May 7, 2010


Connecticut streaks to top spot in Big East

By Brian Buckey

Special to


It lasted about a month, 33 days to be exact.


From March 27 to April 28, Connecticut rolled to a school-record 22 consecutive wins, propelling the Huskies to a 35-9 record and sole possession of first place in the Big East.


"I think we handled it really well," Head Coach Jim Penders (right) said of the streak. "We treated it as 22 one-game win streaks. We just focused on the next game on the schedule. But we played at a really high level for a month and that doesn't usually happen."


The run saw a bit of everything. There were close games, including three one-run games and two games decided in extra innings. There were blowouts, including six games that were decided by 10 or more runs. Overall, though, the Huskies overwhelmed their opponents, outscoring them by a total of 231-87.


"That was pretty cool," junior infielder Mike Nemeth (left)  said. "I've never been a part of something like that. It's something really special to be in the midst of that."


The Huskies, who were picked to finish third in the Big East in the preseason coaches' poll, now sit alone atop the standings with Louisville and Pittsburgh close behind. UConn is 14-3 in conference while Louisville is 14-4 and Pittsburgh is 13-4.


"It's nice to be the lead dog for a change and have people chasing you," Penders said. "But we still have a lot of teams chasing us."


The win streak might have come as a surprise to some after the Huskies finished last season with a 36-24 overall record and a 14-13 mark in the Big East. This year's team returns only three seniors from last year's squad, but is led by a strong sophomore and junior class.


"The strength of our team talent-wise is in the sophomore and junior class," Penders said. "The sophomores really push the juniors and the juniors push the sophomores. I think the sophomores really changed the culture of the weight room in the offseason. We had a very competitive offseason and it led to a very competitive early season."


After an 11-3 loss to Louisville in the Big East finals last year, the Huskies have their sights set this year on a Big East regular season and conference title.


"Definitely to make it back to the Big East Championship Game, if not win it, and then to win the regular season outright. That was definitely the biggest team goal that I really thought we could do with the talent that we have," Nemeth said.


UConn split a doubleheader at Pittsburgh on May 1, recording their second loss in three games. After such a long win streak, the Huskies aren't accustomed to losing.


"We showed everybody that we wanted to win and we felt like we knew how to win," junior pitcher Elliot Glynn (right) said. "When you lose it's kind of a big deal and I think in the past it really wasn't that way. If we lose, which we have last week, it wasn't a good feeling. Everybody was kind of down. It felt weird and that's a good thing. We have a team that doesn't want to lose and you can't ask for anything else."


(UConn took two of three from Cincinnati this past weekend to improve to 37-10 overall and 16-4 in the Big East, just ahead of Louisville at 16-5 and Pittsburgh at 15-5).


(photos courtesy of UConn Media Relations Office)