Game 1: Friday, April 28, 11 a.m.
Game 2: Friday, April 28, following Game 1
Game 3: TBD
Where: Villanova Ballpark, Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania
How to listen: Mixlr
How to watch: FloBaseball
Games 1 and 2: Rain, mainly after 1pm. High near 60. East wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Game 3 (We Think): Rain, mainly before 2pm. The rain could be heavy at times. High near 57. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible
Courtesy of weather.gov
LHP Andrew Sears (2-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. RHP Cade Udell (0-5, 6.66 ERA)
RHP Jack Sullivan (4-1, 5.59 ERA) vs. RHP Devin Rivera (4-3, 4.66 ERA)
RHP Ian Cooke (3-3, 5.28 ERA) vs. RHP Luke Bell (1-2, 6.75 ERA)
What to watch for
Like the last two series against Georgetown and Xavier, UConn once again finds itself at odds with the weather this weekend at Villanova. The series has already been shuffled around once, with the first two games set to take place as a Friday doubleheader, and the weather doesn’t look too rosy for the weekend, either. The Huskies pitching staff will need to be flexible and ready to go ahead of an unorthodox and unpredictable schedule of games.
Villanova has had a rough go of it so far in 2022, sitting at 11-28 with just a single weekend series win to speak of on the schedule. After sweeping Butler two weeks ago for their first series win of the season, the Wildcats’ latest weekend set ended in disappointment, failing to steal a single game off of the conference leaders in Xavier. Villanova is 5-7 in Big East play so far this season, only ahead of St. John’s and Butler in the conference standings.
The Wildcats’ lineup centers around two middle infielders: second baseman Michael Whooley, who’s batting .342 on the year in 76 at-bats after missing time to start the year, and shortstop Craig Larsen, who leads the team with 51 hits and 11 doubles. The infield duo hasn’t been able to lift the rest of the lineup very high so far this season: Villanova ranks No. 268 in the country in runs scored per game.
UConn received a boost in its lineup in the midweek with the return of T.C. Simmons, the opening day starting center fielder. Simmons missed eight weeks with a wrist injury suffered on March 3, returning to the lineup on April 21 as a defensive substitution against Georgetown.
In Simmons’ absence, David Smith moved to outfield, and Oswego State transfer Paul Tammaro and freshman Ryan Daniels competed for the starting second base spot in his place. Both succeeded at the plate, hitting .356/.524/.556 and .321/.433/.487, respectively. Head coach Jim Penders now has the enviable problem of deciding how to keep the pair in the lineup with Simmons back healthy.
That opportunity might present itself soon. After starting first baseman Ben Huber was injured and will be out a significant time, freshman Maddix Dalena got some reps in his stead. According to Penders, he has leaned towards being too tentative at the plate. The Huskies have tried Tammaro out at first base in practice, so if Dalena continues to struggle hitting, expect to possibly see Tammaro don a first baseman’s glove in the upcoming series.