May 19, 2009Photo Gallery
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Piere LePage went 3-for-4 with one RBI as the University of Connecticut baseball team used an eighth inning rally to prevail over West Virginia 6-1 in its first game of the 2009 BIG EAST Baseball Championship at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla.
With the first game victory, UConn moves into the winner's bracket and will face the winner of the match-up featuring second-seeded South Florida and seventh-seeded Pittsburgh. Game time and opponent is to be determined.
The Huskies improve to 34-23 on the year with the win and pick up their first victory against West Virginia (36-17) this season as UConn was swept by the Mountaineers in Storrs back in late March.
UConn was five-outs away from being shutout before rallying from behind to score six runs in the eighth inning as the Huskies pounded seven hits in the frame off West Virginia closer, Chris Enourato.
To start things off in tonight's ballgame, West Virginia was able to get batters on first and second with one out in the first but UConn starter Elliot Glynn was able to pickoff Mountaineers' Austin Markel at second base as freshman short stop Nick Ahmed snuck behind to make the tag. The play turned the momentum into UConn's favor as Glynn struck out Mountaineers' designated hitter Vince Belnome looking.
A double down the left field line by Justin Parks with one out gave West Virginia a man in scoring position for Jedd Gyorko who singled into left center to score Parks and put the Mountaineers on top 1-0 in the third.
West Virginia righty starter Jarryd Summers struck out four consecutive Huskies and five in the first three innings as he did not allow a hit until LePage's leadoff double in the top of the fourth. The Huskies' threat in the frame was cut short as a base hit by freshman George Springer sent LePage running home but a perfect throw by Parks from left field beat the UConn sophomore to the plate to end the inning.
Mike Nemeth singled to center field to begin the seventh for his first hit of the ballgame as the Huskies were able to get their leadoff man on base for the fourth time of the contest. Junior Peter Fatse forced Summers' third walk of the game as the Huskies put runners on first and second with just one out but a fly out then a groundout halted UConn's scoring chances in the seventh.
Summers allowed four hits and no runs in seven innings of work for the Mountaineers before Enourato took the hill in the eighth. Enourato struck out Doug Elliot before allowing a double to Harold Brantley Jr. LePage was able to record his third hit of the contest, a RBI single to left field as Brantley scored the tying run of the ballgame.
Nick Ahmed followed with his first hit of the game to put runners on first and third for Nemeth, who doubled off the left field wall to score LePage and move Ahmed to third. LePage's 45th run of the year put the Huskies on top 2-1 before a Springer base hit scored Ahmed to give UConn a 3-1 advantage.
UConn's rally continued as Fatse drove in the Huskies' fourth run of the inning as the Huskies put runners on the corners. Enourato left the game after striking out one batter and allowing seven hits.
Springer scored the Huskies' fifth run of the inning on a wild pitch from Andy Altemus before Fatse was able to cross the plate on a throwing error by the West Virginia infield as the Huskies capitalized on their late-inning rally.
Glynn had a stellar outing for the Huskies as he went a solid 7.1 innings before leaving after giving up seven hits and just one run as teammate Dusty Odenbach took the mound with one out in the bottom of the eighth and threw just two pitches, ending the frame on a line out then a ground out.
Odenbach struck out the first two batters faced in the bottom of the ninth before getting the last out of the game on a groundout to short. Odenbach came in for a solid 1.2 innings, recording two strikeouts and allowing no hits.
Glynn earned the win in today's ballgame for his fifth of the season. Nemeth and Springer both added two hits and an RBI as well.
The Huskies will return to action as they will face either South Florida or Pittsburgh in their next tournament contest. Game time and opponent is to be determined as the game featuring USF and Pittsburgh was rained out on Tuesday night. The make-up time for that game is 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20. For more information, go to www.BIGEASTBaseball.com.