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Preview: UConn Baseball Hosts Tulane, with Two at Dunkin’ Donuts Park

The Huskies play the first two games of the series in Hartford and will return to Storrs for Game 3.

Daniel Connolly/The UConn Blog

UConn baseball has lost just three times since USF took two of three from the Huskies on March 23-25. Jim Penders’ squad has rolled to a top-15 RPI on the back of a 12-3-1 record since.

Catcher Zac Susi (.320 AVG/.406 OBP/.384 SLG), who left Saturday’s game against Cincinnati last weekend with injury and missed Sunday’s contest, returned on Tuesday and has reached base in 25 straight outings with a nine-game hitting streak. That’s one back of center fielder Troy Stefanski’s (.326/.353/.482) 10 consecutive games with a hit. Shortstop Anthony Prato (.298/.374/.377) has also reached safely in 12 straight games.

That trio of Huskies look to lead UConn to their fourth straight winning weekend against Tulane.

The Green Wave (20-22, 6-6) had their bye week from American Athletic Conference play last weekend and used it to take two of three from East Tennessee State. After a midweek win over Texas Southern, Tulane will come to Connecticut having won three straight.

Offensively, the Green Wave rely on Grant Witherspoon (.340/.454/.568). The junior outfielder leads Tulane in each triple slash category as well as every other major statistical category, save for his tie in RBI with Jonathan Artigues (.301/.384/.429) at 28. Artigues also edges him in runs scored.

The team slashes .268/.358/.395, which is 143rd, 164th and 124th in NCAA. The Green Wave are not hopeless without Witherspoon, as six of their regulars hit above .275, but he is their clear-cut biggest producer.

UConn will send Mason Feole (5-1, 2.72 ERA) to the mound on Friday, Chase Gardner (3-1, 3.72) on Saturday and a starter to be announced on Sunday. That duo has led the Huskies to a 4.35 ERA (114th) and a .256 BAA. UConn strikes out 9.4 batters per nine innings (29th) and walk 4.4 batters per nine (182nd).

The UConn offense has been hitting well in this stretch and is slashing .278/.359/.399, which is 91st, 165th and 118th in the country.

Tulane will pitch Kaleb Roper (4-3, 4.72) on Friday, Keagan Gilles (4-4, 2.98) in the middle game and Josh Bates (2-0 4.00). As a whole, the pitching staff has a BAA of .272 and a 5.47 ERA (214th). They strike out 7.0 batters per nine innings (242nd) and walk 5.5 batters per nine (270th).

UConn (23-12-1, 7-5) and Tulane begin their series on Friday at 7:05 p.m. at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, with a 2:05 p.m. start at the same location the following day. The pair of teams shift their series to J.O. Christian Field on Sunday for an 11 a.m. first pitch.