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UConn baseball weekend preview: Southeastern Louisiana

The Huskies look to continue the strong start to their season.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Last weekend, UConn baseball took two of their three games in the Atlanta Challenge, losing their first one to Kennesaw State before rattling off two-straight wins against Georgia State and Georgia Tech to end the event.

Right fielder Isaac Feldstein hit 5-for-13 last weekend with two home runs and a double. He was named to the American Athletic Conference honor roll this week. Sophomore Mason Feole excelled on Saturday, throwing seven one-hit innings, allowing just one run.

The pair look to lead the Huskies to another winning weekend against Southeastern Louisiana this weekend.

The Lions are 4-1 on the year after they took two of three from Southern Illinois- Edwardsville over the weekend followed by a pair of home midweek wins, one against Alcorn State and another against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Mike Taylor (.500 AVG/.526 OBP/.778 SLG) is one of six players on the roster to start all five contests and leads the team in batting average and is tied for the lead in RBI. With two triples, Bryce Steckler (.385/.529/.923) leads the Lions in slugging percentage.

Southeastern Louisiana gets it done with lots of singles and walks, as the team as a whole has an impressive .314 batting average and .452 on-base percentage but only a .436 slugging percentage. They have struck out 42 times to 27 walks and have been hit an astounding 13 times. They are tied for sixth in the country in the fluky stat.

Over their first three games, the Huskies have allowed batters to hit just .214 against them and struck out 29 batters in 27 innings to eight walks allowed (9.7 strikeouts per nine innings), but with Tim Cate allowing two home runs to Kennesaw State on Friday, they are prone to allowing the extra-base hit, giving up 10 on the year, including four home runs.

Cate (0-1, 6.35 ERA) will face Josh Green (1-0, 3.60) on Friday. Mason Feole (1-0, 1.29) will battle Corey Gaconi (0-0, 4.15) on Saturday and Chase Gardner (0-0, 10.38) reprises his Sunday role against Mason Knopp (0-0, 4.50).

Green allowed two runs on six hits against the Cougars, with just three strikeouts. He got lots of weak contact early in counts and threw 76 pitches in five innings of work.

Gaconi had a similar line, allowing the same two runs on the same six hits, just in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one, relying on the fly out and his defense. Unlike Green, he did not have a clean inning during his outing.

Knopp had the longest outing of the three, getting through six innings. He allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out five. Southern Illinois- Edwardsville was able to get on base every inning but the first, but could not scratch across enough runs to match the Lion offense.

As a staff, the Lions have allowed opposing hitters to hit .229 and have struck out 56 batters to 16 walks in 45 innings (11.2 strikeouts per nine innings, 24th in NCAA).

UConn and Southeastern Louisiana will kick off their series at Pat Kenelly Diamond in Hammond, Louisiana on Friday at 7 p.m., while Saturday’s contest will begin at 2 p.m. First pitch for the series finale on Sunday is at 1 p.m.