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Baseball Comeback Falls Short in Opener vs. Purdue

Eric Yavarone drove in a pair of runs from the nine-hole.

Feb. 15, 2013

Box Score

DUNEDIN, Fla. – The University of Connecticut baseball team fell behind 10-2 in the fifth inning and nearly came back as it fell 11-8 to Purdue in the season opener at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium after bringing the potential game-tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth on Friday evening.  The Huskies start the season 0-1 and are now 2-8 in season openers under Head Coach Jim Penders, while the Boilermakers, who received votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ poll, start 1-0.

UConn pushed across the first run of the game in the second inning as sophomore left fielder Eric Yavarone (North Haven, Conn.) singled to bring in sophomore right fielder Jon Testani (Monroe, Conn.) from second.  For the game, Yavarone went 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Testani went 2-for-4 with three runs and two RBI.

Purdue erupted for seven runs in the fourth inning, all with no outs, and chased junior lefty starter Anthony Marzi (Berlin, Conn.), who took the loss.  All runs were earned as Marzi hit three batters and gave up four hits; including back-to-back two-run doubles to left by sophomore second baseman Brandon Kreig and senior center fielder Stephen Talbott.

Testani would cross the plate for his second run of the day as Yavarone reached on a fielder’s choice and Testani scored from second on a throwing error by the Purdue second baseman.

Redshirt-sophomore Jordan Tabakman (Pompton Plains, N.J.) came on relief to pitch 3.2 innings, but allowed a three-run home run to junior left fielder Conner Hudnall in the fifth to extend the lead to 10-2.



The Huskies would cut the lead in half in the bottom of the sixth with four runs.  Senior second baseman LJ Mazzilli (Greenwich, Conn.), who carried over a 12-game hitting streak from 2012, led the inning off with a base hit, followed by a walk to freshman first baseman Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) and a single by junior shortstop Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.).  Senior DH Stanley Paul (Stamford, Conn.) drove in Mazzilli with a sac-fly to center and Testani delivered a two-run double down the left field line.  UConn added one more when Yavarone picked up his second RBI single of the day to bring in Testani for the third time.

Connecticut trimmed the lead to three in the sixth and two in the eighth.  In the sixth, Verdi doubled to right center; driving in Mazzilli, who reached on a fielder’s choice.  In the eight, freshman third baseman Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) led-off with a double to left center and scored on a base hit to left by Mazzilli.

The Boilermakers added an insurance run in the top of the ninth; an unearned run off of senior righty Will Jolin (Guilford, Conn.).  The Huskies threatened in the bottom half as sophomore catcher Connor David (Cheshire, Conn.) walked for the third time and redshirt-senior center fielder Billy Ferriter (Nashua, N.H.) singled, but Siena grounded into a force out to end the game.

Redshirt-junior RHP Brad Schrieber started for Purdue and took a no-decision in his first appearance since 2011 after sitting out 2012 due to Tommy John surgery.  He lasted four innings, struck out three, walked three, hit three and allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits.  Freshman righty Eddie De LaRiva earned the win in a 2.2-inning relief effort, despite allowing two runs on six hits.  Fellow freshman right Patrick Kenney pitched two innings to earn the save.

For the game, Connecticut left 12 runners on base, while Purdue stranded nine.

UConn returns to action tomorrow night against Indiana at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla.  First pitch is set for 7:30 and the action can be heard live on 91.7 FM WHUS.  Redshirt-sophomore Carson Cross (Exeter, N.H.) is scheduled to start for the Huskies.

Game Notes:
- LJ Mazzilli extended his hitting streak to 13 games; carried over from 2012.
- Anthony Marzi became the fourth straight lefty to start on opening day for UConn.
- UConn is now 0-4 all-time against Purdue and 14-28 against teams currently in the Big Ten.
- In two career opening day starts, Eric Yavarone is 3-for-6 with three RBI and one run scored.
- With the loss, UConn starts the year 0-1 against teams that played in last year's NCAA Tournament.
- Seven of 10 starters for UConn are from the state of Connecticut.