Stockley – led to an 8-2 loss.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the seventh with one out against Stockley, when a fielding error by McDaniel at shortstop allowed Memphis to take a 3-2 lead. From there, the Tigers added five more runs, including a grand slam from Regan Hadley.
Trailing 2-0 in the sixth inning, the Huskies pieced together a clutch frame with four hits, two sacrifices and a wild pitch to tie the game – led by a game-tying RBI single from Cutler with two outs.
McDaniel’s sac fly scored Bates from third, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Cutler then delivered with a rocket to left field, plating Nakama and tying the game. The Huskies were 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position in game two.
Memphis’ runs in the third inning came off Koshes through RBI hits from Addison Maxwell and Tyler Johnson, putting the Tigers in front, 2-0. Koshes tossed five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts.
It is the eighth doubleheader that the Huskies have split this season, heading into the regular-season finale at home against Memphis on Sunday.