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Softball sees Big East tournament hopes slipping away

Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, April 28, 2013

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 18:08

The UConn softball team is on the outside looking in when it comes to the Big East Tournament bubble after dropping two out of three games to Seton Hall this weekend in New Jersey.

UConn (24-24, 7-12 Big East) is now tied for eighth place in the Big East Conference with Rutgers, but sit in ninth based on tiebreakers. Only the top eight teams will qualify for the conference tournament. With Notre Dame, Louisville, South Florida and DePaul having already clinched spots in next week’s tournament, only four spots remain and the Huskies are now in danger of missing out.

The biggest issue for UConn this weekend was that star pitcher Kiki Saveriano got shelled by the Pirates’ hitters, allowing 13 runs in her two outings, which both came in losses.

In the first game on Saturday, the Huskies’ bats were alive, led by center fielder Kim Silva. UConn scored 10 runs and Silva went 5-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs. Lexi Gifford and Brittany Duclos also added home runs for UConn, but the Huskies lost the game on the mound.

Saveriano allowed seven runs on 10 hits in four innings, but Lauren Duggan was credited with the loss. Duggan gave up four runs in the sixth, allowing the Pirates to take an 11-9 lead. Eleven runs proved to be enough as Seton Hall took the first game 11-10.

Duggan settled down in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and the Huskies’ offense continued to shine. Duggan went all five innings of the shortened game, allowing only one run on four hits.

Gifford and Marissa Guches went yard for UConn and Silva and Emily O’Donnell each drove in two runs as the Huskies ran away with an 11-1 win.

Sunday’s game brought more nightmares for Saveriano. The senior gave up six runs on five hits in only one-third of an inning. Coach Karen Mullins quickly turned back to Duggan, who allowed four runs over 5.2 innings. The Huskies’ offense was unable to overcome the 10 runs that Saveriano and Duggan gave up, as Seton Hall grabbed a 10-5 win to move within a game of UConn and Rutgers in the standings.

The Huskies only have three Big East games left to get into the tournament. UConn will start the week with nonconference home games against Boston College on Tuesday and Boston University on Wednesday. The Huskies will then take on DePaul in a three-game series at home to try and climb back into the tournament field. The Blue Demons (28-18, 14-5 Big East) are already qualified for the tournament and sit in fourth place in the conference.

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