Feb. 26, 2014
STORRS, Conn. – UConn softball will travel to the Lone Star State to compete at the Texas A&M Invitational this weekend. The Huskies (0-5) start off the weekend against Texas A&M – Corpus Christi (3-11) at 12:15pm ET on Friday afternoon before facing No. 16 Texas A&M in a 3pm showdown. On Saturday, March 1, Connecticut will face both teams again before concluding the weekend against Wisconsin at 10am on Sunday, March 2.
For complete tournament information, click on the link above labeled ‘Texas A&M Invitational Home.’ The website provides links to live stats, audio feeds and video streaming in addition to game results.
The Huskies faced stiff competition last weekend in the NFCA Lead-Off Classic in Clearwater, Fla. In the final game against Illinois State, UCon n rallied to tie the score at 2-2 and send the game to extra innings, but the Redbirds scored a run in the bottom of the eighth frame to prevent Connecticut from breaking into the win column.
Despite the setbacks in Florida, Coach Karen Mullins maintains a positive outlook on a season that has only just begun. “This time of year it’s all about improving every time out,” coach Mullins pointed out. “We certainly saw good improvement, particularly in our pitching staff. If you look at their stats from game-to-game, they got stronger each outing, so that was a real positive. We also had a couple of hitters who performed well. Valerie Sadowl had a great weekend at the plate, as did Emily O’Donnell. We certainly have some things that we need to figure out but that’s what February is all about – figuring out what we need to do to play at the level we’re capable of.”
Sadowl (Horsham, Pa.) went an impressive 8-for-13 from the plate last weekend, building the highest batting average in the American Athletic Conference at .615. The sophomore belted four RBI’s and scored a pair of runs including her first home run of the season in UConn’s opener against Hofstra on Feb. 21. Her efforts landed her on the NFCA Lead-Off All-Tournament Team and garnered Honor Roll recognition from the American Athletic Conference in the league’s set of weekly awards. “She’s seeing the ball well,” said coach Mullins of the sophomore standout. “She’s stepping up to the plate with a lot of confidence and having some real quality at-bats.”
Also looking to lead the offense will be junior infielder Emily O’Donnell (Niskayuna, N.Y.), who reached base in each of Connecticut’s five games in the Lead-Off Classic. The New York native posted six hits in 17 at bats for a .353 average on the season, leading the team with a trio of runs scored in the early going. “We actually moved her into our lead-off position because she’s just such a tone setter for us,” commented coach Mullins.
The Huskies will look to build on the positives from the NFCA Lead-Off Classic as they forge ahead into a challenging opening schedule. “We were disappointed in the weekend but we had some great innings and we certainly played some competitive ball with some top teams, and that’s one of the things we knew with the schedule that for the next four weekends - there’s no easy opponents,” coach Mullins pointed out. “We knew going through the fire would get us ready for our conference.”
UConn hopes to break into the win column against the Texas A&M Corpus-Christi Islanders on Friday afternoon in College Station, Texas.