UConn ends season with two shutouts
Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 14, 2012 23:10
With the fall season coming to close, the UConn softball team wraps up their last two games with back-to-back shutouts against UMaine, walking away from both with decisive 2-0 wins behind solid pitching.
“I like the improvement we saw every week into the fall,” said Coach Karen Mullins. “I’m pleased with what we did this fall…I think our veterans provided some good leadership and I think our freshman really pushed our upperclassmen to be better.”
This weekend, Krista Robustelli made her official visit to UConn to see what the softball program has to offer. Currently a senior at Stamford High School and a potential new recruit for UConn, Robustelli plays shortstop for Stamford’s team, being named to the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC) All-FCIAC First Team at the end of last season. On Sunday, she was thoroughly impressed with the Huskies performance.
“It’s really the first I’ve seen from college play in a while,” said Robustelli. “Defense looked really nice…the hitting was good. It looked like they had a lot of backup pitchers, which was nice to see.”
In the first game, senior Kiki Saveriano took the mound against the Black Bears. After two rough pitches to start the game, she quickly turned the situation around and walked away with back-to-back strikeouts in the first inning. Saveriano pitched 4.1 innings, striking out seven and walking none. The Huskies’ defense picked up the rest of the slack, giving Saveriano a one-hitter through 4.1 innings.
“It was kind of an odd morning with the weather,” said Saveriano. “So coming out, I threw a couple balls to begin with. I was a little nervous, but I got it together at the end.”
Coming in for the last 3.2 innings of the first game was freshman Alyson Ambler, who struck out one and gave up three hits along with a walk. Both Saveriano and Ambler combined for a four-hit shutout of the Black Bears. Ambler felt good about the team’s performance in the game, saying that the Huskies came out with a lot of energy. On a personal level, Ambler thought she had a strong performance, but stressed that there was room for improvement.
“[I was] just trying to finish up fall ball on a good note,” said Ambler. “I think I had a great fall, but there’s also room for improvement as well.”
In the second game, junior Katelyn Callahan came out to pitch for the Huskies, going for 4.0 innings and posting two strikeouts. Where Callahan couldn’t take care of the batter herself, the UConn defense sealed the deal, giving her a one-hitter through four innings. In the fifth inning, sophomore Lauren Duggan came out in relief, pitching 3.0 innings and striking out two. After only giving up one hit, Duggan combined with Callahan for a two-hit shutout in the second game.
“I felt like coming in I did really well,” said Duggan. “[My fastball] was working, it was going where it needed to and I was able to get it by them.”
The solid pitching of UMaine tamed most of UConn’s offense in both games. In the second inning of the first game, the Huskies brought in two runs with a combination of singles and walks. In the second game, senior Marissa Guches came up to the plate and hit a two-run homer to put the Huskies on the board. Beyond those two spurts of offense, the team’s offense was fairly limited.
By the conclusion of this fall season, the Huskies were able to make significant progress in their defensive efforts. Mullins commented that she thought these two games were the team’s strongest defensive performances of the fall season. However, the team readily admitted that more consistency was needed at the plate. Going into the spring, Mullins wants to work with the players on making quicker adjustments at the plate. If they can keep their energy level up and stay motivated, the team expressed confidence that their 5-1 record this fall season will be a good indicator for a strong spring season.
“Based on what our team has shown so far, we can beat anyone if we play up to our potential,” said freshman Heather Fyfe. “With the strong bats in the lineup, our team as a whole puts a lot of pressure on the competition. Our defense has been very sound so far, and the pitchers go out there and battle every game.”
As for Robustelli’s potential future with the Huskies, there is still much time for her to decide where to attend. Whether or not she decides to commit to the school remains in question, but one thing is certain: this fall, the UConn softball team did not underperform.
“It’s obviously better talent than I’ve seen in high school level,” said Robustelli “It looked like a good, solid team out there, came out with two wins.”