Softball to begin conference play at home against Connecticut
The softball team opens its Big East season with a three-game series against Connecticut this weekend.
The Pirates enter the matchup against the Huskies with a 15-12 record, including a sweep of St. Peter’s on Wednesday.
“It’s a lot better than a year ago where we only won 16 games,” head coach Ray Vander May said. “So, we’ve got 13 wins under our belt and against some very good teams.”
While things seem to be in the Pirates favor, Vander May has one major concern on his mind, and that’s his team’s pitching.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jen Metzger, one of the Hall’s four starting pitchers, has had pain near her rib cage. With the MRI results in on Tuesday, doctors told Metzger that it is a pulled muscle.
With the muscle strain, Metzger said her rib cage is feeling a little better, but it’s still not fully healed.
“It would be ideal if I could be back before this weekend, but I have to wait and see how it feels,” Metzger said. “If it’s not 100 percent, then I don’t want to risk it, and hurt it even more, and be out for more of the season than I have to be.”
Connecticut is 7-10 so far this season, and will face their in-state rival Fairfield Thursday.
Senior outfielder Amy Vaughan leads the Huskies, with a .412 batting average, which includes 21 hits, 22 runs batted in, six doubles and eight home runs. Vaughan was also this week’s Big East Player of the Week.
“Our team feels pretty good, especially after the start we’ve posted this season,” Hammer said. “We need to keep the confidence we’ve found this year, and use it to propel us forward. We need to play tight defense behind solid pitching, and the runs are sure to follow.”
While Connecticut has good hitters, Hammer said the Pirates’ key is to keep them off balance and minimize extra-base hits behind their pitchers.
“The younger pitches have done a great job for us,” Vander May said. “So, if they go and continue to throw the way they’ve thrown, we should be in the game with UConn.”
In addition to Metzger and junior Brooke Tull, freshmen right-handed pitchers Casey Moses and Danielle DeStaso have helped the Pirates’ pitching staff.
Even though they’re rookies, Vander May added, “They don’t act like freshmen.”
“Casey (Moses) and Danielle (DeStaso) have really stepped up and found their rhythm in the pitching rotation thus far,” Hammer said. “They both have a reassuring composure on the mound that definitely sets the defense and rest of the team at ease.”
First pitch of the series is scheduled for noon at Ivy Hill Park.
Krissy Wrobel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.