March 30, 2012
STORRS, Conn. – The University of Connecticut baseball team won game one of a BIG EAST doubleheader against Seton Hall, 2-1 in 11 innings, at J.O. Christian Field on Friday afternoon. Game two was suspended due to darkness after the last of the eighth innings with the Huskies trailing, 10-6. Following the first game of the day, UConn’s record stands at 13-11 overall and 4-0 in league play, while SHU is 12-13 and 1-3.
Game two is tentatively scheduled to resume at 1:00 pm Saturday afternoon and immediately followed by game three of the weekend series.
“We’ve got to loosen up a little bit with runners in scoring position,” head coach Jim Penders commented on the Huskies game one performance. “We struggled like crazy to score some runs. I felt like that game was going to have to end on something that was given to us and that’s not a good feeling to have.”
Redshirt-junior center fielder Billy Ferriter (Nashua, N.H.) was a driving force for Connecticut, connecting for seven hits in nine at-bats on the day. He has totaled three RBI, two runs and two stolen bases. Junior second baseman LJ Mazzilli (Greenwich, Conn.) kept his hit streak alive in the first game, extending it to 15 games, but was hitless through four plate appearances during the nightcap. Mazzilli will be guaranteed one more chance, since he will be on deck when play resumes.
In game one, senior right-hander David Fischer (Scotia, N.Y.) made the start for the Huskies and pitched a career-high eight innings in a no decision. Fischer allowed just one unearned run on four hits and three walks, while striking out five. Redshirt-junior right-hander Scott Oberg (Tewksbury, Mass.) came on to pitch the ninth and stayed on for both extra innings, earning his first win of the season. Oberg, now 1-0, gave up just one hit and struck out three.
“Fischer was excellent, Oberg was great,” Penders said of his game one pitchers. “[Fischer] had really good fastball location, down in the zone, good movement and he was up to 95 miles per hour. I thought his poise was great. When we made mistakes behind him, he made a couple big punch outs that showed me an awful lot.”
The game was a pitcher’s duel from the start. Seton Hall junior righty Jon Prosinski was nearly perfect through three innings, until a fly ball off the bat of UConn junior right fielder Ryan Moore (Bristol, Conn.) was lost in the sun and dropped for a triple in center field. Moore went another 90 feet with the games first run on a defensive swing by Ferriter that stayed on the infield for a single up the third base line.
Fischer had retired nine in a row before the Pirates offense scratched across their first run of the game. With one out in the top of the sixth and the bases loaded, freshman third baseman Kyle Grimm grounded out to shortstop scoring junior shortstop Giuseppe Papaccio from third to tie the game at 1-1.
The Huskies left seven runners stranded between the eighth and 10th inning, including leaving the go-ahead or game-winning run in scoring position on all three occasions. Connecticut also grounded into inning-ending double plays in both the eighth and ninth inning.
In the bottom of the 11th, freshman third baseman Jon Testani (Monroe, Conn.) drew a lead-off walk and went first to third on a base hit through the right side by junior left fielder Stanley Paul (Windsor, Conn.). Ferriter was intentionally walked to load the bases. With two outs, Mazzilli came to the plate and the first pitch was a wild one from SHU junior lefty Ed Ras, bringing in Testani with the winning run.
Sophomore lefty Brian Ward (Milford, Conn.) returned to the hill for the Huskies in game two, his first start since March 16. Ward lasted four innings, giving up six runs, three earned, on seven hits. For the Pirates, junior righty Ryan Harvey pitched six innings, allowing six runs, five earned, on nine hits and struck out seven. Harvey is in line for the win, while Ward remains in line for the loss.