May 14, 2011
STORRS, Conn. - With a 7-5 victory over the Louisville Cardinals in game one of today's doubleheader, the University of Connecticut baseball team won its first-ever BIG EAST baseball regular-season championship title. Also during the first game, George Springer (New Britain, Conn.) posted his 11th home run of the season and became UConn's all-time leader with 45 career homers.
After giving up three runs in the top of the fourth inning in game one, Springer blasted a home run to left field driving in John Andreoli (Shrewbury, Mass.) who reached base on a single to shortstop. Springer's homer brought the Huskies within one run, and Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.) tied the ballgame at 3-3 after scoring on a Billy Ferriter (Nashua, N.H.) single through the right side in the bottom of the fifth.
The Cardinals and the Huskies each tallied a run in the sixth inning, Louisville scoring on a single through the left side and Ryan Fuller (Old Lyme, Conn.) recording his fourth homer of the season, as he belted one to left field.
The Huskies broke open the game in the following inning, as they posted three runs on four hits after allowing another Louisville run in the top half of the frame. UConn had hits from Tim Martin (Stratford, Conn.), LJ Mazzilli (Greenwich, Conn.), Ferriter and Andreoli in the bottom of the seventh, as Martin, Ferriter and Mazzilli each crossed the plate for the Huskies to give them a 7-5 lead going into the top of the eighth.
Will Jolin (Guilford, Conn.) came on in relief of Greg Nappo (Madison, Conn.) in the top of the eighth and made quick work of the Cardinals, striking out the first two and throwing out the third to put the Huskies just three outs away from capturing the regular-season title.
Martin notched UConn's lone hit in the bottom of the eighth, a single up the middle, giving Louisville another chance to come back, but the Cardinals couldn't get anything going offensively in their last at bat. The Huskies posted three straight outs to close the game and earn the 2011 BIG EAST Regular Season title.
Nappo worked seven innings for the Huskies during game one, picking up his eighth win of the year as he notched three strikeouts, allowing two earned runs on six hits. Kevin Vance (Solona Beach, Calif.) pitched one inning of relief for the Huskies, posting one strikeout while also notching his 18th save of his career. Vance is now tied for third all-time with his 18 career saves. Louisville's Justin Amlung picked up the loss for the Cardinals after allowing six earned runs on 11 hits.
With his hit in the bottom of the fourth, Andreoli extended his hit streak to 21 games, before it was snapped in game two of the doubleheader.
The Huskies dropped game two of the doubleheader, 6-3 in 10 innings as their record now stands at 36-14-1 overall and 20-4 in conference play.
Entering the bottom of the eighth inning the Huskies were trailing 3-0 once again, but after four singles UConn was able to tie the ballgame at 3-3 going into the top of the ninth. Ferriter and Mazzilli started the inning with back-to-back singles, followed by a sacrifice fly from Andreoli to drive in Ferriter. Mazzilli then scored on a Mike Nemeth (Washington, N.J.) single through the right side and Springer scored on another sacrifice fly, this time from Fuller.
UConn was able to keep the Cardinals off the board in the top half of the ninth inning, and despite having the bases loaded with no outs, they weren't able to come up with the winning run, sending the game into extra innings. The game marked just the second extra inning game for the Huskies this season.
With two outs, Louisville put two men on base in the top of the 10th and then Stewart Ijames blasted his 11th homer of the season to right center, giving the Cardinals the 6-3 lead. UConn was only able to put someone on base after a Louisville error in the bottom half of the inning, as the Cardinals came away with the 6-3 win.
Dan Feehan (Nashua, N.H.) got the loss for the Huskies in game two, after giving up the homer in the top of the 10th inning. Feehan worked 2.2 innings, and posted a career-high six strikeouts. Louisville's Andy Flett was credited with the win after working 1.2 innings and allowing two hits.
On the day, Ferriter was 5-for-7 with two RBI, while Martin was 3-for-6 with one double. During game one, Martin went 3-for-4 with one run and Ferriter was 2-for-3 with one run and two RBI. Ferriter once again led the offense during game two, as he was 3-for-4 with one run, while Nemeth was the only other Husky to post multiple hits, going 2-for-5 with one RBI.
The Huskies will take a break from BIG EAST action this week, as they travel to Rhode Island for a 2:00 p.m. game on Monday (May 16) and then travel to Northeastern for a 3:00 p.m. contest on Tuesday (May 17).