May 16, 2009
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. - UConn scored six runs in the fifth inning to jump to a five-run lead en route to its 33rd win of the season as the Huskies downed Villanova 16-6 in their final regular season game of the 2009 season. The Huskies will head to Clearwater, Fla. on Sunday for the 2009 BIG EAST Baseball Championship to be held at Bright House Field Tuesday, May 19 - Saturday, May 23.
With today's victory, UConn improves to 33-23 on the year and 14-13 in BIG EAST play and will be the No. 6 seed in the conference championship. The Huskies will meet No. 3 seed West Virginia in their first game of the double-elimination tournament on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.
In this afternoon's battle, sophomore Pierre LePage led the Huskies with a 4-for-5 performance along with two runs scored and five RBI. Matt Burnett also went 4-for-5 with three runs and two RBI, while Harold Brantley Jr was 2-for-2 with two runs as UConn took the conference series two games to one.
The Huskies took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning as LePage led off the game with a single before scoring on a double up the middle by freshman George Springer, marking his 56th RBI of the year. In the second inning, the Huskies built their lead to 4-0 with three runs on two hits. Burnett led off the inning with a base hit to left center before advancing to third on a hit batter and sacrifice bunt. He then scored on a LePage groundout.
Freshman Nick Ahmed walked to put runners on first and third for the Huskies to set up a big hit from sophomore Mike Nemeth, who hit his team-leading 20th double of the season into the right center gap to clear the bases and put the Huskies up by four.
Villanova battled their way back into the game, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second inning, as UConn's starting pitcher, David Fischer, loaded the bases on a walk, a base hit and a hit batter. After a sacrifice fly by Marlon Calbi, Joe Cotter doubled down the left field line to empty the bases and cut the UConn lead to one run.
In the third inning, the Wildcats took a 5-4 lead with two runs on three hits, including another Villanova double, this time by David Koczirka. The Huskies tied the game at five in the top of the fourth as Brantley singled to start the inning then stole second to get into scoring position. LePage added another RBI to his tally on the afternoon with a single up the middle to score Brantley.
The Wildcats jumped on top once again with a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the inning as Doug Jennings came in for Fischer on the hill. Jennings threw just 0.2 innings and left the game with runners on first and second with two outs. Senior Dennis Accomando replaced Jennings as he struck out Wesley Borden, but not before an infield throwing error scored Villanova's go ahead run.
UConn's big inning came in the top of the fifth as the Huskies scored six runs to take an 11-6 advantage. Springer led off the frame with a single, marking his second hit of the contest then stole second before tagging up on a fly out by Peter Fatse to get to third base. Sophomore Mike Olt scored Springer with a single through the left side of the infield before scoring on a Joe Pavone base hit to right. With runners on first and third and one out, Michael Mayer replaced Chris Pack on the mound and gave up a single down the left field line by Brantley, as he also picked up an RBI as Burnett scored on the play.
LePage followed with a two-bagger of his own to record two more RBI on the afternoon. He then scored as Ahmed singled to center to give the Huskies the five-run lead.
UConn added another run in the top of the sixth as LePage continued to dominate offensively for the Huskies with a base hit to center field to score Burnett, who doubled to get on base earlier in the inning. UConn took the 12-6 lead on LePage's fifth RBI of the contest.
The Huskies did not let up as they added four more runs throughout the final three innings, led by a two-run seventh inning, which was sparked by an RBI double by Pavone. In the eighth, Burnett recorded an RBI single to score Fatse before a Dale Brannon RBI single through the left side of the infield in the ninth frame scored another UConn run. Freshman John Andreoli scored on the play after reaching base on his first career triple.
UConn's middle relievers in Accomando, Dan Mahoney and Dusty Odenbach combined for a solid pitching effort in 3.1 innings as they pooled together for four strikeouts and held the Wildcats both hitless and scoreless. Senior David Erickson took the hill in the ninth as he allowed just one hit before striking out two batters to end the game for UConn.
The Huskies recorded 24 hits in the 16-6 win, marking a game-high for the UConn ballclub this season. Accomando earned the win in today's ballgame, for his first of the year as Villanova's Chris Pack took the loss, falling to 3-7.
UConn will return to action in the 2009 BIG EAST Baseball Championship, beginning Tuesday, May 19. The Huskies' game against West Virginia will be at 5:00 p.m. For more championship information log onto www.BIGEASTBaseball.com.