The UConn softball team got off to a nice start in their final conference road series of the year, but dropped two out of three to the East Carolina Pirates. The Huskies remain in sixth place in the American.
Senior Lauren Duggan got the start for UConn (17-30, 4-10 American) in game one and pitched admirably. She threw a complete game two-hitter, allowing one run on a solo shot from ECU sophomore Ali Ramirez. The Huskies tied the game at 1-1 on a sacrifice fly off the bat of junior Alyssa Gardea, scoring junior Lexi Gifford, who reached on a single. The game remained tied until the top of the 6th when junior catcher Jacklyn Dubois hit a solo home run to give UConn a 2-1 lead. The Huskies did not look back and added an insurance run in the 7th. Junior Heather Fyfe was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and pinch runner Ashley LaPenta came around to score on a Gifford RBI single. Duggan collected her 10th win of the season, her first double-digit win total in her four-year career.
The Huskies got off to a hot start in the second game of the series, but it was all down hill from there. Gifford and sophomore Taylor Townsend led off the game with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. A single by Dubois drove in Gifford and sophomore Dominique Pinto followed with a double to give her team a 2-0 lead. Freshman Chelsea Eckert got the start and cruised through the first inning. Then the wheels came off. ECU (16-36, 7-11 American) collected eight runs on eight hits, including a grand slam, in the bottom of the 2nd off of a combination of Eckert and Duggan. Sophomore Kayla Doty made her first appearance since April 3 and surrendered four runs, one earned, in an inning of work. ECU won by a final score of 15-3 in the mercy-rule shortened game.
The rubber match saw another struggle on the mound for UConn. Duggan got the start, but was unable to record an out before ECU scored six earned runs on four hits and two walks. Eckert came on in relief to pitch 2.2 innings and gave up five earned runs. Alyson Ambler saw time on the rubber as well, pitching the final 1.1 innings. ECU starter Lydia Ritchie stifled the Husky offense, which only collected two hits on the day. She went the full five innings in a 12-0 win for the Pirates.
UConn finishes the regular season with four home games at Burrill Family Field. They are set to face Quinnipiac on Wednesday and UMass on Thursday. Both games will begin at 4 p.m.