JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The UConn softball team completed a solid showing in the River City Leadoff on Sunday, winning its tournament finale in a tight 2-1 decision over Army at the Pruitt Softball Complex – completing the trip with a 3-2 record.
The Huskies (3-2) relied on a two-out RBI single from senior Emma Stanley in the seventh inning to break the deadlock with the Black Knights (1-4) and stretch their current winning streak to three games.
Though UConn only recorded four hits, the lineup managed to draw seven walks from Army starter Courtney Springman and get base runners on a consistent basis. The Huskies stranded 10 runners, but scored when it mattered most to avoid extra innings.
“I think that’s what we will take away from this game, the fight and the grind the team needed late,” said head coach Jen McIntyre. “You like to see that early in the season so you know what your team is made of when their backs are against the wall. I’m pleased with the outcome.”
Sophomore pitcher Katie Koshes threw five scoreless innings for UConn, striking out three hitters and allowing just four hits. Despite the effort, freshman Marybeth Olson (1-0) picked up the win, after surrendering the lead in the sixth but holding Army down in the seventh.
Sophomore outfielder Ashlee Dahman got the scoring started in the second, when she drew an RBI walk that scored Stanley from third to make it 1-0. The Huskies left them loaded in the inning, as the final three batters were retired in order.
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Army tied the game in the sixth, with consecutive hits from Carrie Reilly and Madison Cole to produce the only run for the Black Knights coming off Olson. The freshman then settled down, sitting down the next three hitters to end the threat.
Singles from freshman Reese Guevarra and redshirt freshman Olivia Sappington, coupled with a walk from senior Ryne Nakama, loaded the bases on the seventh. With two outs, Stanley worked a seven-pitch at-bat off Springman – eventually hitting a hard ground ball to third ruled as a hit. Nakama scored to retake the lead for UConn.
“Army had been attacking Emma low and in the whole at-bat. She did a nice job of getting the barrel on the ball and hit it hard in play,” said McIntyre.
Sophomore Kiwi McDaniel went 1-for-4, following her 3-for-3 effort against Jacksonville in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
“The team really settled in this weekend, finding out who they are and what they can turn in to,” said McIntyre. “It’s a matter of passing the bat and though we were more explosive yesterday, some other days you just have to grind it out.”
UConn returns to action next weekend in the Coastal Carolina Invitational in Conway, S.C. It will play doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.