March 16, 2014
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - The UConn baseball team jumped out to an early lead and held on late, topping Villanova by a score of 7-6 on Sunday afternoon at Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth. The game concluded UConn's time at the Big 5 Baseball Bash, where Connecticut went 3-0. The Huskies have now won four in a row and sit at 8-8 on the year, while Villanova drops to 5-12.
The Huskies pumped out 11 hits on the day and had seven runs by the fourth inning, with neither bullpen surrendering a run after the fifth frame. Aaron Hill (Groton, Conn.) led the way for UConn with a 2-for-3, two run, RBI day, and Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.) also had two hits in a 2-for-5, RBI outing.
Connor David (Cheshire, Conn.) had a multi-hit day and went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) was 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) and Eric Yavarone (North Haven, Conn.) also drove in runs for the Huskies, and Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.) went 1-for-2 with a walk.
Brian Ward (Milford, Conn.) made the start for UConn and went 2.2 innings, allowing five earned via three hits with four walks and two strikeouts. Max Almonte (1-1) got the start for Villanova and also didn't make it out of the third inning, going 2.1 frames and allowing six runs, three earned, on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Anthony Kay (Stony Brook) entered out of the pen for the Huskies in the third inning and lasted 3.1 innings, surrendering four hits and a run with two walks and four strikeouts to earn the win.
The Huskies jumped on the board in the second inning, following yesterday's nine-run second frame by scoring five in the inning. Melley got the inning started with a double, scoring on a McDowell single. McDowell came in to score on an error, before Hill and Sundberg rapped out back-to-back run-scoring singles. Yavarone made it 5-0 by plating Hill with an RBI groundout to end the scoring in the big inning.
UConn tacked on another run in the top of the third, when Darras singled home Melley to make it 6-0. Villanova responded with five runs in the bottom half of the inning, getting on the board with an RBI double before a balk with a runner on third cut the lead to 6-2. After the Wildcats loaded the bases with two away in the inning, Kay (2-1) entered the game for Ward and allowed a pair of singles and a bases loaded walk before ending the inning with a strikeout and the score 6-5.
Davey stretched the Connecticut lead back to two with an RBI double to left field in the top of the fourth, but Villanova got it right back to one with a run in the bottom of the fifth. After a scoreless sixth for both sides, Patrick Ruotolo (Peabody, Mass.) entered for Kay in the bottom of the seventh. Ruotolo surrendered a leadoff single, but struck out the next three Wildcats he faced to send the game to the eighth.
Ruotolo retired two in the bottom of the eighth, with UConn going to David Mahoney (Colchester, Conn.) with a runner on first and two away. Villanova picked up an infield single against Mahoney, but the next batter grounded out to Melley to end the threat. Mahoney remained in to close the game out in the bottom of the ninth, working out of a two-on, two-out jam to pick up UConn's first save of the year and seal the 7-6 win.
Up next, UConn travels to Florida for the start of a five-game stretch in the Sunshine State, including the start of American Athletic Conference play. Before the Huskies jump into league play, they will take on Harvard and Central Connecticut in Winter Haven, Fla. First up is the Crimson on Tuesday, March 18 at 10 a.m.
- UConn is now 37-24 all-time against Villanova.
- David Mahoney recorded the first save for a UConn pitcher this year.
- The Huskies won their three games at the Big 5 Baseball Bash by a combined score of 33-8.
- Bobby Melley was 7-for-12 with six runs scored and four RBIs in the tournament.
- Aaron Hill is 8-for-16 with six runs scored, four RBIs and a stolen base during UConn's four-game win streak.