Softball: Huskies to play tough weekend at Spring Break Tournament
Lauren Duggan has been the powerhouse behind the team with her experience and skill. TROY CALDEIRA/The Daily Campus
The UConn softball team is getting right back into the thick of it at the Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament this weekend after winning three of four at the Winthrop Adidas Invitational last weekend.
The Huskies (4-10) have a tough weekend on their hands, facing No. 12 Baylor (17-4) and strong teams in Central Michigan (14-7) and Green Bay (8-2). UConn will also have to deal with Wagner (4-8) and Miami (Ohio) (6-10) in their five-game schedule.
UConn opens with Central Michigan and Wagner on Friday and will have to face Miami (Ohio) and Baylor on Saturday. The Huskies will wrap up the tournament Sunday morning against Green Bay.
The biggest challenge comes from Baylor, a team that has been in the top 25 for the entirety of the season. Coach Karen Mullins described the Bears as "a real powerful team."
"We're going to continue to see some real good teams and some teams that are just out of the gates like us," Mullins said. "Hopefully we can pick up where we left off and pick up a few more W's and keep preparing for what awaits us at the end of the week with our conference opener."
Mullins said last weekend's performance in South Carolina served to strengthen the team for these difficult games, adding that the two extra-inning games proved that they're capable of winning.
Junior Lauren Duggan has been the go-to pitcher so far this season, pitching twice as many innings as freshman Kayla Doty, who has the second-most innings on the team.
Mullins said Duggan "really took a big step forward for us" in the games she has been needed in this season. She attributed that to increasing maturity and gaining additional experience.
As for Doty, who has given up 10 home runs in 26.2 innings pitched, Mullins did not pull any punches: "Mistake pitches are going to catch up to you."
If the Huskies are going to be successful, Mullins said it has to start on the mound. Doty and Duggan will be required to go deeper into games without giving up more runs.
UConn's first game of the tournament starts Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. against Central Michigan. The tournament will conclude after the Huskies' 11:15 a.m. game against Green Bay on Sunday comes to an end.
"We got a few more games under our belt (last weekend)," Mullins said, expressing some confidence in her team. "I think we definitely turned the corner."
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