Brian Ward tossed 5.2 scoreless innings, striking out six
Feb. 23, 2014
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The UConn baseball team picked up its first shutout of the season and topped Illinois, 6-0, on Sunday morning at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. The game was UConn's final one in the Caravelle Resort's Baseball at the Beach Tournament, and the Huskies went 3-0 in tournament play. UConn moves to 3-3 on the year with the win and Illinois drops to 2-4.
Brian Ward (Milford, Conn.) got the start for UConn and was excellent in 5.2 scoreless innings of work. The senior lefty finished his day with six strikeouts and surrendered two hits and five walks. John Kravetz got the ball for Illinois and lasted four innings, allowing three runs, none earned, and five hits to go with a strikeout and two walks.
The Huskies recorded a season-high 14 hits in the victory, paced by a 3-for-6 outing from Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.). The sophomore also scored a run and drove one in, and has hit safely in all six games this season. Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) and Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.) both went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run, and Sundberg also added a walk. Eric Yavarone (North Haven, Conn.) went 2-for-5 for UConn, and Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.) was the fifth Husky to secure a multi-hit day by going 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs.
Aaron Hill (Groton, Conn.) led off the top of the third by reaching on an error, before Sundberg took first on a bunt single to set the table in the inning. Yavarone sacrificed the two runners over to second and third, before Siena knocked in Hill with a single to right field. Sundberg came around to score after Melley grounded into a fielder's choice, and UConn took an early 2-0 lead.
The Huskies loaded the bases in the top of the fourth after Hill and Sundberg worked two-out walks, but Kravetz froze Yavarone with a curveball to escape the threat. Ward struck out the side in the bottom half of the inning, before Siena led off the fifth with a double to chase Kravetz (0-1). Siena eventually came around to score on a passed ball strikeout, before Connor David (Cheshire, Conn.) knocked in Daniello with an RBI single to build the UConn lead to 4-0.
Ward (1-1) issued a two-out walk in the bottom of the sixth to end his day, with Andrew Zapata (Staten Island, N.Y.) relieving him out of the pen. Zapata walked the first two Illini batters he faced to load the bases, but worked out of the jam with a groundout back to the mound.
The Huskies posted a pair of runs in the seventh thanks to an RBI double from Davey, who came around to score on a Sundberg sac-fly. Zapata worked scoreless innings in the seventh and eight for UConn, finishing his day with 2.1 clean frames. David Mahoney (Colchester, Conn.) entered for the Huskies in the bottom of the ninth, tossing a scoreless inning and capping the victory with a swinging strikeout.
Up next, UConn continues its early season southern tour when it visits Nashville for its first set of true road games. The Huskies will battle the Bisons of Lipscomb on Feb. 28-March 2 in a non-conference road series.
- UConn's offense notched at least 12 hits in every game in Myrtle Beach, totaling 39 over the three games. The Huskies had a season-high 14 hits in the win today.
- The Connecticut pitching staff allowed three runs in 28 innings over the course of the tournament, including 12.1 scoreless innings from the bullpen.
- Jack Sundberg had multiple hits in all three games, finishing 8-for-13 in the tournament
- Eric Yavarone hit safely in all three games at the tournament, going 7-for-13 at the plate
- Vinny Siena's third inning single extended his hitting streak to 11 games, dating back to last season. He has hit safely in all six games this year and has reached base in 17 straight games. Siena also posted his first three-hit day of the season.
- Overall in UConn's three games in the tournament, the Huskies out-scored their opponents 19-3.