Feb. 24, 2012
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MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – Sophomore LHP Brian Ward (Milford, Conn.) tossed his second quality start in two tries and freshman center fielder Eric Yavarone (North Haven, Conn.) continued to roll at the plate as the University of Connecticut baseball team ran off with a 7-2 win over Xavier at the Cougar Invitational, hosted by the College of Charleston at Patriots Point, on Friday afternoon. The Huskies evened their record at 2-2, while the Musketeers fell to 1-3.
Ward threw seven innings, allowing just four hits for the second straight start and gave up two runs, while collecting four strikeouts. The reigning BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week improved to 2-0 on the season. Yavarone went 2-4 at the plate, including the first homerun of his career. Through his first four collegiate games he is 6-11 with three runs and three RBI.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the third, sophomore right fielder Anthony Aceto (North Providence, R.I.) led off for UConn with a double to right center and scored the team’s first run of the game on a single through the left side by senior third baseman Tim Martin (Stratford, Conn.). Martin came around with the go-ahead run on the very next play of the game as junior second baseman LJ Mazzilli (Greenwich, Conn.) tripled to right center and later crossed the plate on a base hit to center by senior first baseman Ryan Fuller (Old Lyme, Conn.).
An inning later, the UConn lineup produced four more runs, behind a pair of homeruns, to extend the lead to 7-2. Senior DH John Sulzicki (Stratford, Conn.)
led-off with a solo homerun to right field, his second career homer, and was followed by a two-run shot off the bat of Yavarone. The first homerun of Yavarone’s career came in his first start in both the lead-off role and in center field.
Fuller and sophomore shortstop Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.) each finished the day 2-4, with Fuller lifting his team-leading RBI total to six with two run-scoring singles.
Ward’s day was done after the seventh and redshirt-junior RHP Will Jolin (Guilford, Conn.) made his first appearance of the season. Jolin kept the Xavier bats quiet and gave up just one hit in two innings of work.
Redshirt-sophomore righty Vinny Nittoli started and took the loss for the Musketeers. He lasted just 3.1 innings, giving up six runs on nine hits. Freshman southpaw Alex Westrick pitched 3.2 innings in relief and allowed one unearned run on just two hits, while striking out three.
Junior left fielder Daniel Rod singled twice for Xavier, while sophomore catcher Joey Noble picked up a RBI triple and scored.
It was the first meeting between the two squads in program history.
The Huskies return to action tomorrow evening when they play the host College of Charleston Cougars at 5:00 pm.