Huskies take loss against CCSU, but acknowledge skill of opposing pitcher

UConn senior Lauren Duggan pitched a no-hitter on Tuesday against Hartford, but the Huskies were on the other side of a dominant pitching performance on Wednesday at Burrill Family Field.

The Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (22-7) picked up a 3-1 win behind a two-hitter from senior Laura Messina. She picked up her 18th win of the season for CCSU and recorded nine strikeouts along the way. UConn head coach Jen McIntyre knew it wouldn’t be easy facing the CCSU ace.

“Credit to her, she’s having a really good year,” McIntyre said. “We faced them in the fall and she did a really nice job against us. She’s got almost 200 strikeouts on the year.”

Messina’s 192 strikeouts come in only 151.1 innings pitched. Her ERA actually increased to 0.93 in the game on Wednesday. The only Husky that had any success at the plate against Messina was third baseman Emily O’Donnell. She picked up a base hit in the first inning and went deep in the seventh for her team-leading 6th home run of the season. The senior captain has been a consistent performer for UConn all year long.

“She has a really good command at the plate and really knows what pitches she’s looking for, so she’s definitely been a steady force for us,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre also continues to see improvement from starting pitcher Chelsea Eckert. The freshman went seven innings on Wednesday, giving up two earned runs on four hits and four walks.

“For the most part, she pitched pretty well,” McIntyre said. “She’s still working on getting into a groove and minimizing big innings.”

Despite the struggles at the plate against CCSU, UConn has been hitting much better in recent weeks and they hope this game was an outlier.

“The past four or five games our bats have been pretty hot,” McIntyre said. “We ran into a kid that’s a strikeout pitcher and we’re looking at this as a bump in the road. We’ll use this to learn how to make adjustments better throughout the game as we go into this weekend.”

The Huskies (15-24, 3-5 American) will make the trip to Texas this weekend for a three game series against conference foe Houston (19-23, 4-4 American). They are set to play a double-header Saturday and one game Sunday.

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