Feb. 19, 2012
CLEARWATER, Fla. – The University of Connecticut baseball team wrapped up the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge with a six-inning 9-5 loss to Ohio State at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Huskies left Florida with a 1-2 record, while the Buckeyes improved to 2-1.
UConn put three runs on the board in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game 4-4. OSU responded with a five-run sixth against the Connecticut bullpen to go up 9-4.
Ohio State scored an unearned run in the first inning on sophomore lefty starter Anthony Marzi (Berlin, Conn.), making his first collegiate start. UConn pulled even in the bottom of the second after senior third baseman Ryan Fuller (Old Lyme, Conn.) tripled to center to lead off and was brought in by a single to center off the bat of sophomore shortstop Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.).
The Buckeyes regained the lead with a two-run homerun from senior first baseman Josh Desze. Ohio State tacked on one more run to chase Marzi after 4.2 innings, five hits, four runs and five strikeouts. Desze would finish the game 2-4 with four runs batted in and one scored.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, following a single by junior second baseman LJ Mazzilli (Greenwich, Conn.)
and Fuller reaching on a hit by pitch, Verdi picked up his second RBI of the day by driving in Mazzilli from third with a base hit to center. Senior designated hitter John Sulzicki (Stratford, Conn.)
, one of just two lefty bats in the UConn lineup, stepped to the plate and double to center field to bring around Fuller and Verdi, knotting the game at 4-4.
Redshirt-freshman RHP Carson Cross (Brentwood, N.H.), who finished the fifth for the Huskies, was replaced by redshirt-junior RHP Scott Oberg (Tewksbury, Mass.) after giving up back-to-back hits. Oberg toed the rubber with runners on the corners and no outs in his first appearance since Connecticut was eliminated from the 2010 NCAA Regional against Oregon. Oberg walked four batters and allowed three hits before being relieved by redshirt-senior LHP Ted Hurvul (Monroe, Conn.). Hurvul, making his second straight appearance, fanned the lone batter he faced to end the visitor’s half of the sixth.
Connecticut threatened to cut into the Ohio State lead in the bottom half, but plated just one run after loading the bases with just one out. Junior center fielder Ryan Moore (Bristol, Conn.), making his first start of the season, doubled to left with one out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Fuller.
Cross took the loss for UConn, while junior righty David Fathalikhani earned the win for OSU after recording the last out of the fifth. Sophomore RHP Greg Greve went 4.2 innings in the start and allowed four runs on seven hits and struck out three.
The Huskies now hold a 5-7 all-time record in the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge.
UConn is back in action next weekend at the Cougar Invitational, hosted by the College of Charleston on February 24-26, when they face Xavier, CofC and Rhode Island.