April 20, 2012
STORRS, Conn. – Ryan Fuller homered twice in game one and Tim Martin came through with a game-winning hit in the 10th innings of game two as the University of Connecticut baseball team swept Rutgers in an afternoon doubleheader at J.O. Christian Field on Friday. The Huskies won both games by a score of 9-8 as they improved to 23-16 overall and 11-3 in the BIG EAST. The Scarlet Knights dropped to 21-17 and 7-7.
Fuller, a senior first baseman from Old Lyme, Conn., homered for the second straight game in the top of the first of game one to give UConn a 2-0 lead. The Huskies led 7-1 after the fifth, but relinquished the lead by giving up seven runs in the sixth and seventh innings to trail 8-7. Martin led-off the bottom of the eighth with a walk and Fuller stepped to the plate and belted his second homer of the day over the trees beyond the wall in left field to put Connecticut on top 9-8.
Senior RHP David Fischer (Scotia, N.Y.) went 5.2 innings in the start, striking out seven and allowing four runs, three earned, on five hits and three walks. Redshirt-junior RHP Scott Oberg (Tewksbury, Mass.) improved to 4-0 with the win in 2.1 innings of relief.
Junior righty Tyler Gebler was tagged for seven runs on 12 hits in 4.2 innings for the Scarlet Knights, but the loss went to redshirt-junior righty Charlie Law (1-3).
The second game had a completely different tone than the first. The Huskies trailed 7-2 after the sixth inning and climbed back into the game with a four-run seventh inning. Four different players recorded a RBI in the inning, including a pinch-hit double by junior Stanley Paul (Stamford, Conn.). UConn got within one after junior second baseman LJ Mazzilli (Greenwich, Conn.), who doubled in Martin, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Fuller.
Connecticut was able to keep it a one-run game in the top of the eighth on a terrific defensive play by Mazzilli. With one out and a runner on third, Mazzilli barehanded a groundball and threw home to nail the runner at the plate for the second out.
In the bottom of the eighth, sophomore shortstop Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.) hit a lead-off double down the left field line. Verdi remained at second after a pair of fly ball outs to center, but would later score the game-tying run on Paul’s second double of the game, both coming against left-handed pitchers for the left-handed hitter.
Freshman left fielder Eric Yavarone (North Haven, Conn.) started the bottom of the 10th with a lead-off single and was replaced at first by Paul on a fielder’s choice. Redshirt-junior center fielder Billy Ferriter (Nashua, N.H.) singled through the left side to give the Huskies first and second with one out. Martin stepped to the dish and singled through the right side on a 1-1 pitch to bring in Paul from second with the game-winning run.
Sophomore lefty Brian Ward (Milford, Conn.) was a late addition to the lineup for Connecticut and went three innings in the start, allowing five runs, three earned, on five hits. The bullpen kept Rutgers within striking distance as the offense came to life in the late innings. Junior righty Dan Feehan (Nashua, N.H.) earned the win in 1.1 innings of relief to lift his record to 1-1.
Junior LHP Rob Smorol pitched well early for the Scarlet Knights, but his day ended after allowing five runs on seven hits over 6.1 innings, while striking out five. The loss went to junior RHP Jerry Elsing (0-2).
At the plate, Martin went 6-9 on the day with four runs scored and three RBI. He went 3-3 in game win and reached base in all five plate appearances with a pair of walks. Fuller totaled six RBI on the afternoon and was 4-5 with three runs and five RBI in the opener.
For Rutgers, junior third baseman Patrick Kivlehan went 4-6 with three RBI and two runs in game one, while junior DH Jeff Melillo went 3-6 with four runs scored, including a three-run homer in the opener.
Connecticut and Rutgers will play game three of the weekend series tomorrow at 12:00 pm at Dodd Stadium.