May 18, 2013
FAIRFAX, Va. --- The University of Connecticut baseball team staged a furious ninth-inning rally, but left the tying run on second base as it bowed to George Mason, 4-3, in a light rain Saturday in the Huskies’ regular-season finale.
The loss, coming after UConn defeated George Mason in the first two games of the three-game series at Hap Spuhler Field, gives the Huskies a 30-26 record heading into this week’s BIG EAST Tournament. George Mason finishes its season at 18-35.
Trailing 4-0, UConn very nearly caught the Patriots in the ninth inning. The rally began with singles by freshmen Vinny Siena (Woodbridge, Conn.) and Bobby Melley (Barnstable, Mass.). A fielder’s choice by freshman Max McDowell (Huntington, Pa.) retired Siena at third, but sophomore Jon Testani (Monroe, Conn.) walked to load the bases.
A ground out by sophomore Eric Yavarone (North Haven, Conn.) drove in one run, but was the second out of the inning. A walk to pinch hitter Stanley Paul (Stamford, Conn.) reloaded the bases, however, and junior Tom Verdi (Warwick, R.I.) delivered a two-run single to cut the deficit to 4-3. But with the tying run on second, George Mason reliever Tyler Mocabee managed to get UConn’s Billy Ferriter (Nashua, N.H.) to foul out to first baseman Mick Foley to end the contest.
George Mason starting righthander Anthony Montefusco (5-5) was in full control while he was on the mound, allowing just two UConn singles over the first seven innings, a single by senior LJ Mazzilli (Greenwich, Conn.) in the fourth and a base hit by Melley in the seventh. Montefusco, who retired 10 straight Huskies between the fourth and seventh innings, walked one and struck out eight in his seven innings of work.
Meanwhile, George Mason managed to get to UConn sophomore starter Jordan Tabakman (Pompton Plains, N.J.) for a pair of runs in both the first and the third.
The Huskies’ righty, who fell to 5-2 on the season, gave up three hits in the first inning, and a base hit by Blaise Fernandez and a sacrifice fly by Duncan Satherlie brought in the runs. In the fourth, the Patriots made it 4-0 on a two-run double by Josh Leemhuis.
Four UConn relievers, sophomore Max Slade (Cheshire, Conn.), senior Ryan Moore (Bristol, Conn.), sophomore David Mahoney (Colchester, Conn.), and senior Dan Feehan (Nashua, N.H.), shut out George Mason on one hit the rest of the way, giving the Huskies a chance in the late innings.
With Montefusco out of the game, UConn nearly scored in the eighth. Yavarone and Verdi singled and Ferriter walked to load the bases, but the Huskies couldn’t get any runs across.
Verdi and Melley each had two of UConn’s seven hits, and Verdi had two RBIs.
Connecticut will be the No. 8 seed in the upcoming BIG EAST Tournament in Clearwater, Fla., and will challenge regular-season champion Louisville in the first round on Wednesday at a time TBA. The game will be televised on ESPN3 and can be heard on WTIC.com and WHUS-91.7 FM.