When: Friday, April 14, 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 15, 12 p.m.
Saturday, April 15 3 p.m.
Where: Hayden Field, Cincinnati, Ohio
How to Listen: Mixlr
Game 1: Slight chance of showers, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 75. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Games 2-3: A chance of showers and thunderstorms before noon, then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 79. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Courtesy of weather.gov
LHP Andrew Sears (1-0, 5.34 ERA) vs. RHP Ethan Bosacker (4-1, 2.83 ERA)
RHP Jack Sullivan (4-1, 4.86 ERA) vs. LHP Brant Alazaus (4-3, 4.66 ERA)
RHP Stephen Quigley (3-1, 4.60 ERA) vs. RHP Luke Bell (1-2, 6.75 ERA)
What to Watch For
- This matchup needs no extra hype. Xavier and UConn have the two best overall records in the conference, at 21-12 and 24-8, respectively, and both sit in the top 40 of the RPI according to Warren Nolan. It’s not a guarantee by any means, but the winner of this series would be in the driver’s seat to take the Big East regular season title. The Huskies are 8-4 all time against the Musketeers. UConn won the regular season series last year 2-1 and defeated them one more time for good measure in the Big East tournament en route to its 2022 title.
- This weekend holds even more important from a UConn perspective, as it represents likely the last chance to Quad 1 series win for the rest of the season. Xavier is the only Big East team ranked in the top 100 in RPI, with St. John’s (who the Huskies defeated last weekend) the closest at No. 123.
- The Huskies will be forced to go at it this weekend without their Friday starter, Ian Cooke, who is missing the week due to injury. Instead, big left-hander Andrew Sears gets the ball on Friday, with Jack Sullivan pitching the middle game of the series and Michael Quigley getting the nod to close it out, coming off a 10-strikeout performance against CCSU on Monday.
- Xavier didn’t come by its No. 37 RPI ranking by winning games, as it’s 2-9 against Quad 1 opponents, but has a very high strength of schedule. The Musketeers opened their season against Oregon and got swept, but just playing the No. 13 RPI in the country on the road for four games will keep RPI high, no matter the result. They then lost a midweek game against Louisville (No. 22) and swept Wofford (No. 53), adding to their impressive strength of schedule. Now, riding an 11-game win streak, the longest in the nation, the Musketeers are looking to add to it with a Quad 1 opponent.
- With star shortstop Jack Housinger floundering, other members of the Xavier roster have had to step up and become key contributors. Catcher Matthew Deprey has been the anchor of the lineup, batting .321/.386/.599, leading the team with 10 home runs on the year, while also adding eight doubles. Matt McCormick leads the team with a .418 on-base percentage, while left-handed outfielder Andrew Walker is the third Xavier hitter batting over .300, tied for the team lead with 44 hits and is all by himself in first with 32 RBI.
- Ethan Bosacker will present one of the biggest puzzles for the Huskies to solve in this whole series on Friday afternoon. After missing the whole of 2022 due to injury, the right-hander has returned this season out for blood, with a 2.83 ERA and a Big East-leading 55 strikeouts in seven starts, walking just 15 batters. Bosacker has demonstrated immense control with his four-seam fastball sitting in the low 90s, and follows it up with a knockout slider or changeup.