March 21, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - Junior RHP Pat Butler (Chatham, N.J.) pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out a season-high six batters, as the University of Connecticut baseball team shutout Yale University, 8-0, in its home opener at J.O. Christian Field on Wednesday afternoon. The Huskies snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 7-11, while the Bulldogs fell to 4-11-1.
"We haven't [lost four in a row] in a long while, it's been a few years, so it is good to get back on the beam," stated head coach Jim Penders following the win. "It was a nice crowd. I appreciate the people coming out. They were loyal and came out today. That was good to see and the kids responded, playing one of our better games."
Junior second baseman LJ Mazzilli (Greenwich, Conn.) extended his homerun streak to four games, having now blasted five in six games and six on the season, with a two-run homer in the first inning. Mazzilli now has a season-long nine-game hitting streak.
In the fifth inning, junior right fielder Ryan Moore (Bristol, Conn.) singled up the middle and Ferriter walked. Sophomore shortstop Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.) drove in his team-leading 16th run of the season on a single to short to score Moore. The lead was extended to 4-0 when Verdi stole second and the throw down bounced into center, scoring Ferriter from third.
With a runner on second and one out, freshman left fielder Eric Yavarone (North Haven, Conn.)
laced a double to the wall in left center, scoring Pavone in the sixth. Yavarone came around to score on single up the middle by freshman third baseman Jon Testani (Monroe, Conn.)
. Testani, making his first career start at third, went 2-4 with two RBI and his first career double.
Pavone doubled down the left field line on a unexpected bounce past the Yale third baseman to lead off the eighth. Yavarone knocked in Pavone for the second time and later scored on a groundball out to short by Testani.
The Huskies outhit the Bulldogs 11-3 for the game. Pavone and Yavarone each recorded their fifth multi-hit game of the season.
Butler finished the game on the long-side for the first time this season upping his record to 1-2, while, junior lefty Christopher O'Hare fell to 1-2 in the loss for Yale. O'Hare pitched only the first inning, giving up the two-run homerun to Mazzilli, and struck out one batter.
"I think [Butler] just needs to throw strikes," Penders said of his starting pitcher. "Today he was down [in the strike zone]. Like most guys, he gets better movement when he's down. He did his job, just two walks and then kind of settled in."
Overall, the Bulldogs use five different pitchers on the afternoon. Junior righties Dan Feehan (Nashua, N.H.) and Scott Oberg (Tewksbury, Mass.) pitched the eight and ninth innings, respectively. Feehan threw just seven pitches in the eighth and registered two strikeouts.
UConn has recorded an 8-0 shutout in both the home and season openers, previously defeating Indiana at the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge on February 17.
The Huskies return to the road as they embark on the BIG EAST portion of the schedule with a three-game series at West Virginia, beginning with a 5:00 pm contest on Friday, March 23.