Feb. 18, 2012
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The University of Connecticut baseball team held a narrow 4-3 lead heading into the late innings of Saturday afternoon's game against Purdue at the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, but the Boilermakers put up back-to-back three-run innings to defeat the Huskies 9-4 at the Walter Fuller Complex. The loss was the first of the season for UConn who moved to 1-1, while it was a season-opening win for Purdue, whose first game was postponed yesterday due to inclement weather.
Clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, senior RHP David Fischer (Scotia, N.Y.) came on in relief of junior starter Pat Butler (Chatham, N.J.) with one runner on and nobody out. Fischer stranded the potential tying run on second with three consecutive strikeouts. In his second inning of work, Fischer gave up three runs on four hits, one walk, one fielder's choice and a balk.
Fischer wound up taking the loss in two innings of work after allowing five runs on six hits and striking out five. Butler, a right-handed pitcher, was pulled after facing one batter in the fifth and giving up three runs, two earned, while allowing six hits and striking out two batters.
UConn jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning, with clutch, two-out hitting carrying over from last night's 8-0 win over Indiana. With two outs, junior second baseman LJ Mazzilli (Greenwich, Conn.) smacked the Huskies' first homerun of the season, with a blast to left field. Senior first baseman Ryan Fuller (Old Lyme, Conn.), redshirt-senior catcher Joe Pavone (Rochester, N.Y.) and sophomore shortstop Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.) rattled off three-straight singles, with Verdi's base knock plating Fuller with the second run of the inning. Pavone, who missed all of last season, singled up the middle for his first since a 2-6 performance against Central Connecticut in the 2010 NCAA Regional at Dodd Stadium on June 5 of that year.
Butler took the mound in the bottom of the first put the first two batters he faced on base with a single by Purdue senior center fielder Tyler Spillner and hit redshirt-senior 2B Eric Charles with a pitch. With two outs, senior right fielder Barrett Serrato doubled to left center to plate Charles and junior catcher Kevin Plawecki.
The Boilermakers grabbed their first lead of the game when Plawecki grounded into a bases loaded double play to score Spillner, an unearned run for Butler.
In the top of the fifth, Connecticut continued to produce with two outs. Junior center fielder Billy Ferriter (Nashua, N.H.) led off the inning with a single to right and was sacrificed to second by senior third baseman Tim Martin (Stratford, Conn.). With two outs, Fuller singled to right center, scoring Ferriter to even the score. Fuller moved into scoring position with his first stolen base of the season and scored on a single to left center by Pavone.
Senior righty Joe Haase lasted five innings and gave up all four runs on eight hits in a no-decision, while senior lefty Blake Mascarello earned the win out of the bullpen with a four inning, two-hit effort.
Fuller, Pavone and freshman left fielder Eric Yavarone (North Haven, Conn.) all recorded two-hit games for the Huskies. For Purdue, Spillner and Charles each posted two hits and combined for four runs at the top of the Boilermaker order.
The Huskies wrap up their weekend with a 1:00 pm first pitch against Ohio State at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium in Clearwater, tomorrow afternoon.