March 5, 2014
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut softball team will travel to Rock Hill, South Carolina this weekend to participate in the Winthrop/Adidas Invitational. The Huskies (1-9) will begin competition on Friday, March 7 with a doubleheader beginning with Youngstown State at 1pm ET and then an afternoon matchup with host Winthrop (7-10) at 3pm. On Saturday, March 8, UConn will face Eastern Kentucky (7-7) at 1pm ET and finish the day with a contest vs. Wright State (1-8) at 3pm. Head coach Kim Mullins and the Huskies will conclude the weekend on Sunday morning in a 10am meeting with Norfolk State (2-9).
Connecticut will look to bounce back after a difficult set of weekends to open the season. The Huskies struggled last weekend at the Texas A&M Invitational, earning their first win of the season against Texas A&M –Corpus Christi before dropping the subsequent four game, including two losses to No. 13 Texas A&M, a defeat in a rematch against Corpus Christi and a loss to Wisconsin in the final game.
Head Coach Karen Mullins commented that a disappointing quantitative weekend in the team’s record fell short of displaying the qualitative improvements made on the diamond against a tough set of opponents. She commented, “I knew when we scheduled [The Texas A&M Invitational] that it was early in the year for us to be playing those teams but I feel that it’s a great opportunity. We’d rather play them than not play them. We actually saw some really good things this weekend even though Texas A&M had some monster hitters – they’re a phenomenal team. If you look at the first day we played them compared with the last day, Lauren Duggan had a great outing against a tough team. We were pleased with the intensity and the progress that Lauren made throughout the weekend. Even our young pitcher, Kayla [Doty], we can see them every game out getting a little stronger and making the adjustments we’re asking them to make.”
Coach Mullins predicts this will be a breakthrough weekend for the Huskies. “We need to get better and better, and I think we’re doing that,” she notes. “I really can say I feel like this weekend we’re headed in the right direction and looking to turn a corner.”
Continuing her strong presence at the plate last weekend was sophomore Valerie Sadowl (Horsham, Pa.). Sadowl batted .500 over the weekend, going 6-for-12 in her plate appearances with a home run and three RBI’s. Sadowl currently boasts the highest batting average in the American at .560 and has been named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll for two consecutive weeks.
Also posting an exceptional offensive effort was senior Audrey Grinnell (Saco, Maine). The veteran leader belted a pair of three-run homers in Friday’s games against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas A&M. “She’s an incredibly hard worker,” coach Mullins praised. “She’s put in a lot of time and worked on her swing and I think that’s just paying off for her. She’s making some adjustments and having some good at-bats.”
The key to success this weekend, Mullins pointed out, will be UConn’s ability to execute in its own game more than anything else. “We’re not in a position where we can afford to look past anybody. We’ve got to take it one game at a time. It’s important for us to go out there and play at a certain level. It’s not about what they do against us, it’s about what we do when we take the field. That’s what I’ve been trying to stress with our players.”