Breaking down the competition in the Gainesville Regional: UConn

The Florida Gators are set to host UConn, Texas Tech, and Florida A&M inside Condron Family Ballpark for the 2023 NCAA Regional Tournament from June 2-5.

Gator Country breaks down the competition in the Gainesville Regional.


Despite finishing the season ranked 10th in D1Baseball’s top 25, the Huskies found themselves as a two seed in the NCAA Tournament. This was due to UConn’s poor strength of schedule, which landed Jim Penders’ ballclub at No.22 in the Rating Percentage Index (RPI), a metric the NCAA Selection Committee heavily considers when grouping teams for Regionals.

UConn enters the Regionals holding a record of 43-15 (15-5 Big East) and is coming in off a loss to Xavier in the Big East Tournament Championship.

The Huskies played just four games against teams in the NCAA Tournament field (64), posting a record of 2-2 against postseason teams. UConn split against Boston College, defeated Central Connecticut State 10-4, and lost 3-12 to Northeastern. Other notable series include a split of Ohio State, a sweep of Florida Atlantic University, and a series win against San Diego State.

UConn holds a team batting average of .305, which ranks 25th in division one baseball. The Huskies rank 18th in base on balls, boosting their on base percentage to .415, the 20th highest in the country.

Look for the Huskies to be aggressive on the base paths as they’ve racked up 118 stolen bases in 2023, the 15th most in college baseball.

While not known for their power hitting, UConn is capable of hitting the long ball, launching 77 home runs throughout the 2023 season. The Huskies have three players with double-digit home run totals, all while playing in a pitcher friendly ballpark.

Jim Penders squad pitched to a team ERA of 4.86 across 517 innings in 2023, ranking 56th in the country. Their primary starters hold ERAs of 4.75 (Stephen Quigley), 5.28 (Jack Sullivan), 5.74 (Ian Cook), and 6.24 (Andrew Sears).

UConn’s bullpen appears to be the strength of their pitching staff as they have six relief pitchers with 20+ appearances holding an ERA of 4.88 or less.


LHP Zach Fogell – The graduate student posted an ERA of 1.74 across 34 appearances and 41.1 innings pitched while working to an 8-0 record out of the bullpen. Fogell hasn’t reached the 50-inning requirement to be nationally recognized, but he would rank third in all of college baseball with a 1.74 ERA.

RHP Justin Willis – The Huskies closer worked to a 3.32 ERA across 21.2 innings pitched while recording 11 saves, just five behind the college baseball leader.

First baseman Ben Huber – The South Carolina native started 49 games for the Huskies this season posting a slash line of .330/.433/.675 while blasting a team high 16 home runs.

Infielder / Outfielder David Smith – Smith is someone that Florida will need to keep a close eye on when he reaches base as he has 38 stolen bases on just 43 attempts, the fourth most in the country. He also holds a batting average of .305 and an on base percentage of .434.


I could go on and on about the offensive players you should watch for as UConn has six players over the .300 batting average mark and eight over .287. However, these players haven’t quite seen the heavy dose of pitching talent that they will see in Gainesville.

As for UConn’s pitching staff, the Gators shouldn’t have a problem handling whoever the Huskies throw Florida’s way this weekend. Look for Florida to score runs early and often shall they face UConn this weekend.

From the surface, it looks like UConn was a tough two seed draw for the Gators, but after diving a little deeper, the Huskies have not been battle tested and seem to have some flaws in their pitching staff, which Florida’s dangerous lineup should be able to take advantage of. With that being said, winning 40+ games is impressive in any conference, making UConn capable of advancing to the Super Regionals.





Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.