May 2, 2014
MEMPHIS – The UConn baseball team scored four runs in the first inning and four more in extras to pick up a wild 8-5 win in 11 innings at Memphis on Friday night at FedExPark. The victory moves the Huskies to 22-23 on the year and 6-9 in The American, while the Tigers fall to 24-23 and 5-11 in league play.
Jack Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn.) scored on a fielder’s choice in the 11th inning before a two-run single from Connor David (Cheshire, Conn.) gave the Huskies a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Memphis forced extras with three runs in the bottom of the ninth, and tied the game again in the 10th after the Huskies re-took the lead.
The Huskies punched out 12 hits on the day, taking an early lead before the late-inning dramatics. Max McDowell (North Huntingdon, Pa.) led the charge with a 3-for-5, RBI performance, and Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.) and David each drove in two runs.
Sundberg and Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.) set the table for UConn in the win, each going 2-for-5 with a walk and two runs. Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) also had a multi-hit day for the Huskies, including a double.
Anthony Marzi (Berlin, Conn.) took the ball for UConn and was excellent, allowing one run in 7.1 innings with four hits, four walks and five strikeouts. Caleb Wallingford got the start for Memphis, and the Huskies put up four runs against The American’s ERA leader in six innings. Wallingford allowed eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts on the night.
UConn did all its damage against Wallingford in the first inning, jumping out to an early lead. Sundberg and Verdi singled to lead off the game, before Melley smashed a two-run double off the base of the right field wall. After a walk, McDowell cracked a double of his own to the left-center field gap, plating Melley. Bryan Daniello (Norwalk, Conn.) tacked on another run with an RBI groundout, and Connecticut took a 4-0 advantage.
The Tigers got a run back in the bottom of the first with an RBI groundout that cut the lead to three. Marzi retired 10 in a row after a hit in the first, before a wild pitch strikeout in the fourth allowed a runner to reach. With a runner on third and one out, Blake Davey (Newport Beach, Calif.) caught a fly ball in right field before firing a laser to McDowell at the plate for an inning-ending double play.
Marzi issued a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh, but got out of the inning unscathed thanks to a 6-4-3 double play ball and a long fly out that Sundberg ran down in the gap. The Tigers loaded the bases with one away in the bottom of the eighth, chasing Marzi in favor of Patrick Ruotolo (Peabody, Mass.). After McDowell made a sliding catch on a foul-out behind the plate, Ruotolo got a huge swining strikeout to leave the bases loaded.
The Tigers jumped all over Ruotolo to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, with a two-run double pulling them within one before a wild pitch tied the contest at 4-4. Ruotolo rebounded by retiring the next three batters in the inning to send it to extras.
Nico Darras (Laguna Beach, Calif.) led off the top of the 10th with a double, and was pinch-run for by Aaron Hill (Groton, Conn.). Hill moved to third on a McDowell fly out, and scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball. The lead was short lived, as Memphis picked up a solo home run off of David Mahoney (Colchester, Conn.) in the bottom of the frame to tie the contest again.
Sundberg drew a walk to open the 11th, and stole second before moving to third on a Verdi single. Davey’s RBI fielder’s choice gave UConn the lead again, and an error kept Verdi on base. Both runners moved up a base after a wild pitch, and after a walk David entered for Hill as a pinch-hitter before he delivered a two-run single to right field that gave the Huskies an 8-5 lead.
Mahoney (2-3) remained on for the 11th, and the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs before the Huskies gave way to Devin Over (Windsor, Conn.) out of the pen. Over fanned the lone batter he faced to strand the tying run on base, picking up his first career save and sealing the win.
Up next, the Huskies and Tigers continue their weekend series tomorrow afternoon. First pitch from Memphis is set for 3 p.m. with Jordan Tabakman (Pompton Plains, N.J.) taking the ball for Connecticut.
- UConn went to extra innings for the ninth time in 2014; the Huskies are 4-5 in extras this year.
- Anthony Marzi took sole possession of sixth in UConn history with 209 career strikeouts, passing Tom Germano (206).
- Jack Sundberg recorded his 12th multi-hit game of 2014 after tallying one during his freshman campaign a year ago.
- Nico Darras’ double in the top of the tenth extended his hitting streak to seven games, he is 11-for-20 (.550) over that stretch.
- Connor David also has a seven-game hitting streak
- Devin Over picked up his first career save.
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