Softball: Cougars' prolific offense sinks Huskies in 3-game set
As the Huskies headed into their weekend series with Houston, they knew they would be up against one of the most prolific offenses in the American Athletic Conference.
The Cougars offense exploded for 36 runs on 34 hits in their three games against UConn. This strong offensive showing allowed Houston to sweep the series at Burrill Family Field and remain undefeated in AAC play.
Sophomore Katie St. Pierre hit .500 for the weekend to raise her season batting average to a team leading .391. First baseman Jaime Edwards also hit .500 and added three RBI. These two stellar performances, combined with talent throughout the lineup and an aggressive approach at the plate, made the Houston lineup a tough matchup for UConn.
"They hit right through their lineup very aggressively," Coach Karen Mullins said. "They're definitely a good hitting team and aggressive team."
After allowing 26 hits in their two losses on Saturday, the Huskies adjusted and managed to only surrender eight hits in their 8-4 loss on Sunday, largely due to pitcher Lauren Duggan's ability to neutralize the Cougars' middle of the lineup.
"Dougie came back and threw competitively and she really threw well, and we[the coaching staff] were kind of saying that she threw really well against the meat of their order that really hurt us yesterday," Mullins said.
Duggan managed to hold Houston's three, four and five hitters to only one hit in eleven at bats, walking only one and notching four strikeouts. Unfortunately, the Cougars' bottom of the order picked up the slack, bringing in five of their eight runs. Nonetheless, Duggan's ability to neutralize the strongest hitters in a tough Houston lineup bodes well for the rest of UConn's season.
The loss on Sunday dropped Duggan's record to 5-14 on the season, but the senior pitcher has recently turned in more competitive outings similar to Sunday, where she walked six but managed to strike out 10 and only surrender eight hits. In order for the Huskies to remain relevant in AAC play, they will need more performances from Duggan like her win last weekend against Memphis.
Against the Tigers, Duggan went the distance, scattering five hits while striking out three and only walking two, including a span where she retired 10 straight batters. If Duggan can continue to compete and build on her recent improvement, UConn will be a tough matchup for any team in the American Athletic Conference.
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