May 10, 2009
STORRS, Conn. - Freshman George Springer recorded two homeruns as the UConn baseball team toppled Pittsburgh 8-5 in its Sunday afternoon BIG EAST Conference battle at J.O. Christian Field.
The Huskies put together a four-run second inning which was led by Springer's 15th homerun of the season. In the seventh inning, Springer added his 16th four-bagger of the year with a shot over the center field wall. With the two homeruns, Springer moves into a three-way tie for third place on the UConn single-season homeruns list.
UConn (29-22, 12-12 BIG EAST) improves to 34-23 all-time against Pittsburgh (26-18, 11-12 BIG EAST) after today's victory, while improving its record at J.O. Christian Field to 11-9 on the year.
The Huskies started things off in the bottom of the second inning, scoring four runs on five hits, led by Springer's 15th homerun of the season which was a leadoff solo shot over the right field wall.
Junior Peter Fatse followed Springer with a double to deep left center, his 16th of the year, before scoring on a Mike Olt single down the left field line. Olt advanced to third on a base hit up the middle by sophomore Joe Pavone then scored on a bunt single by Harold Brantley Jr.
Pavone also crossed the plate for the Huskies in the second inning as Pierre LePage grounded out to first base, giving Pavone the chance to score and put the Huskies up 4-0 early in the ballgame.
Springer led off the third inning for the Huskies, earning his way on base with an infield single before advancing to second on a fly out to deep center field by Fatse. Olt forced a walk to put runners on first and third as Springer moved to third base on a passed ball before Matt Burnett recorded his 42nd RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Springer and give UConn a 5-0 lead.
Senior Matt McDonald started for the Huskies in today's contest as he allowed just three hits in his first four innings thrown before a leadoff double by Joe Leonard and a walk put runners on first and second for the Panthers.
A sacrifice bunt put runners in scoring position with two outs for Pittsburgh as Tonte used a base hit to left field to score two runners and cut the UConn lead to three at 5-2.
A leadoff single for Olt in the sixth helped UConn tally another run as the sophomore was able to score on a Pavone single into the gap in right center.
The Panthers rallied in the seventh inning as they scored two runs on three hits as McDonald allowed two singles before a Tonte double to left field. The senior came out of the contest after getting two outs in the inning, leaving men on second and third for UConn reliever, Dusty Odenbach. Odenbach was able to strikeout the one batter that he faced but not before a failed pickoff attempt to second base scored another Pittsburgh run to make the score 6-4 in UConn's favor.
Pittsburgh relief pitcher, Kevin Dooley had some trouble in the seventh inning as he gave up a two-out homerun to Springer for his 16th of the year to put UConn up 7-4.
LePage gave UConn a four-run lead in the eighth with a two-out RBI single to right center off Pittsburgh's Ricky Breymier.
Senior captain David Erickson took the mound in the ninth to close the game out for the Huskies but prior to doing so he gave up a leadoff solo homerun to Pittsburgh's Leonard to make the score 8-5. Erickson struck out one in his inning thrown.
McDonald earned the win in today's game for his fourth (4-1) of the year as he allowed eight hits, three earned runs and two walks, while striking out five in 6.2 innings of work.
Panther's starter, David Kaye took the loss in today's game as he allowed nine hits and six runs in six innings thrown.
The Huskies will return to action on Monday, May 11 with a 3:00 p.m. non-conference battle against in-state rival Central Connecticut at J.O. Christian Field before heading to Boston, Mass. for another non-league match-up with the Boston College Eagles on Tuesday, May 12 at 4:00 p.m.