UConn baseball is off to a blazing start to the 2022 season, sitting at 5-1 after two weekends. Any time you’re outscoring your opponents more than two-to-one on aggregate, you’re setting yourself up for a successful non-conference slate. UConn’s latest series ended in a sweep of North Florida, a middling ASUN team, and its schedule won’t increase in difficulty too much this week against Florida International.
Like the Ospreys, FIU was tabbed to finish in the middle of its conference, but unlike the Ospreys, FIU has had a very good start to the season. They started off by sweeping St. Thomas in four games, split midweek games against Bethune Cookman (a win) and South Florida (a loss). They hosted a tournament with Michigan and Big East members Seton Hall, splitting games with both teams. The Panthers have four players batting over .500, and their two main starters have combined to give up two runs through 23.2 innings, so they’ll be no pushover for the Huskies this weekend.
When: Friday, March 4, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 5, 6 p.m.
Sunday, March 6, noon
Where: FIU Baseball Stadium, Miami, Florida
RHP Austin Peterson
RHP Pat Gallagher
RHP Enzo Stefanoni
What to watch for
- After a high-scoring weekend in Jacksonville, UConn batters boast some gaudy stats. Outfielders Kevin Ferrer and Erik Stock have gotten off to nuclear starts to the season, batting .438 and .458 respectively. Stock’s statistics, in particular, boggle the mind — he’s leading the team in average, slugging (.708), hits (11) and doubles (2), all after undergoing hand surgery in the offseason. Stock leads by example in the top section of the UConn order, and he’ll be looking to continue his impressive start to the year.
- A newcomer to the team and Division I baseball in general, first baseman Ben Huber hasn’t yet been able to get in on the fun of UConn’s offensive explosion. He leads the team with 12 strikeouts, but the leap up is a big one, and the team believes in his offensive potential.
“He’s got a really high baseball IQ, he knows how to play the game, the strategy, he knows what pitches to look for,” head coach Jim Penders said of the Limestone College Limestone College transfer. “So he’ll get a really good feel [for hitting].”
- Austin Peterson has picked up exactly where he left off in 2021: Fanning batters and earning wins. The 6-foot-6 senior has 23 strikeouts through 11.1 innings pitched, and carries an impressive 0.77 ERA.
- In order to come out of Miami with a series win, UConn will have to overcome FIU’s intimidating starting pitching duo. Sophomore sensations Ryan Cabarcas, a Florida transfer, and Patrick Pridgen, arriving from Oregon, have lived up to considerable hype to start 2022, combining to give up just two runs total through 23.2 innings this year.