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UConn baseball preview 2024: Midweek opponents

The Huskies are playing two new opponents in the midweek.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Welcome to The UConn Blog’s 2024 UConn baseball preview. This is our ninth season covering the Huskies on a day-to-day basis and between this site and our newsletter, which will have something new each day leading up to opening day. Our preview on the team’s weekend opponents can be found here.

Jim Penders and UConn baseball are getting creative with midweek games this year, with two Big 12 teams on the schedule. Kansas State decided to come to New England for some midweek battles in April while the Huskies will play Cincinnati on their way to close the regular season against Butler. In the Northeast, UConn has few strong RPI options to schedule, which makes winning these games crucial.

Boston College

The Eagles are UConn’s third-most frequent opponent in history and the Storrs Nine have a 71-55 advantage since 1909. The teams have played each year since 1968, save for 1983, 2011 and 2017. Boston College had one of the best seasons in program history in 2023 and returned to the NCAA Tournament as one of the last teams left out of the hosting discussion.

Bryant

Bryant moved to Division I in 2009 and the Bulldogs have been on the schedule at least once each year since. The Huskies are 10-5-1 against Bryant all-time and have won five straight. The Bulldogs were 12-12 in their first year of America East competition after moving over from the Northeast Conference.

CCSU

The only in-state program on the docket, UConn is 36-9 against the Blue Devils since they moved to Division I in 1987. CCSU is the closest Division I program to Storrs, which has made it a fixture in the years since, missing out only on 1991 and 1997. The Blue Devils have won the last three NEC Tournament titles and been to four of the past five NCAA Tournaments.

Cincinnati

UConn and Cincinnati were conference mates between 2006-2020, which led to each of their 41 matchups all-time. The Huskies have the edge at 25-16. The Bearcats made the NCAA Tournament in 2019 and had a winning record in 2021 but have largely struggled, with just the one regional appearance since 1974 and six 30-win seasons this century. They’re likely to be a Big 12 bottomfeeder.

Columbia

The Lions reached the Blacksburg Regional final in 2022 and have made five regionals in the past 10 seasons. The April 2 matchup will be just the sixth between the two schools. Half of those games come from a split series in 2016, in which UConn took its home games to earn the win.

Hofstra

This will be the second straight year the Huskies host the Pride and the game on April 24 is the third between the programs, both won by UConn. The 2022 Colonial Athletic Association champion is led by former major leaguer Frank Catalanotto and has finished at or above .500 the last two years.

Kansas State

One of three programs getting on the docket for the first time — along with Cal Baptist and UCLA — the Wildcats are coming to New England to face UConn and Northeastern. Kansas State hasn’t been in the NCAA Tournament since it hosted the 2013 Manhattan Regional but have had winning records the past three seasons.

LIU

UConn and LIU canceled last year’s game, presumably for RPI reasons, and this one will be moved up to March. The Sharks were part of UConn’s regional field in 2018 (Conway) and 2022 (College Park), with those Northeast Conference Tournament titles largely breaking up tough years, with just one RPI top-200 appearance since 2012.

Maine

A former Yankee Conference rival, the Black Bears are the fifth-most played series in program history and are back on the docket for the first time since 2004 to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of their first game. The Maine won America East last season and have been on the rise the past few seasons with three straight years in the RPI top 200.

Northeastern

The Huskies on Huntington earned a preseason ranking from D1Baseball.com and are on the schedule for a home-and-home, which has been the norm in recent years as Northeastern has ascended into a northeast power. Northeastern has been in the RPI top 150 each year since 2018 and has made three Regionals in that timeframe. The Huskies are the ninth-most played series in history and is the highest for a team to never share a conference with the program.

Rhode Island

The first collegiate program UConn faced is Rhode Island and is the most-played series in program history at 196 games. The teams have played each year since 1916, save for 1918, 1944, 1945 and 1983. The Huskies are 8-2 since 2019 as the Rams have fallen on hard times the past two years, with an RPI near No. 200 after seven straight top-150 seasons to start the Raphael Cerrato era.

UC Irvine

The only other time the Huskies and Anteaters have gotten together was in 2011, as No. 18 UC Irvine took a 5-4 win. UConn looks to get its revenge on March 13. Despite just one regional appearance (2021) in the past decade, UC Irvine has been in the RPI top 150 each year but one since at least 2002, with just four seasons spent outside the top 100.

UCLA

The Bruins and Huskies will square off for the first time March 12. One of college baseball’s 21st century powers, the Bruins won the 2013 national title and have hosted six regionals and three Super Regionals since 2010. UCLA is moving to the Big Ten for the 2025 season.

UMass

UConn and UMass will do battle for the 171st time on April 23. The schools have played at least once each year since 1946 except for 1955 and 1987. The Minutemen haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 1996 and have been in the RPI top 150 twice since 1999.