March 4, 2012
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Sophomore shortstop Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.) stepped to the plate with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and delivered a base hit to short to score freshman left fielder Eric Yavarone (North Haven, Conn.) with the game-winning run in a 6-5 walk-off win for the University of Connecticut baseball team. The Huskies trailed 5-1 entering the eighth inning and came back to defeat Lipscomb for the second time this weekend at the Mississippi State Tournament at Dudy Noble Field.
UConn improved to 4-6 on the season and with the late-inning heroics avoided its first three-game losing streak since 2009. The Bisons fell to 4-7 on the season with the loss.
The Huskies scored the first run of the ball game on a single to right field by redshirt-senior catcher Joe Pavone (Rochester, N.Y.) to bring across senior first baseman Ryan Fuller (Old Lyme, Conn.).
Lipscomb answered back in a big way, scoring five runs over the next three innings. In the fifth, senior DH M.L. Williams put the Bisons on top with a two-run double down the left field line. Lipscomb added two more runs in the sixth and one, while leaving the bases loaded, in the seventh.
In the eighth, the Connecticut bats came alive and scored four runs to tie the game at five, heading to the ninth. Junior center fielder Billy Ferriter (Nashua, N.H.) led-off with a triple past the center fielder and scored on a single to short by junior 2B LJ Mazzilli (Greenwich, Conn.). Verdi came up with two on and nobody out a put another triple by the center fielder to bring the Huskies within one run as Mazzilli and Fuller crossed the plate. Pavone came up next and picked up his second RBI single of the day with a groundball through the left side to score Verdi.
The ninth began with back-to-back singles by Yavarone and Ferriter. Mazzilli hit into a fielder’s choice and Fuller was intentionally walked to load the bases for Verdi. Verdi registered his third three-RBI game of the season with the game-winning hit, coming on a 0-1 count.
Redshirt-freshman righty Carson Cross (Brentwood, N.H.) picked up the win for Connecticut in just his second career appearance. He pitched 1.1 innings of perfect ball with a strikeout. Junior righty Pat Butler (Chatham, N.J.) started for the Huskies and walked away with a no-decision, having given up two runs on three hits, two walks and three strikeouts in five innings of work. Three of the five runs given up by UConn pitchers were unearned.
Senior LHP Gil Rehwinkel took the loss for Lipscomb, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks in 1.1 innings. Redshirt-junior righty Josh Cotham’s day was done after seven innings, nine hits, three runs and three strikeouts.
At the plate, Verdi and Pavone both posted three hits, while Fuller and Ferriter had two apiece. For the Bisons, junior shortstop Aaron Sandoval went 2-4 with one run and one RBI.
The Huskies head west next weekend for the NIKE Showcase, hosted by Oregon and Oregon State. Connecticut’s first game of the weekend is at 2:00 pm PT on Friday, March 9 against Oklahoma in Eugene, Ore.