“There was a much different flavor and feel to the room this year,” UConn head coach Jim Penders said. “We knew we were getting in this year, but last year we were unsure and we had a lot of butterflies.”
UConn and Coastal Carolina are joined by No. 3 seed Washington and No. 4 LIU Brooklyn. The other Huskies earned an at-large bid from the Pac-12, while the Blackbirds won the Northeast Conference tournament last week.
UConn and the Chanticleers played March 13 in Conway, South Carolina where the Huskies built an 11-1 lead before Coastal Carolina roared back, eventually falling 12-10 to UConn.
“We’re used to the facility, we’ve played the team before,” catcher Zac Susi said. “We’ve played so much on the road this year, we were going to be ok no matter where we played.”
Their first opponent, Washington, hosted fellow American Athletic Conference team ECU from April 6-7 during the Pirates’ bye week from conference play. The Huskies only won a single game from the eventual No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Conway Regional is paired in Super Regionals with the Stanford Regional, hosted by the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal. Filling out the bracket are Baylor, Cal State Fullerton and Wright State.
As far as fellow teams from The American, Houston is the No. 3 seed in the Chapel Hill Regional, USF is the No. 2 in the DeLand Regional and No. 12 ECU is hosting the Greenville Regional. UCF was the third team in the first four out.
Other teams from the northeast include Northeastern, the No. 3 in the Raleigh Regional, Hartford as the No. 4 in the DeLand Regional and St. John’s is the No. 3 in the DeLand Regional.
All told, UConn owns a 9-5 record against teams in the field of 64.
UConn (35-10-1) and Washington face off in Game 1 of the Conway Regional at 12 p.m. on Friday. Mason Feole will pitch for UConn and the game will be televised on the WatchESPN app.