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Preview: UConn baseball has four-game set with The Citadel

The Huskies look to get back to their winning ways.

Tim Cate Blue H Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Last weekend, UConn baseball (5-4) lost their first series of the year against North Florida when they emerged victorious on Friday before less-than-stellar play on Saturday and Sunday gave the series to the Ospreys.

Tim Cate looked like himself again in the series opener, pitching seven innings of two-run ball and allowing just five hits. He also struck out 10 batters for the first time this season.

Offensively, center fielder Troy Stefanski (.382 AVG/.389 OBP/.588 SLG) was the only player to record a hit in all three games, though shortstop Anthony Prato (.359/.419/.487) has reached base safely in his last six and left fielder John Toppa (.231/.333/.333) failed to reach base for the first time all year on Sunday.

The Huskies recorded only 23 hits all weekend, 11 of which came on Saturday. They will look to regain the form they had their first two weekends when they head to The Citadel for a four-game set in this beautiful setting.

The Bulldogs (5-7) won their series with Charleston Southern last weekend, but lost midweek games to Georgia and Winthrop.

William Kenney (.400/.466/.560) is the team’s offensive leader as one of three players to start in every game. He paces The Citadel in batting average, on-base percentage, hits, runs and total bases. He is tied for the lead in doubles (five), RBI and home runs (one).

Taylor Cothran (.364/.396/.568) edges Kenney out in slugging percentage and is second in batting average, with Johnathan Sabo (.347/.429/.510) the only other hitter with a batting average over .275 and there are only three more above .200.

Those three inflate a team slash line of .252/.344/.339, which is 176th, 178th and 212th in NCAA, respectively.

The Bulldogs will be facing Tim Cate (1-2, 4.08 ERA), Mason Feole (1-0, 5.29) and Chase Gardner (1-0, 6.08) on the mound this weekend, while Monday’s starter is to be announced.

The Huskies’ staff ERA is 4.38, good for 129th in the country, strike out 9.6 batters per nine innings (58th) and walk 4.0 batters per nine innings (126th), slightly inflated by an eight-walk day against North Florida on Sunday.

The Citadel will start Dylan Spence (0-1, 4.34), Jordan Merritt (1-0, 4.38) and Alex Bialakis (2-0, 1.32), with Monday’s starter yet to be announced.

As a staff, the Bulldogs own a 4.74 ERA (151st) and strike out 8.8 batters per nine innings (114th) and give out 4.3 free passes per nine innings (160th).

They will be contending with a UConn offense that slashes .267/.333/.407 (110th, 213th and 93rd).

UConn and The Citadel get it going on Friday at 6 p.m., with the following games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday scheduled for 2 p.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. All four games will be on the SoCon Digital Network and will be broadcast on 91.7 FM WHUS.