It’s tough to get a read on this UConn team lately. The Huskies lost four of five to close Spring Break as they struggled to prevent BYU and Santa Clara from scoring runs, allowing at least seven in each of the four games against those two teams.
After playing just good enough to win against Central Connecticut, the Huskies went on a hot streak. They took two of three on the road against Seton Hall, allowing just three runs on the entire weekend. They struggled to score, but Seton Hall has a good pitching staff.
UConn followed it up with a strong midweek win over Fairfield and a sweep of East Carolina, the preseason favorite in the American Athletic Conference, for a winning streak of five and wins in seven of their last eight.
Then Hartford came to town.
The Huskies and Hawks play tough games in the midweek, but this one leaned in the Hawks’ favor. Outside of CJ Dandeneau and Dan Rajkowski, each of the UConn pitchers struggled with control and Hartford took advantage, beating UConn, 6-4.
The Huskies look to get back on track this weekend with a three-game set at home against Memphis (20-9, 2-1).
The Tigers enter as winners of three straight and four out of five, after taking two out of three from Cincinnati before sweeping their midweek games against Belmont and Alcorn State.
Memphis hasn’t played the strongest schedule, with D1Baseball.com ranking it 154th-strongest out of 299 teams, but the Tigers have taken advantage of opportunities to play strong teams with two wins over a ranked Ole Miss team.
The Tigers also have not lost a three-game series since the first weekend of the year, when Tennessee took two of three from them, so this is a good measuring stick series for both teams.
Memphis has won 20 of 29 games, but only nine of those games have come against RPI top-100 competition and they played arguably the weakest team in the conference on opening weekend. They played well in non-conference play, but the question is if they can play that way against stronger competition and earn themselves a Regional berth.
As for UConn, its strength of schedule is 114th and outside of East Carolina, the Huskies have not played an elite opponent. They have played a bunch of RPI top-100 teams, but not the top-level teams in Ole Miss and Mississippi State that Memphis has played.
If UConn comes out of this series with a win, they can say that they got their third series win against an RPI top-100 team.
Tim Cate, Wills Montgomerie and Mason Feole will get the starts for UConn. First pitch at J.O. Christian Field on Friday is at 3 p.m. followed by 1 p.m. on Saturday, with the series finale beginning at 11 a.m.