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UConn baseball is no underdog. ‘Every game is an elimination game if you’re from the Northeast’

The Huskies will face No. 2 Stanford this weekend in Super Regional play.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

According to Draft Kings Sportsbook, UConn baseball has +240 odds to win the Stanford Super Regional against the No. 2 Cardinal. That would make them an underdog, as Stanford is -310.

Don’t tell that to the Huskies.

“I think we know it’s not going to be easy to win, especially against a team as good as Stanford, but underdog my ass,” pitching coach Joshua MacDonald said.

It’s easy to see why the oddsmakers feel Stanford has the better chance to win the best-of-three series and move on to the College World Series.

Currently ranked No. 3 in the RPI, the Cardinal finished 21-9 in Pac-12 play, good enough for first place in college baseball’s fourth-best conference according to RPI, while also winning the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament.

The Cardinal have a road series win against both Oregon State and UCLA, each Quad 1 opponents, while topping Texas State, ranked No. 20 in the RPI, two out of three times in the Stanford Regional last weekend, in addition to a midweek win over Arkansas at a neutral site.

UConn finished first in the Big East, ranked No. 13 out of 31 Division I conferences, but has just two more top-100 games (14) than Stanford has top-50 wins (12). While two of the team’s final three weekend series featured Quad 2 competition, each series came at home and represented the first top-100 games since the first weekend of the season.

Strength of schedule is the big separator between two teams that have each won 45 games this season and sport winning percentages at the .750 plateau. Stanford will arrive more battle-tested, but that did not matter in Regional play, as UConn played four games against two top-15 RPI schools in No. 15 Maryland and Wake Forest, finishing 3-1.

“We’ve won a lot this year. I think we know how to win,” MacDonald said.

While the numbers may favor the Cardinal, games aren’t played on paper for a reason. The RPI isn’t infallible, and the Husky coaches know it.

“When I said we were playing elimination games from the opening weekend, I meant it,” head coach Jim Penders said. “If you pay attention to the RPI, everything is an elimination game if you’re from the Northeast.

“It’s a battle-tested group and they showed some resiliency.”